Crystallography in Africa

The IUCr Crystallography in Africa initiative


The IUCr Crystallography in Africa initiative was launched in 1999 following a proposal of former IUCr Executive Committee member Jan Boeyens from South Africa, with the aim of developing programmes and activities for the dissemination of crystallography in the African continent.

This initiative is aimed at providing training in crystallography teaching and research methods to faculty members and students from the most disadvantaged parts of the world. Since its launch, the IUCr has organized a number of courses, initially in English-speaking African countries in collaboration with the South African Crystallographic Association. More recently, the IUCr Crystallography in Africa initiative has developed rapidly with activities in several countries, such as Congo, Cameroon, Senegal and Ivory Coast. These activities have been often implemented in collaboration with a diffractometer manufacturer company, namely Bruker, and new operational laboratories have been installed with instrumentation supplied by the company. The IUCr has covered transportation expenses and the recipient university the maintenance expenses.

[Installing a diffractometer in Cameroon] [Installing a diffractometer in Cameroon]
Local staff and students assist in the installation and testing of a Bruker diffractometer at the University of Dschang, Cameroon, west Africa, in March 2013. (Photographs courtesy of Claude Lecomte)

Steering Committee for the IUCr Crystallography in Africa initiative

Chair: Claude Lecomte (email:
Members: Luc Van Meervelt, Jean-Paul Ngome Abiaga (UNESCO), Andreas Roodt, Abdelmalek Thalal, Hocine Merazig, Patrice Kenfack, Romain Murenzi (TWAS), Michele Zema   

Lecture series and Schools

Lecture series and Schools on general crystallography have been held in various countries (for example, Cameroon, Congo, Ivory Coast, South Africa, Gabon, Senegal). The host pays the accommodation costs and the IUCr pays the travel costs for one lecturer and also contributes towards the travel costs of other African professors coming to attend the course from other universities. Such schools are normally organised under the IUCr-UNESCO OpenLab framework.


Diffactometer manufacturers have supplied powder and single-crystal diffractometers free of charge. The IUCr pays the shipping costs and the recipient Universities undertake to ensure their successful installation. Schools are organized at these locations following the installation.

Institutions or manufacturers willing to donate equipment should contact Professor Claude Lecomte (email:


A limited number of bursaries are awarded to African students to enable them to attend meetings of the IUCr Regional Associates.

IUCr Congresses

A limited number of full bursaries (to cover economy flight, accommodation and registration) are available for young professors (up to the age of 40), post-doctoral students and PhD students from Africa to enable them to attend an IUCr Congress. Applicants must give an oral or poster presentation.

Please send an application comprising a brief CV (2 to 3 pages), the Abstract of the presentation and a letter of motivation to Professor Claude Lecomte (email: