Solution scattering from biological macromolecules – Course and Conference Office

EMBL Course

Solution scattering from biological macromolecules


Registration is not yet open for this event. If you are interested in receiving more information please register your interest.

This course consists of two parts: a virtual module and an on-site module.

The series of online lectures will take place from 6 – 10 November 2023. In addition to this, a small number of selected students that have completed the virtual module will be offered to take part in the practical component of this course that will take place in Hamburg from 27 November – 1 December 2023.

When applying for this course you will have the possibility to apply for only a virtual module or for both virtual and on-site modules. Please note that only students that have completed the virtual module will be taken into consideration in the selection for an on-site module.

Course overview

The virtual module lectures will cover the basics of SAXS/SANS, instrumentation, data collection, modelling techniques and complementary use with other methods. The students are also encouraged to sign-up for a self-paced practical tutorial that covers basic and advanced SAXS data processing steps (including quizzes to keep track of successful participation).

In the on-site module, there will be 2 tracks offered focusing on different aspects of SAXS data collection. Applicants will be able to select a preferred track during motivation letter submission.

Students that are not taking part in the on-site module will be able to sign-up for small online discussion groups. These discussion groups will be led by one of the course speakers/tutors and you will be given the chance to discuss your own data/SAXS experiments with your peers.


The course is aimed at young biochemists/biophysicists and researchers active in related structural methods with little or no experience in solution scattering.

The virtual module is aimed at early career scientists interested in expanding their knowledge in SAXS.

On-site track 1: X-ray beamline operation is aimed at advanced pre-docs/early-stage postdocs interested in working with synchrotron radiation and technical aspects of scattering experiments. During the practical, you will learn different steps for commissioning and calibrating a beamline, how to streamline workflows, and what to consider for data collection and management.

On-site track 2: sample preparation and optimization for SAXS is aimed at pre-doctoral and postdoctoral fellows with a background and/or an interest in biochemistry. In this track, we will be looking at best practices in sample preparation and data collection as well as various tools for data quality assessment. Students are encouraged to bring their own samples.


  • SAXS data collection
  • Data processing
  • Basic analysis
  • Novel SAXS data analysis methods
  • Integrative structural biology
  • Reporting and quality assessment

Learning outcomes

During the virtual module of the course, we will take a look at all essential steps of SAXS data analysis, from applying for beamtime, collecting, processing, and analysing SAXS data, as well as proper reporting and quality assessment.

At the on-site module, deeper insights into beamline operation or optimization of measurements can be gained.

Speakers, trainers and staff

Scientific organizers

Preliminary virtual programme

Day 0 – Thursday 2 November 2023
Day 1 – Monday 6 November 2023
14:00-14:10Welcome, general questions
14:10-15:10SAXS Theory
15:10-16:10SAXS vs SANS
16:10-16:30Break / general questions
16:30-17:30SAXS instrumentation
Day 2 – Tuesday 7 November 2023
14:00-14:10Welcome, general questions
14:10-15:10SAXS – sample preparation
15:10-16:10SAXS basic analysis
16:10-16:30Break / general questions
16:30-17:30Introduction: self-paced tutorial
Day 3 – Wednesday 8 November 2023
14:00-14:10Welcome, general questions
14:10-15:10SAXS – advanced modelling
15:10-16:10SAXS and AI-based models
16:10-16:30Break / general questions
16:30-17:30SAXS and flexible systems
Day 4 – Thursday 9 November 2023
14:00-14:10Welcome, general questions
SAXS applications:
14:10-14:45Integrated structural biology
15:20-15:55Virus studies
15:55-16:20Break / general questions
16:20-16:55SAXS and flexible systems
16:55-17:30For industry
Day 5 – Friday 10 November 2023
14:00-14:10Welcome, general questions
14:10-15:10SAXS standards and data presentation
15:10-15:30Short overview SASBDB
SAXS next steps:
15:30-16:00Beamline application
16:00-16:20User office
16:20-16:40Break / general questions
16:40-17:30Round table – wrap up

Preliminary on-site programme

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  • Some pre-course work (such as watching pre-recordings, protocol reading and computational exercises) will be required and will be shared in advance of the course.
  • Some speakers may need to join virtually to give their lecture or Q&A, and the programme is subject to change.
  • All times in the programme below are shown as the time in Europe/Berlin

The on-site programme will be available soon

Practical information

Registration fees and motivation letter

The number of participants for both virtual and on-site modules is limited. For selection purposes, please note that your application will not be considered without a letter of motivation.


Registration fees for the virtual module include access to online lectures and other course materials.

PhD Student€75

Registration fees for the on-site module include accommodation in single rooms at the DESY guesthouse, all meals throughout the duration of the course, and course materials. Travel expenses are NOT covered with the registration fee.

PhD Student€400

Please note that students selected for the on-site module will have their virtual module registration fee waived and will only have to pay the on-site registration fee.

Confirmation and payment

The registration fee should be paid only after acceptance to the course. The results will be announced approximately 2-3 weeks after the application deadline.

Motivation letter submission

After you have logged in and successfully registered, you will receive an email asking you to submit your motivation letter. Click on the link provided and enter your motivation letter in the text box provided. Alternatively you can submit your motivation letter by clicking on the link on the confirmation page directly after registering.


  1. Include your relevant skills, experience and qualifications showing why you would be suitable for the course.
  2. Explain why you would like to attend, including what you can contribute and how you think you will benefit from the course.

