Decommissioning Management and Leadership for Safety Education (DMaLSE)

Management and leadership for safety relate to the managerial competencies necessary to develop, promote and sustain safety culture and to set goals, lead others and manage knowledge and projects in order to enhance safety performance. The development of these competencies is necessary to enrich and complement the predominant technical background and skills of engineers/managers involved in the nuclear sector, and in decommissioning projects in particular.

The recognition, in the recent years, of the importance of managing for safety has led the IAEA to develop formal safety requirements, which are now implemented in its member states. This evolution brings with it the need to develop training and education for both beginning and middle career managers with nuclear safety responsibilities and, considering the timeframe of the decommissioning projects, for future generations of managers. The training and education challenges are acute in all INSC and European countries, in which managers need to develop knowledge and comprehensive safety-related competencies to run the decommissioning projects of nuclear facilities, in the context where generational change of managers in the nuclear field is occurring at a fast pace.

In 2016/17 the IAEA and the European Commission have developed a cooperative framework to jointly address a similar challenge related to operation and regulatory oversight of nuclear installations. The development of these two projects was made possible by the funding provided by the European Union, through its INSC instrument.

The first project, led by the IAEA, was the development of a “pilot school” for safety leadership, held in October 2017 at the University Côte d’Azur (UCA), Nice, France. A remarkable feature of this “pilot school” was that several hundred motivated applications were made by IAEA member states, whereas the pilot school could only take on board around 20 participants. Encouraged by the success of the pilot event, the Agency has since then developed the syllabus into a two-week program, still based on experiential learning, which is offered to IAEA member states who wish to organise sessions for their managers, from regulatory bodies or industry.

The second project, named ELSE, was operated by Université Côte d’Azur (France) with the objective to develop training aiming to help managers acquire leadership for safety capabilities, which are key professional requirements for managers with safety responsibilities in industrial sectors characterised by inherent organisational complexity and high levels of regulation, such as the nuclear sector. The originality of the ELSE project stemmed from its science-based approach integrating the most recent findings of management and other social sciences. The dedicated training program developed in the frame of the ELSE project is composed of a massive online open course (MOOC), a 10-day face-to-face training, and an individual tutored project.

Based on the success of these experiences, the European Union, acting in the framework of its INSC instrument, decided to prolong these actions in the field of nuclear decommissioning, leading to the start-up, in January 2023, of the Decommissioning Management and Leadership for Safety Education (DMaLSE) project. This new project is also entrusted to UCA, in partnership with Skema Business school (France), Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT, Germany) and J Repussard Conseil (France).


The DMALSE project is overseen by a steering committee. The commitee brings together the project partners and the main stakeholders‘ institutions, including the IAEA. Two main objectives are pursued:

To develop a science-based training program for future decommissioning project managers.

To extend the impact of the project through a Bachelor-level on-site training for operators involved in decommissioning projects.