Introducing START

START is a collaborative project that seeks to foster the development of Synchrotron Techniques for African Research and Technology (START). It builds partnerships between world leading scientists in Africa and the UK working together on research using synchrotron science. The project develops research along two lines of scientific investigation: developing and characterising new energy materials for example in the development of solar cells or improving energy efficiency through novel catalysts, and structural biology to understand diseases and develop drug targets.

At the heart of START sits the community of co-investigators whose work in the relevant scientific disciplines is world-leading in their fields. They support a wider group of students and post-doctoral researchers whose contribution to START is vital to nurture future capacity and leadership in the African scientific research community. Working on experiments at the UK’s synchrotron, Diamond Light Source, START researchers and students will bring insights to sustainable energy and improvement in health that will have long-lasting legacies across Africa.

START: Health & Bio Sciences

START Health & Bio Sciences brings insights and improvements in Health and Bio Sciences for long-lasting legacies in Africa. Through access to the best equipment, analysis techniques and training, the vision of START: Health & Bio Sciences is to empower the next generation of research leaders, and to exploit and extend synchrotron techniques for the benefit of Africa and beyond.  

“The START grant has made it possible to achieve our dreams to work towards achieving high resolution structural analysis of our proteins of interest. After working in the field of structural biology with limited tools in the past, the training sessions made possible by the START grant have been a game changer in formulating the research questions to address health challenges. Now we can collaborate and work seamlessly as structural biology scientists based in Africa seeking to provide solutions to the health problems common in Africa.”

Dr Tawanda Zininga, Stellenbosch University, South Africa

Understanding biological systems is critical to the prosperity, and possibly, survival of humanity. Without it, we are threatened by disease, energy and food insecurity, pollution, and climate change. Studying biological macromolecules such as proteins – at atomic resolution – empowers us to develop drugs, vaccines, herbicides, and pesticides. And it helps us design non-polluting industrial processes to create the chemicals that we need.  

Hear from our START collaborators: