Letter from the President

Letter from the President

[Yuji Ohashi]At the meeting of the Executive Committee held last August, a new initiative was launched to encourage developing countries to be members of the IUCr, as described in a previous issue (Vol. 14, No. 2). According to the initiative, the IUCr strongly recommends crystallographers in developing countries to form a country group and to establish a single Adhering Body to become a member of the IUCr. I am very glad to hear from the Presidents of the three Regional Associates, Professor Bau (ACA), Professor Vijayan (AsCA), and Professor Helliwell (ECA), that discussions to form such groups are progressing in their Associations. I hope a variety of countries will become members of the IUCr at the next General Assembly to be held in Osaka.

The IUCr has supported international schools and seminars on crystallography held in many countries and has provided funds to enable young scientists to attend. A total of USD 125,000 was awarded to 23 schools and seminars last year. This scheme is much appreciated not only by the organizers of the schools and seminars but also by the young scientists, especially from the developing countries. However, there is an important condition to this support, that is, the meetings must be “international”.

In 1991 the Executive Committee recognized that there were many worthwhile schools in developing countries and countries of the former Eastern bloc that were not international but would nevertheless benefit greatly from IUCr support. The IUCr therefore established the Visiting Professor Scheme to support such schools or seminars. According to this Scheme, up to three eminent scientists present a short course at a school or seminar and their travel and insurance costs are met by the IUCr. The local organizers cover the accommodation/subsistence expenses.

The IUCr has provided an annual budget of USD 25,000 for the Scheme. In the past ten years the IUCr has supported Visiting Professorships in Brazil, Cuba, China, India, Indonesia, Kenya, Mexico and Morocco, and these have been very much appreciated by the hosts. However, the Scheme is not well known by crystallographers in many developing countries, compared with the young scientist support. As a matter of fact, the budget has not been fully utilized.

I think it very important that the crystallographic schools and seminars should be held in developing countries to enable crystallographers in these countries to become organised. The IUCr will strongly support such schools or seminars using the above Visiting Professorship Scheme. Those interested in applying for the Visiting Professorship Scheme should contact the Executive Secretary (execsec@iucr.org) for further information.

Yuji Ohashi, yohashi@spring8.or.jp