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International outreach project supports training for early-career scientist


For early-career researchers, experience of the latest scientific methods can have a profound impact on career development and can boost the research capabilities of the individual and their home institution. Through initiatives such as Instruct-ULTRA travel grants, popular training courses are being made accessible to scientists from across the globe.

The EMBO Practical Course on High-Throughput Protein Production and Crystallisation has been training early-career scientists in cutting-edge methods since 2005. The hands-on course, which covers high-throughput approaches for protein expression, screening and purification, has been designed so that scientists can introduce high-throughput methods into their own research activities.

On 10 June, researchers from all over the world convened at the Harwell Campus (UK) for a 9-day programme delivered by leading experts in structural biology. The 20 participants included Phillip Venter, a PhD student from Cape Town University in South Africa, whose attendance at the EMBO course was supported by a travel grant from the Instruct-ULTRA project. Phillip was galvanised by his experience from the EMBO course, which he said gave his doctoral studies “a valuable kickstart.” Describing the course, Phillip explained that “each morning seasoned lecturers gave practical insights into the techniques and methods” and “each afternoon we applied these methods… in the world-class venues and laboratories of the Research Complex and Diamond Light Source”. The participants also had an opportunity to experiment on their own protein samples, which Phillip said “really added value” to the course.

The EMBO Practical Course is complemented by many training opportunities that are accessible through Instruct-ERIC. Training courses hosted by Instruct cover a broad range of topics and are fully funded for scientists within the Instruct Membership. For non-Members, financial support (such as the travel grant awarded to Phillip through Instruct-ULTRA) is helping to foster the initiative for a more inclusive, global scientific education.

International outreach is an important objective of the Instruct-ULTRA project (WP3), which is supporting frontier science across the wider structural biology community.