Please note:

  • The limit of 2000 characters refers to manually typed text and excludes spaces. If an error occurs try using a different web browser (preferably Google Chrome or Mozilla Firefox).
  • If you copy-paste the text into the form, hidden formatting might still be included which may cause the text to exceed the 2,000 character limit resulting in an error message. We recommend you clear all formatting before pasting in the text.
  • If you have special symbols in your text, make sure you are using Unicode characters, otherwise these will not be recognised.

For more detailed information, follow the instructions provided in our video on how to submit a course motivation letter.

Further details

For further information about registration and motivation letter submission please refer to the FAQ page.

Financial assistance

Limited financial assistance in the form of both registration fee waivers (for virtual module) and travel grants (for the on-site module) is available for this course. You will be able to apply for the financial assistance during the motivation letter submission process.

Your place in the meeting is only confirmed by paying the registration fee, which is mandatory even when receiving a fee waiver.

Registration fee waiver

The fee waiver will cover the registration sum that you have paid to attend the course or conference.

Travel grant

The travel grant will cover the cost of travel (airfare, train, bus, taxi, accommodation, visa, and/or registration fees*) and is provided up to specified caps which are normally as follows:

– up to €400 for participants travelling to an EMBL Course, EMBL Conference or EMBO|EMBL Symposium from within Europe.
– up to €1000 for participants travelling to an EMBL Course, EMBL Conference or EMBO|EMBL Symposium from outside Europe.
– up to €500 for any participant travelling to an EMBO Practical Course or EMBO Workshop.
– up to €1000 for any participant working in Chile, India, Singapore or Taiwan travelling to an EMBO Practical Course or EMBO Workshop.

*Registration fees are only covered for EMBO Practical Courses or EMBO Workshops

The organisers may reduce the grant cap to accommodate more participants. Recipients will be notified of their travel cap amount when they are informed of the outcome of their application. Original receipts must be provided with your signature for all costs incurred within two months of completion of travel. Scanned copies cannot be accepted.


You may apply for financial assistance when submitting your motivation letter for courses, and abstract for conferences. In your application you will be asked to answer questions regarding why your lab cannot fund your attendance and how your attendance will make a difference to your career. Application for financial support will not affect the outcome of your registration application.


The scientific organisers will select the recipients of all financial assistance during the motivation letter or abstract selection process. Results will be announced approximately 6-8 weeks before the event start date, however for some events this may be delayed. Selection results do not impact your admission to the meeting. Selection is based on your current work or study location, the reasons for needing financial support and the impact this event will have on your career.


Costs will be reimbursed after the meeting only once a reimbursement form and original receipts (from travel costs) have been received.

Further details

View our list of external funding opportunities and information on attending a conference as an event reporter.

For further information about financial assistance please refer to the FAQ page.

Accommodation and transport

Reservations for single room accommodation at the DESY hostel have been made, and we are happy to assist in making the final booking. Note, accommodation is included in the registration fee. The guest house is within a few minutes’ walk from the EMBL laboratories and P12 beamline.

Further information

Address: EMBL Hamburg, Notkestraße 85, 22607 Hamburg, Germany

From Hamburg airport take line S1 to Othmarschen (18 stops, 45 min), change to bus number 1 towards Rissen or Schenefelder Holt to Zum Hünengrab (DESY) (5 stops, 10 min). From Hamburg-Altona train station take bus number 1 to Zum Hünengrab (DESY) (15 stops, 25 min). Ticket costs Public Transport: ca. €3.30. A taxi will be around €45.

Technical requirements and event software

Event software

The EMBL eCampus learning platform will be used to collaborate, communicate and network with all of the course participants. All participants will receive information on how to join shortly before the course. We recommend using Chrome, Safari or Mozilla Firefox browsers for eCampus. 

At the mandatory on-boarding session on Thursday, 2 November the functionalities of the platform and course content will be further explained.

Technical requirements

Information will be provided for installation of the newest ATSAS package in advance. This will be needed to accomplish the SAXS Quest that will be offered in parallel to the SAXS virtual module.

COVID-19 related questions

Updated information will be provided closer to the time of the on-site module.


Sponsoring possibilities, with the flexibility to select a set sponsorship package or combine individual sponsorship options to suit your event budget. Discounts are available for companies sponsoring multiple events at EMBL Heidelberg. View other events, or contact sponsorship@embl.de for further information.

If you are interested in becoming a media partner of this event, please visit our media partnerships webpage.


EMBL wishes to warn sponsors of EMBL conferences and courses of fraudulent schemes purporting to offer sponsorship opportunities on behalf of EMBL or affiliated with EMBL officials. One current scam campaign of which we are aware is conducted using the name ‘Judy Eastman’ (judy@gopcontact.a2hosted.com) and entails approaches to sponsors offering sponsorship opportunities on EMBL’s behalf. Please be kindly advised that all relevant communication regarding sponsorship of EMBL conferences, symposia and courses is handled by EMBL directly and is sent from an official EMBL account. EMBL does not work with any external providers on sponsorship acquisition.

Please also note that:

  • EMBL never provides attendee lists for purchase. Any offers of such are fraudulent.
  • EMBL will never call or email you to ask for your credit card details or to request a payment.
  • All payments are on invoice.

Suspicious communications purportedly from, for or on behalf of EMBL should be reported to EMBL at the following email address sponsoring@embl.de.

Date: 6 - 10 Nov 2023

Location: EMBL Hamburg

Venue: Centre for Structural Systems Biology


  • Melissa Gräwert
    EMBL Hamburg, Germany
    • Clement Blanchet
      EMBL Hamburg, Germany


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