The History of the EUTERP Project
A review of the status of radiation protection experts, carried out by the European Commission in 2002, revealed a considerable variation in the approaches of European countries to education and vocational training arrangements for radiation protection . The review also indicated widely differing interpretations of the role and qualifications of the Qualified Expert. These findings were a cause of concern, indicating as they did differing views on the functions and training needs of radiation protection professionals - a situation that prevented a harmonised approach to training and inhibited the free movement of these professionals across the EU Member States. The review prompted the European Commission D.-G. Transport and Energy in 2006 to initiate the formation of the Platform on European Training and Education in Radiation Protection (EUTERP).
The objectives of the 3 year EUTERP project were:
• To remove obstacles for the mobility of Qualified Experts within the European Union through harmonisation of criteria and qualifications for, and mutual recognition of, such experts;
• To facilitate the transnational access to vocational education and training;
• To better integrate education and training into occupational radiation protection infrastructures in the member, candidate and associated States of the European Union.
The EUTERP project was led and managed by the Dutch nuclear research & consultancy group NRG, and overseen by a small steering committee containing several radiation protection experts and representatives from IAEA, IRPA, IFOMP and the EC. The Platform provided a forum for the discussion and resolution of issues linked to the objectives through annual workshops for interested participants.
The first workshop was held Vilnius, Lithuania, in May 2007 and a major topic for discussion was the interpretation of the BSS definition for the qualified expert. Other subjects discussed included the role of the radiation protection officer, the role of the medical physics expert and training requirements for radiation protection workers. An important conclusion of the Workshop was that the existing definition of the Qualified Expert in the BSS needed to be fundamentally revised to provide clarity on the role and the required level of expertise. Other conclusions included the need for a common understanding of the required competency of the QE, an agreed methodology for assessing competency and reference syllabi for training activities.
These topics were further developed at the 2nd workshop in Vilnius, April 2008, and the 3rd workshop in Anatalya, Turkey 2009. A primary outcome of these workshops was a series of recommendations to the European Commission for consideration during the BSS recast process. These included a proposal to change the term Qualified Expert to Radiation Protection Expert to more accurately describe the nature of the role, and a new definition for the RPE.
Other recommendations included the incorporation within the revised Directive of the function Radiation Protection Officer, and guidance on the roles and duties of the RPE and RPO. These recommendations were accepted by the Article 31 Expert group and are now incorporated into the draft revised BSS.
The EUTERP Foundation
The EUTERP project formally ended in April 2009, having successfully developed and promoted a common understanding of the various expert functions in radiation protection. It also provided the forum for stakeholder discussion and the initial development work on the criteria for the recognition of RPEs and methodologies for mutual recognition. However, there remains the need for a focal point for discussion and development of European training activities and with this in mind the EUTERP function is now continuing under the banner of the EUTERP Foundation. This is an independent legal entity set up to provide a centralised European source of information on radiation protection education and training matters.
 The Status of the Radiation Protection Expert in the EU Member States and Applicant Countries: Study on Education and Training in Radiation Protection. Radiation Protection Series of the European Commission, Issue No 133, 2003.