OPEN SESAME brings valuable training to students from the Middle East

Following an open call, nine students from SESAME members have been awarded training Fellowships to work in European light source laboratories in 2018.

OPEN SESAME ( is a Horizon 2020 project, which began on 1 January 2017 and runs until the end of 2019. It provides training opportunities for the SESAME light source in Jordan. An intergovernmental organisation, SESAME’s members are Cyprus, Egypt, Iran, Israel, Jordan, Pakistan, the Palestinian Authority and Turkey. This call for Fellowships was open to students working towards Masters or Doctoral degrees in the realm of light source science in any of these Members.

Some 49 applications were received. After scrutiny by an expert committee, nine places were offered, with six candidates in reserve. The successful applicants represent four SESAME Members, with two coming from Egypt and two from Iran, four are from Pakistan and one is from Turkey. Seven are women and two are men, and they will each be spending a minimum of eight weeks between February and June 2018 in European labs. Their fields of interest are all areas that will be addressed by SESAME’s phase-one beam lines, namely powder diffraction, X-ray absorption spectroscopy, infrared microspectroscopy, macromolecular crystallography and X-ray tomography. These techniques address questions ranging from life sciences where antibiotic resistance in bacteria and the interactions of essential oils and macromolecules will be investigated by single crystal diffraction, to geology where oil and gas flow properties in porous rock will be characterised by hard X-ray micro-tomography.

The labs hosting the Fellowships are ALBA in Barcelona, which will host four students, Elettra in Trieste, which will host one, ESRF in Grenoble hosting two and Soleil, near Paris, which will also host two. The Fellows each receive a stipend of €6600 to cover their costs.

OPEN SESAME is coordinated by ESRF and involves the light source laboratories ALBA, DESY, Elettra, SESAME and SOLEIL, as well as CERN, which has a long standing link to SESAME, the French CNRS’s Ancient Materials Research Platform, Ipanema, the Cyprus Institute, the European Research Infrastructure Consortium, Instruct, and Italy’s INFN. OPEN SESAME’s overall objective is to support the initial training needs of SESAME and thereby help the laboratory become established as an integral part of the global light source research landscape. This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement number 730943.

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