Why IFMP ?

                        Motivation and Objectives of the Institute:

• WHAT ?

The creation of IFMP came through an inspired group of physicists and two entities (GREISE and PSF) towards further disseminating the knowledge and technologies that pertain to the compound discipline of Medical Physics.

Accordingly, the Institute is intent on providing access to the necessary courses and expertise to students from countries where such a critical need arises, e.g. due to the mismatch between the lack of available high-level training and the ever growing availability of increasingly sophisticated equipment that require expert involvement from Medical Physicists: Computed Tomography (CT) scanners, gamma camera (e.g., Single Photon Emission Computed Tomography - SPECT), positron emission tomography (PET), magnetic resonance (imaging - MRI, spectroscopy - MRS, etc.), accelerators and planning systems for radiotherapy, brachytherapy, etc.

• WHY?

Such a multidisciplinary and multicultural teaching has already been organized for 16 years near Geneva, Switzerland to build upon the proximity of CERN and other key resources. This unique experience, though, demonstrated the ongoing challenges for some countries (mainly in Eastern Europe and on the Southern side of the Mediterranean sea) to send their young scientists for advanced training in a geographical area that unfortunately boasts high living costs, relatively expensive airline tickets and strict visa requirements for non EU members. This context has essentially led to student selection from these countries through discretionary money (e.g. from their own family) and/or specific diplomatic arrangements, which are not optimal criteria.

• How?

IFMP allows to reverse the teaching approach by moving competent physicists for focused workshops of about one week each into some of the aforementioned countries where Medical Physics training needs are emerging and remain unmet. These physics professionals will then teach on-site young scientists from these countries and their neighbors. Each workshop will be dedicated to only a limited number of relevant subjects (most often, a single one), but may then be renewed with a different topic later on and elsewhere within a limited geographical area. The cost of such a solution for addressing the unmet needs of medical physics education will be kept low by organizing the teaching in direct collaboration with the local universities, which will contribute their infrastructures for free. Physics-Sans-Frontières (PSF, which does not focus only on Medical Physics) has an extensive experience of such a shared-burden organization, which was for instance successfully practiced in Trieste (Italy) in 1995, then Sarajevo (Bosnia) in 1996 and 1998, Oujda (Morocco) in 2001, Thessaloniki (Greece) in 2002, Istanbul (Turkey) in 2004, Iasi (Romania) in 2007, Cairo (Egypt) in 2008 and 2011. This winning stream continued from 2014 to 2018 first in Sarajevo again, then in Shkodra (Albania),   Ohrid (Macedonia), Elbasan (Albania), Corfu (Greece) and recently in Macedonia (in Ohrid again).


The development of modern clinical disciplines - especially through the advent of advanced medical technologies - has contributed to a better society and owes much to the contribution of physics in general and of nuclear physics in particular. Physics applied to medicine (medical physics) is now recognized as pertaining to two main areas:

  1. imaging for the detection, diagnosis and characterization of diseases,

  2. treatment against diseases, with a main application scope in cancer.

Both fields use radioactivity or radiofrequency waves over the whole spectrum, and it is now generally accepted that poorly controlled radioactivity or radio-waves can be dangerous not only to patients, but also to medical workers through repeated exposure over the years.

Such exposure occurs despite the individual means of protection that are mandatory but sometimes poorly adopted or enforced for various reasons. Knowledge and perfect mastery of the associated techniques and technologies is therefore absolutely necessary to ensure the safety and proper application of what remain very powerful - and thus dangerous - tools of the medical trade.

An INTERNATIONAL ADVISORY COMMITTEE made up of about fifty international personalities of Medical Physics, Biology and associated disciplines has contributed to the creation of the Institute and will ensure the quality and relevance of its goals and programme. (clic on names to obtain composition of IFMP committees)

The Institute can similarly rely on a POOL of LECTURERS of about fifty world-class specialists in relevant disciplines to put together and deliver the actual courses and workshops. These distinguished scientists have all offered to contribute their knowledge, time and expertise for ensuring the high-level of lectures and training in workshops such as the ones that have already been offered during the five previous years (2014 to 2018).

Geneva,  11th January 2019

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