Director General visits IAEA laboratories, says innovation is key to solving global hunger and climate change


How nuclear science helps to control pests, can add to food safety, and allows us to develop new crops – these were some of the topics covered during last week’s visit to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) laboratories in Seibersdorf by Gerd Müller, the new Director General of the United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO)

Over the last 60 years, the IAEA’s eight nuclear applications laboratories in Seibersdorf have trained thousands of scientists in nuclear techniques that can be applied in addressing environmental, food security and human health challenges.

During the visit, Müller and IAEA Director General, Rafael Mariano Grossi, agreed on strengthening and extending their cooperation. Special attention was paid to the areas of food security, pest control and environmental protection, but also to global health, including research on zoonotic diseases.

In his inauguration speech in December 2021, Müller stated that he wants UNIDO to become a global platform for technology transfer, know-how and digitalization, which can foster green skills and technologies, expand the use of renewable energies and open up fair access to global markets and value chains. During the visit to the IAEA laboratories, he said, “We need to collaborate more closely with other UN agencies to share the innovations that are developed here in Seibersdorf, for example in the biotechnology laboratories of the Joint Food and Agriculture Organization/IAEA Centre of Nuclear Techniques in Food and Agriculture. Through innovation and technology transfer, we cannot only solve the hunger problem, but also the energy and the climate problem.”

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