C.A. Gariazzo, K. Spence, “Sharing the U.S. Perspective of Academic Collaboration in Nuclear Nonproliferation, Security, and Safeguards: Texas A&M University and Tomsk Polytechnic University”, 55th Annual Meeting of the Institute of Nuclear Materials Management, Atlanta, Georgia, 20-14 July 2014.
Beginning in 2009 under a research engagement program sponsored by Pacific Northwest National Laboratory and the National Nuclear Security Administration1″s Office of Material Protection, Control and Accounting, Texas A&M University (TAMU) has annually hosted student interns from the National Research Tomsk Polytechnic University (TPU) of Tomsk, Russia at the Nuclear Security Science and Policy Institute (NSSPI). The purpose of these joint research projects between TPU students (at the time receiving engineering degrees in material protection, control, and accounting) and NSSPI faculty, staff and students is to expose the students to a different culture, augment their education with research at an American university, and increase their awareness of different topics within nuclear security. In total, TAMU and TPU have collaborated on nine different research projects in the areas of nuclear safeguards and security. Under a separate 2011 sponsored grant from the U.S. Department of Education1″s Fund for the Improvement of Postsecondary Education (FIPSE), TAMU signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with TPU in August 2012. The primary purpose of the MOU was to facilitate both universities in joint research and educational activities specifically in the areas of nuclear nonproliferation, safety, and security. As shown, TAMU and TPU had already maintained a working relationship between its faculty, but establishing the MOU has allowed for other opportunities between the two universities. In 2012 and 2013, a delegation of TAMU faculty and students presented and participated in the 6th and 7th International Nonproliferation Summer Schools in Tomsk under the MOU. Through this experience, TAMU has made inroads into TPU1″s sister university the Tomsk State University. In April 2013, TPU students also participated in the NSSPI-led Japan Nuclear Facilities Experience with several other students from TAMU, Vietnam, and the Tokyo Institute of Technology. This paper will discuss the engagement between TAMU and TPU in more detail as well as divulge lessons learned and conclusions of collaborating with international academic partners specifically in the area of nuclear nonproliferation. Through TAMU1″s extensive experience, NSSPI hopes to share these perceptions and strategies for gaining the most from international educational and research collaborations like this one.