SCK•CEN Academy launches Nuclear Role-Play Contest

This coming school year, pupils from secondary education will once again be able to compete against each other in a dazzling science contest. The action will take place on a podium. “This is to be taken literally. We are bringing nuclear sciences on stage”, clarifies Michèle Coeck (SCK•CEN Academy). “In this contest, the Nuclear Role-Play Contest, we put the pupils to the test by asking them to write a theatre play and to direct it.”

Take a historical discovery in nuclear science and technology and make it a theatre play. The result is the Nuclear Role-Play Contest, an ingenious science contest made by SCK•CEN Academy. “We dared pupils of the third grade secondary school (5th and 6th year) to be creative and come up with a short but intense play about nuclear science and technology”, explains Michèle Coeck (head SCK•CEN Academy). In doing so, SCK•CEN Academy wants to introduce the youth to the many research possibilities and applications within the field of nuclear science and technology. “The pupils will learn how to analyse and interpret information, critically think, communicate on science and technology, as well as how to work as a team”, states Michèle Coeck.

To create their play, the pupils must delve into the content. “What was, historically speaking, an interesting discovery? Who discovered it? How was it discovered? What is the scientific explanation behind the phenomenon? What applications has it led to or could it lead to? The pupils have to find reliable sources”, explains Lisanne Van Puyvelde (SCK•CEN Academy), who also takes over the organisation.

Captivating webinars
The pupils will work in teams of four. “They will not have to start their research at random”, reassures Lisanne Van Puyvelde (SCK•CEN Academy). “We will organize introductory webinars on topics such as ionizing radiation, radiation protection, applications and research. Our experts will guide them through the whole process.” 

Second edition
The Nuclear Role-Play Contest is the successor to the successful scientific contest ‘Nuclear Game Challenge’, organised by SCK•CEN Academy in cooperation with the Joint Research Centre (EC-JRC) during school year 2017-2018. In this edition, young people were put to the challenge of inventing an educative game about nuclear science and its applications. “The first edition was a bull’s-eye. Some 100 pupils from 17 different schools took part. We would like to have at least the same number of participations this year”, winks Michèle Coeck (SCK•CEN Academy). 

Are your fingers already itching to write the play? Do you want to be categorised as a nuclear master? Go to and register before Sunday 1 december 2019. The six best contributions will be invited to perform their play during the finals. The play will be performed wearing costumes and with at least one self-made accessory. To all the future scriptwriters and actors: break a leg!