WINS FAQs

What is the World Institute for Nuclear Security (WINS)?

We are a non-governmental membership organisation committed to building an international community of certified nuclear security professionals who are demonstrably competent and willing to work together to strengthen the security of nuclear and other radioactive materials. Our headquarters are in Vienna, Austria.

When and why was WINS established?

We were established in September 2008 during the General Conference of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). The objective was to create an international forum where organisations and individuals with accountabilities for nuclear and other radioactive materials could learn, share and promote the implementation of best security practices.

What is WINS’ vision?

All nuclear and other radiological materials and facilities are effectively secured by demonstrably competent professionals applying best practice to achieve operational excellence.

What is WINS’ mission?

To be the leader in knowledge exchange, professional development and certification for nuclear security management.

What kind of services does WINS provide?

WINS hosts numerous workshops, training courses, round tables and webinars in locations around the world. All of these events are professionally facilitated and use innovative, hands-on methods that actively engage participants in their own learning.

In 2014, we launched the WINS Academy, which is the world’s first international certification programme for nuclear security management. The programme is based on a core philosophy that views security as a fundamental aspect of risk management and corporate reputation.

Our Knowledge Centre gives members access to an extensive archive of information on nuclear security, including all WINS International Best Practice Guides, Special Publications, event reports, marketing materials, strategy papers, webinars and videos.

Our Evaluation services give organisations the tools they need to assess the maturity of their security arrangements, measure the effectiveness of their security culture, and identify areas needing improvement.

Who can join WINS?

We welcome both individuals and organisations to apply for membership. Our members come from private industry, regulatory bodies, nonprofit organisations, academia, law enforcement, government agencies, national laboratories and more. Their roles range from security director and regulator to scientist, radiological safety officer and student. Our members are united by a passion for quality and innovation, a commitment to professional competence and certification, and the knowledge that by working together we can meet the threats facing nuclear and other radioactive material.

What are the benefits of WINS membership?

Individuals who become WINS members obtain access to innovative, interactive and practical workshops, round tables and web-based seminars that bring professionals together from around the world. They also gain access to the WINS Knowledge Centre, which includes all WINS International Best Practice Guides, videos, webinars and more.

In addition, members receive a brief, informative newsletter each month that keeps them up-to-date about our activities, as well as important news and updates from other nuclear security stakeholders. In addition, members gain the ability to enrol in the WINS Academy.

Corporate sponsors of WINS also experience specific benefits, such as the ability to purchase bulk WINS Academy packages for their staff at special rates. With permission, we will display their logo on our website, which is the major way our nearly 6,000 members in 143 countries interact with us. The staff of our corporate sponsors receive priority acceptance to WINS training courses, workshops and other events, and registration is always free.

How much does it cost to join WINS?

Membership is free.

Is it possible to discuss security arrangements and issues in an international forum without compromising confidential information?

Yes. Our experience in creating WINS Academy modules, Best Practice Guides and workshops has demonstrated that it is possible to share best practices while protecting sensitive information. WINS never acquires, stores or shares sensitive information about our members, and members themselves decide the level of involvement, sharing and participation they wish to contribute to WINS and their fellow members. Furthermore, all members are required to adhere to the WINS Code of Conduct.

What is the WINS Code of Conduct?

The WINS Code of Conduct defines the obligations and responsibilities that WINS members are expected to adhere to. This Code promotes the process of sharing best practices, encourages trust, and helps to avoid the inappropriate disclosure of information that could potentially harm or compromise security arrangements. The Code consists of the following stipulations:

Sensitive or proprietary information exchanged with other WINS members during WINS workshops, training courses, round tables, private communications, website forums and similar activities should be treated as private. No such information should be communicated to others without the prior consent of the individual(s) who shared the information.

Information shared by members should only be used for the purposes for which it was intended.

If sensitive or proprietary information is exchanged, the member providing the information should indicate the content of the material that needs to be protected, the duration of the period of protection, the conditions for permitting access to the material, and the specific handling requirements that are necessary for that material.

Members must not make improper use of information they have obtained.

Members should not use the contact information of other members for commercial or marketing purposes.

Members must not seek or ascribe to WINS responsibility for the views they express or the actions they take unless WINS has expressly authorised them to do so.

Members should act honestly and with integrity in matters pertaining to WINS.

Members should respect WINS’ copyrights and intellectual property rights.

A breach of this Code by any WINS member could render that member liable for exclusion from WINS membership.

What is WINS’ relationship to the IAEA?

WINS is completely independent from the IAEA; however, we strongly support the IAEA’s mission and work closely with them to improve nuclear security.

Our work differs from the IAEA in two important ways. The first is that we focus only on nuclear security, whereas the IAEA focuses on the entire nuclear spectrum—from safeguards and safety to security. The second is that the IAEA focuses on Member States, whereas we focus on industry (e.g. operator/licensee, regulator, transporter, supplier). By identifying and sharing best practices in nuclear security management and by promoting demonstrable competence, we help our members learn from operational experience and achieve nuclear security excellence. In this way, we play a complementary role to the IAEA.

Who funds WINS?

WINS was established with foundation grants from the Nuclear Threat Initiative (NTI), the US Department of Energy, Global Affairs Canada (GAC), and the Norwegian Royal Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade. Since then, many other governments and nongovernmental organisations have provided us with financial support for specific projects.

How is WINS structured?

WINS has a Board of Directors who provide strategic direction and corporate governance. We are led by an Executive Director, who is supported by a small staff chosen for their experience and expertise.

