Invitation to Apply to the OPCW Associate Programme 2017

  1. The Technical Secretariat (hereinafter “the Secretariat”) wishes to inform Member States of its intention to hold the OPCW Associate Programme 2017 in The Hague, the Netherlands, and elsewhere from 28 July to 29 September 2017. The Programme aims to foster a better understanding of the objectives of the Chemical Weapons Convention (hereinafter “the Convention”) and to promote the peaceful uses of chemistry, with an emphasis on chemical safety.
  2. The objectives of the Programme are to:
    1. facilitate national implementation of the Convention in relation to the chemical industry;
    2. enhance national capacities in Member States by offering training to personnel from industry, academic institutions, and government in chemistry, chemical engineering, and related areas;
    3. facilitate trade through the adoption of sound practices in the chemical industry; and
    4. broaden the talent pool for industry-related positions in the National Authorities, institutions, and economies of the Member States, as well as in the Secretariat.
  3. The Programme is designed for chemists and chemical engineers, especially from Member States whose economies are either developing or in transition. It has been designed to give them access to the skills and experience required to operate effectively in the context of the modern chemical industry. The Programme for 2017 will accommodate 32 participants.
  4. In order to attract highly qualified applicants, the Secretariat requests the assistance of National Authorities in disseminating this invitation to relevant organisations.
  5. The provisional programme includes the following components:
    1. an induction segment at OPCW Headquarters in The Hague (approximately one week), aimed at offering an overview of the Convention and the various aspects of the work of the OPCW. This segment also includes lectures on the activities of National Authorities and other relevant Convention stakeholders (the European Chemical Industry Council, the European Association of Chemical Distributors, the European Chemicals Agency, the World Customs Organization, etc.) as well as study visits to the Delft University of Technology, the head office of the Dutch Customs Administration in Rotterdam, and the Port of Rotterdam. During the induction segment, participants will choose research projects and start working on them in pairs under the supervision of OPCW inspectors. Participants will also be trained on various safety and security aspects of operational environment in chemical plants;
    2. a university segment (three weeks), consisting of chemical engineering training at the University of Surrey in Guildford, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and comprising: a course aimed at developing skills in relation to chemical engineering (relevant areas include process operations, mass balancing, risk assessment, safety management, etc.); training on specific skills needed in the field of industrial management (communication, teamwork, leadership, and problem solving); and the application of the acquired skills and knowledge in a simulated company environment;
    3. an intermediate segment (one week) at OPCW Headquarters, including a two-day inspection table-top exercise and study visits to the OPCW Laboratory and Equipment Store. Time will also be allotted for working on the research projects selected during the induction segment;
    4. an industrial segment (three weeks), during which participants will be placed in chemical plants in Member States to gain exposure to modern practices in chemical industries, with a focus on chemical safety; and
    5. a final segment (one week) at OPCW Headquarters, which will include presentations of the industrial assignments, research projects, and a final review period.
  6. Since English will be the language of instruction, it is essential that all participants be able to understand, read, and communicate proficiently in this language, both orally and in writing. Any candidate who is found, upon arrival in The Hague, not to meet this requirement may not be allowed to participate in the Programme.
  7. The Secretariat invites applications from candidates who have a first degree (BSc or equivalent) in chemistry or in chemical or process engineering from a university or another recognised institution of higher learning, and a minimum of five years’ relevant work experience (for example, in the chemical industry, in process engineering, or in plant and production operations). In addition, a working background with a National Authority or other government agency involved in the implementation of either the Convention or a comparable international regulatory instrument would be an advantage.
  8. The Secretariat can accept applications only from nationals of the OPCW Member States. Applicants will be carefully screened, and only those considered to be the most suitable will be interviewed. Selections are normally made several weeks after the application deadline.
  9. Once candidates have been selected, they may be required to undergo a medical fitness test, which is designed to assess their ability to use chemical protection equipment and to work with hazardous materials. Any health condition that might affect a prospective participant’s fitness for this intensive programme should be declared in the medical history form that successful applicants will be required to fill out. These candidates will also be required to sign a confidentiality agreement with the OPCW. A copy of this document, along with an information note containing details of the arrangements regarding the Programme, will be made available only to those candidates who have been accepted for participation.
  10. The OPCW will cover the costs of Programme-related travel, accommodation, meals, course fees, and medical and travel insurance for all participants while the Programme is being conducted.
  11. It is mandatory for participants to attend all the activities scheduled under the Programme. Participants are expected to undergo the training at any location as determined and allocated by the OPCW.
  12. Withdrawal from the Programme: In the event of a withdrawal at any stage, the Secretariat will notify the relevant Permanent Representations and National Authorities of the withdrawal of the candidate concerned. The candidate may, at the discretion of the OPCW, be liable for a partial or full refund of any associated financial loss incurred as a result of the withdrawal.
  13. Break in the training: Breaks in the Programme are not allowed, except in the case of force majeure.
  14. When making travel arrangements, the Secretariat will seek the most economical options, and will purchase tickets and send them to participants. Participants will be allowed to purchase tickets locally only if this leads to further savings for the Secretariat, and if the Secretariat authorises it. In order for the Secretariat to keep costs to a minimum, participants are expected to arrive no earlier than 27 July 2017 and to depart no later than 30 September 2017.
  15. The agreement of the Secretariat is required for any changes to the arrival and departure dates of the participants. The Secretariat will not cover expenses unrelated to the Programme or that result from changes in travel arrangements it has not authorised. Participants must bear all costs resulting from changes that they make, including cancellations, once the Secretariat has purchased the tickets.
  16. Candidates that have been accepted for participation are requested to obtain any necessary visas (including transit visas) before travelling to the Netherlands and to the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. Those requiring an entry visa for the Netherlands are advised to contact the nearest diplomatic/consular mission of the Netherlands as soon as they receive the invitation letter from OPCW. Participants who need further assistance may contact the Protocol and Visa Branch of the Secretariat by telephone (+31 (0)70 416 3777) or by email (
  17. Candidates are responsible for obtaining the required visas for the full period of their stays in Europe and other training locations.

How to apply for a place in the Programme

  1. Candidates for the Programme must use the personal history form annexed hereto to apply for admission. The information provided under each item on the form must be complete and accurate. The form should be accompanied by a photocopy of the applicant’s valid passport. Candidates must also present a letter authenticating the fact that they are employed, together with a letter from their employer confirming their support of the application and willingness to grant permission to the candidate to attend the Programme in its entirety.
  2. Incomplete or insufficiently detailed applications, including any that do not contain the one-page statement requested in item 17 of the personal history form annexed hereto (in regard to the aims of the course), will not be considered.
  3. Interested National Authorities are requested to endorse the completed application forms of their national candidates. Completed forms should be submitted directly to the Secretariat (by email to no later than 15 February 2017.Forms may also be sent to the following address:Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons
    Attn: International Cooperation Branch
    Johan de Wittlaan 32
    2517 JR The Hague
    The Netherlands
  4. Any queries regarding the Programme can be addressed to Mr Dawsar Drissi, International Cooperation Officer, who can be reached via email (

Click here to download the invitation and personal history form.