HERCULES 2013 – conversations with the participants

Higher European Research Course for Users of Large Experimental Systems

By Inês Crespo, Information Manager

HERCULES school 2013 HERCULES school 2013

Watch our HERCULES 2013 school video

The HERCULES school, financially supported by NMI3, provides training in using Neutron and Synchrotron Radiation for condensed matter studies to PhD students and postdoctoral researchers from Universities and laboratories worldwide.

The last session of this school took place from February 24 to March 27, 2013. A one-month course was held in Grenoble, close to the Institut Laue-Langevin (ILL), the European Synchrotron Radiation Facility, the European Molecular Biology Laboratory and the Institute of structural Biology. A special seven-days programme included lectures and practicals in the Paris area either at SOLEIL or at the Laboratoire Léon Brillouin, or at the Swiss Light Source in the Paul Scherrer Institute in Switzerland.


We were curious about the participants’ motivations to attend this school and how this helps them on their research work. HERCULES’ reputation, with high quality of lectures and tutorials, was certainly a factor that brought the participants to Grenoble to deepen their knowledge on neutron and X-ray techniques. In fact, the school attracted researchers from very varied fields such as physics, biochemistry, biology, materials science, geology, and astronomy.


Participants found it very enriching to network and enrol in social activities with their fellow students, from different scientific and cultural backgrounds. The school attendees have learned a lot from the interaction with the various beamline scientists who spent half a day with the students doing a designed experiment. In fact, many participants claimed that the course did open up their horizon of different experimental techniques and gave them ideas for their own research.

The school has taught young career researchers how to plan an experiment and how to process and analyse data. They are now ready to prepare and submit a proposal to one of the worldwide neutron and synchrotron research facilities!

nmi3 support

For more information about the schools supported by NMI3 please visit our Education pages.