How does WINS ensure the quality of its programmes, policies and overall management?

We are committed to providing the highest quality services to our members and to careful stewardship of the funding that we receive. We also believe that excellence and quality should be determined by external measurements, not simply by self-assessment. This is why we use external auditors (Deloitte and Touche) to ensure the accuracy and adequacy of our financial management and control and why we value feedback from our members and other stakeholders so highly.

In addition, WINS’ Quality Management System has been certified compliant to ISO 9001:2008 since 2012. (In September 2015 our compliance transitioned to the ISO 9001:2015 standard.) In 2014, WINS’ learning services were certified compliant to ISO 29990:2010, which is a new ISO standard that specifies basic requirements for providers of learning services in non-formal education and training.

We detail all of our operations in our annual reports, which are publicly available on our website.

Does WINS have a political agenda?

No. We are a nonpartisan, independent organisation with just one goal: helping to secure nuclear and other radioactive materials.

Does WINS accept financial donations?

Yes, however restrictions apply. (For further assistance, please email Przemyslaw.Michalski@wins.org.) In the United States, WINS has a status that is equivalent to a 501(c)(3) charity; therefore, any donations made by a US organisation are tax-deductible. This equivalency has been verified by both CAF America and NGOsource.

FAQs about the WINS Academy

Why did we establish the WINS Academy?

Professional certifications earned through accredited testing are one of the best ways to assess an individual’s level of knowledge, skill and experience. Consequently, the requirement to undergo professional development and certification has long played a crucial role in such professions as Law, Medicine, Insurance and Information Technology.

Professional societies use certification to benchmark and improve the quality and relevance of a profession, employers seek out credentialed professionals, and government agencies and licensing bodies often mandate certification to practice.

In the nuclear industry, certifications are often required of individuals employed in Nuclear Safety; until now, however, the same has not been true of Nuclear Security. We created the WINS Academy to address this need.

What gives WINS the credibility to establish the Academy?

Since our founding in September 2008, we have established ourselves as a vital participant in the international effort to implement effective nuclear security practices. As of November 2019, we had 5,859 members from 143 countries; had published numerous best practice guides on topics related to nuclear security; and had organised more than 100 workshops around the world. As a result, more than 4,000 people from 26 countries have now attended at least one WINS workshop.

In the process, we have become leaders in the identification and sharing of nuclear security best practices, and tangible improvements to security procedures have already resulted from our efforts. In fact, over 91% of WINS members say they have modified their approach to security management because of their interaction with WINS.

How does the WINS Academy programme work?

Our programme consists of a Foundation Module plus nine electives. All participants enrol in the Foundation Module plus the elective of their choice. Every module requires approximately 40 hours of study and can be completed entirely online. (Participants also receive traditional hardcopy textbooks for each of their courses.) No prior knowledge or prerequisites are required to enrol in the programme except for a working knowledge of English.

Once participants complete both modules, they sit for two exams. Those who successfully pass the examinations for both the Foundation Module and the elective module become WINS Certified Nuclear Security Professionals (CNSPs). All of our certification exams are delivered in partnership with Pearson VUE. As the world’s largest testing and assessment provider, Pearson provides over 5,100 accrediting test centres in 180 countries around the world.

How much does the WINS Academy programme cost?

Each module costs 425 euros. A package consisting of the Foundation Module and one elective costs 850 euros. One complete programme package includes:

  • Online access to the WINS Academy Foundation module.
  • Online access to the WINS Academy Elective module of your choice.
  • Hardcopy books for both courses.
  • A voucher for taking the certification exams at a Pearson test centre of your choice.

Are scholarships available?

Yes, for selected participants who come from certain countries and have specific responsibilities for nuclear security related to the certification programme. (Note that the selection of eligible participants is entirely at WINS’ discretion and that only WINS members are eligible to apply.)

What are the benefits of WINS certification?

Becoming a Certified Nuclear Security Professional will demonstrate your proficiency in nuclear security and validate your qualifications. It will prepare you to adapt to professional changes and demonstrate your commitment to honing your professional skills through certified training. It will also give you a personal sense of accomplishment.

Having the CNSP designation will help to distinguish you from your peers. It will give you professional credibility, earn you recognition within the workplace, increase your earning potential, strengthen your job marketability, and give you greater job mobility. Revalidating your CNSP designation will ensure that your knowledge and expertise continue to grow. It will also demonstrate that you have discipline and self-motivation and are dedicated to your profession.

What is the WINS Alumni Network?

All participants who have successfully received their CNSP are invited to join the WINS Alumni Network. Those who do so receive their own dashboard page on the WINS website, giving them easy access to all WINS information. This includes their personal information about the modules they have studied and passed, the progress they are making toward recertification, access to the latest news and events, and the complete library of information in the Knowledge Centre. This platform also gives Alumni the ability to network with other CNSPs from around the world, contribute their knowledge and expertise to others, and participate in ongoing learning opportunities created especially for them.

Is recertification required?

Yes. We are in the process of revising our requirements for recertification and will make an announcement about this before the end of 2019.

Are any changes to the WINS Academy programme being planned?

Yes. We are planning to publish a new standalone module that will be targeted at a very specific audience and will not require enrolment in the Foundation Module. More information about these changes will be published as soon as the changes take effect early in 2020.

How can I learn more about the WINS Academy certification programme?

If you have questions about the WINS Academy or would like to learn more, please email us at: thewinsacademy@wins.org.

 

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