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IYCr2014: a programme for dissemination, training and cooperation

[Michele Zema] Michele Zema
[Italians] Italian crystallographers show their support for IYCr2014 at ECM28 at Warwick Univ.

The International Year of Crystallography is approaching and there is growing enthusiasm in the crystallographic community. I could feel this energy at the ECM28 in Warwick, UK last August. Many colleagues called at the IUCr booth asking for information about the on-going programme, suggesting ideas, offering support, discovering activities planned throughout the world and, last but not least, looking for gadgets: T-shirts and lapel pins were very popular. The session on 'Crystallographic teaching and education' offered plenty of ideas and projects for IYCr2014. The number of activities aimed at celebrating IYCr2014 in all parts of the world is growing (see the official Calendar at and follow IYCr2014 on Facebook).

The IUCr, in a close collaboration with the UNESCO International Basic Sciences Programme team directed by Maciej Nalecz, is developing an ambitious programme to disseminate the crystallographic culture in parts of the globe where it is still latent or absent and to foster new collaborations. Two main projects under development are the IUCr-UNESCO OpenLab and Summit meetings (hereafter, Summits). Both require involvement of local governments and institutions. The IUCr-UNESCO team is facilitating the implementation of as many of these activities as possible. A map showing the locations of the actions under consideration is shown below.


The IUCr-UNESCO OpenLab is intended to be a network of operational crystallographic laboratories based in Africa, Asia and South America. These laboratories will host workshops, tutorials and hands-on experiments for students and young professors from the hub country and neighbouring countries. The project is being developed in a partnership, which includes the IUCr, as responsible for the scientific and training activities; UNESCO, managing the diplomatic and educational outreach issues; and diffractometer manufacturers, supplying the instruments or making some existing laboratories available for the project. At the moment, Agilent Technologies, Bruker, PANalytical and STOE are the main company partners. The purpose of the IUCr-UNESCO OpenLab project is manifold: in threshold countries, the idea is to encourage the purchase of advanced instrumentation to increase the technological base and to spark interest in youngsters; in less privileged countries, the goal is to begin crystallographic activities and allow access to high-level training and education for young promising students.

The Summits, one for each IUCr region, will bring together scientists from countries in three widely separated parts of the world, using a common crystallographic theme. Campinas (Brazil), Bloemfontein (South Africa) and Karachi (Pakistan) are the locations proposed to host such events. These meetings will be attended by scientists in academia and industry, and by science administrators. They will focus on high-level science, highlight the difficulties and problems of conducting competitive scientific research, and promote cooperation between countries.

[Facebook] Like IYCr2014 on Facebook at to keep informed about forthcoming activities.

The Opening Ceremony (UNESCO, Paris, January 20-21, 2014) will stress the importance of crystallography for the advancement of science to the governments of all nations. The overall programme for IYCr2014 will be introduced, highlighting its main objectives of disseminating crystallography, providing educational possibilities to students from all parts of the world and fostering cooperation among countries.

Michele Zema (, IUCr Project Manager for IYCr2014