The OpenLab concept was launched by the IUCr and UNESCO as one of the major activities for the UN International Year of Crystallography 2014. The IUCr-UNESCO OpenLab is a network of operational crystallographic laboratories based in different countries worldwide, many in less endowed regions of Africa, South and Central America and South Asia. They are aimed at allowing access to crystallographic knowledge and technology in all parts of the world, key for the fruitful development of science, and to open possibilities for conducting high-level research. The IUCr and UNESCO have partnered several major crystallographic equipment companies to organize as many as 27 OpenLabs in 23 different countries so far.
The OpenLab initiative has been chosen as one of the actions for the LAAAMP project to train researchers in crystallographic and synchrotron instrumentation sciences. There is a need to improve the scientific background in such disciplines in order to build the next generation of Advanced Light Sources facilities in the Emerging Countries, and this is the role that the OpenLabs will play within this context.
Five OpenLabs are expected to be implemented as part of the LAAAMP activities.