International Radiation Protection Association (IRPA)
IRPA is the international voice of the radiation protection profession. It is an association of radiation protection professionals joining through national and regional radiation protection societies. It promotes the worldwide enhancement of professional competence, radiation protection culture, and practice by providing benchmarks of good practice, and encouraging the application of the highest standards of professional conduct, skills, and knowledge for the benefit of individuals and society.
IRPA strives to ensure that the highest standards of professional conduct, skills and knowledge are applied for the beneﬁt of society, and that it is recognised by its members, stakeholders and the public as the international voice of the radiation protection profession in the enhancement of radiation protection culture and practices worldwide.
A major task for IRPA is to provide for and support regional and international meetings for the discussion of radiation protection. The IRPA international and regional congresses are the most important of these meetings. They have been held about every four years since 1966.
IRPA co-operates and interacts with many other international organisations, including:
- International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA)
- International Commission on Radiological Protection (ICRP)
- International Commission on Radiation Units and Measurements (ICRU)
- International Commission on Non-Ionizing Radiation Protection (ICNIRP)
- United Nations Scientific Committee on the Effects of Atomic Radiation (UNSCEAR)
- World Health Organization (WHO)
- International Labour Organization (ILO)
- Nuclear Energy Agency (NEA)
- European Commission (EC)
and professional bodies such as:
- International Organization for Medical Physics (IOMP)
There are two types of membership to IRPA.
The leading radiation protection organisation in a country or region can become an associate of IRPA. These are known as Associate Societies and each country or region can only have one. As of 2019 there are 52 national and regional radiation protection organisations that are members of the IRPA family, which covers 67 countries that involve over 18,000 individual members worldwide.
For the UK, The Society of Radiological Protection (SRP) is the Associate Society.
Individuals actually make up the membership of IRPA, but can only happen through an IRPA Associate Society. It is the responsibility of the Associate Society to register and pay for individuals to be Affiliate members of IRPA. For details of how AURPO fits into this, see below.
The number of IRPA Affiliate Members in each country / region also determines the number of voting delegates a country / region has on IRPA committees.
You can access IRPA's web site at: www.irpa.net.
A paper on The Role of IRPA in Education and Training of Radiation Protection Professionals can be viewed here (PDF).
How does this work in the UK?
The Committee for Liaison with IRPA and Partner Societies (CLIPS) is a committee that's administered by SRP, as the UK's Associate Society to IRPA.
Unlike most other countries or regions that have an IRPA Associate Society, SRP decided it wanted to represent a broad spectrum of views across the UK's radiation protection community, rather than just its own and co-ordinate the UK's message. This led to the formation of ICom (an SRP Committee called the International Committee, which was recently re-branded to CLIPS), and the inclusion of Partner Societies.
As of 2019 the UK's Partner Societies are:
- Association of University Radiation Protection Officers (AURPO)
- The British Institute of Radiology (BIR)
- British Nuclear Medicine Society (BNMS)
- Institute of Physics and Engineering in Medicine (IPEM)
- Royal College of Radiologists (RCR)
- Society and College of Radiographers (SCoR)
- The Society of Radiological Protection (SRP)
By using this model, the UK has a unified voice that is able to provide strong and effective input into IRPA strategy and programmes, as well as taking a significant role in IRPA congresses. CLIPS also provides a forum for Partner Societies (PS) to exchange information and collaborate.
Each Partner Society (PS) has at least one representative on CLIPS. The number of representatives is based on the number of members they provide for Affiliate Membership to IRPA. A PS that has less than 10% of the UK's total Affiliate Members is permitted one representative. If a PS has more that 10% then they are permitted two representatives on CLIPS.
As of 2019, AURPO members make up approximately 7.5% of all UK IRPA Affiliate Members. This allows us to have one representative on CLIPS. Should this increase to more than 10%, AURPO is permitted to have two representative on CLIPS, as is the case for IPEM.
As SRP is the Associate Society, CLIPS is an SRP Committee, and SRP provides the greatest number of Affiliate Members it matches the number of representatives on CLIPS as the other Partner Societies combined. As of 2019 the total number of representatives on CLIPS is 14. This is comprised of 7 SRP reps, 2 IPEM reps and one from each of the other Partner Societies.
How does this work with AURPO?
As a UK Partner Society AURPO is able to provide it members with International Membership to SRP. This in turn means that AURPO is able to provide its members with Affiliate Membership to IRPA.
All AURPO Members are automatically enrolled as an Affiliate Members of IRPA, which is handled by the UK's Associate Society to IRPA, SRP.
Why Enroll AURPO Members as an IRPA Affiliate Member?
Apart from having a representative on CLIPS and being able to put across the views of our members and the sector we represent (Higher Education, Research and Teaching), it enables the UK to promote and influence, proportionate and reasonably practicable radiation protection controls, methods and standards on the international stage. Bear in mind that the recommendations of the IRPA are taken into account by governments and other professional bodies which later become standards and legislation that affect what we do and how we do it.
The more IRPA Affiliate Members AURPO have the more representatives we can have on the Committee for Liaison with IRPA and Partner Societies (CLIPS) and the better we can represent the views of you and our sector, both nationally and internationally.