Past Events

GCRF START Energy Material Meeting 

GCRF START held this meeting at the University of Cape Town, (South Africa) on the 16th – 17th December 2019.

The meeting took the opportunity to review of current project successes through a series of presentations given by the UK and South African Energy Materials investigators and PDRA’s. Discussions took place regarding future activities, and planning, with a focus of what the team wants to achieve from the project, and how we intend to implement and deliver. Discussions around beamtime access/ applications and processes also covering areas where we can provide support as a collaborative unit.    

“Touring the catalysis labs at Cape Town University was fascinating – I was very impressed with the very strong industrial links that supports much of the work and the technical innovation displayed at addressing the scientific challenges being investigated.”

GCRF START Energy Materials workshop at the University of Cape Town, South Africa 16th -17th December 2019.
Credit Rebekka Stredwick. © Diamond Light Source

‘Introduction to Cryo-EM’ Biophysics and Structural Biology at Synchrotrons Workshop 

GCRF START held the workshop at the University of Cape Town, (South Africa) on the 15th – 18th January 2019.

The workshop was presented by researchers from the UK and South Africa with international attendees. The scope of the workshop included protein sample preparation, crystallization, data collection, data processing and interpretation. Apart for X-ray crystallography, included other structural techniques, such as cryo-electron microscopy, X-ray microscopy and nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy. Several case studies were presented and gave students an understanding of how science happened in the “real world” and there was ample opportunity to share experiences of the development of science at and around synchrotrons from the perspective of users from countries having widely varying economies. 

“My highlight was the ‘Introduction to Cryo-EM’ Biophysics & Structural Biology at Synchrotron’s Workshop in January 2019. This workshop was a blast of new information and a fantastic introduction to the field of structural biology.

Phillip Venter, PhD Student at University of Cape Town (South Africa)

The GCRF – START Launch event

START held its launch event at St. Catherine’s College, Oxford (United Kingdom) on the 27th – 28th March 2019.

The event included invited guests from the START participating organisations and other interested researchers coming together to share their research achieved now the project has run for about a year. Sessions included presentations on the opportunities provided by synchrotron technology in support of the research disciplines START supports and enabled very stimulating discussions on current and future directions.

Seeing the Diamond facility and meeting the staff myself was empowering and truly impressive.”

Alberdina Aike van Dijk, Professor / Principal Investigator and GCRF START Co-Investigator, North West University (South Africa)

Programme agenda – for the GCRF START launch event is available here:

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GCRF START Launch: All delegates © Diamond Light Source.
GCRF START conference at St Catherines College, Oxford.
Professor Bryan Sewell: Condition of Structural Biology in South Africa.
Photograph By: Sean Dillow.
© Diamond Light Source.

The GCRF START Kick-off Meeting – Structural Biology and Material Science

START held its kick-off meeting at the University of Witwatersrand (Johannesburg, South Africa) on the 18th – 19th September 2018.

The event covered the strategic discussions on the layout of GCRF START, and on navigating the funding, future collaborations, education and project outreach.  While researchers from both Structural Biology and Material Science use synchrotron techniques, the two fields mainly operate in isolation. This meeting provided an interface for researchers from various institutions and from both disciplines, not only to learn about each other’s work, but also to get to know the researchers in person.  A series of presentations were delivered showing diversity with synchrotron techniques used. The event provided a platform for all to liaise and utilise the opportunity to discuss future data collections at Diamond Light Sources’ Synchrotron. 

The launch event marks the formal beginning of the START project, where both the African and UK investigators are excited to learn about each other’s research and the possibility of working together to make use of synchrotron techniques in the field of structural biology and energy materials. I, personally, cannot wait to see the first results come out of the collaborations that we are enabling.”

Professor Chris Nicklin, (START Principal Investigator, Diamond Light Source Ltd (UK))