Knowledge of the radiobiology of normal tissues and tumours is a core prerequisite for the practice of radiation oncology. As such the study of radiobiology is mandatory for gaining qualification as a radiation oncologist in most countries. Teaching is done partly by qualified radiobiologists in some countries, and this is supplemented by teaching from knowledgeable radiation oncologists. In low and middle income (LMI) countries the teachers are often radiation oncologists and/or medical physicists. In Europe, a master’s course on radiobiology is taught jointly by a consortium of five European Universities. This is aimed at young scientists from both Western and Eastern Europe, training in this discipline. Recently the European Society for Therapeutic Radiology and Oncology (ESTRO) initiated the launch of a radiobiology teaching course outside Europe (Beijing, 2007; Shanghai, 2009).
In LMI countries, many more teachers are needed in radiobiology, and the establishment of regional training centres or special regional training courses in radiobiology, are really the only options to solve the obvious deficit in knowledge of radiobiology in such countries. Radiobiology teaching courses organized or sponsored by the IAEA are oversubscribed, and the students themselves confirm the great need for this type of teaching. Requests have been received from a number of countries in all regions asking for the IAEA to help organize radiobiology teaching. More qualified professionals are also needed for this exercise.
The training slide series in Radiation Biology provides further lecture material to support the existing Handbook for teachers and students. The series of 634 slides comprises: (1) An Introductory series of 46 slides concerning the Contents of the Handbook and the Time Schedule of a recommended Course Programme of teaching, which would use the slides and the Handbook as well as additional recommended material; (2) A generic series of 138 slides covering the whole subject area, directed at teachers and students of Radiation Biology as well as Radiation Oncology and Radiation Protection health professionals; (3) A more advanced series of 314 slides to cover in more detail the aspects of Radiation Biology applied to Radiation Oncology; (4) A series of 136 slides which provides Radiobiological knowledge which underpins Radiation Protection recommendations.