September 1, 1999

Miss Vida Cody
Manager, Western Europe
The Royal Society
6 Carlton House Terrace
London, SW1Y 5AG, UK

Dear Miss Cody,

I am writing in reference to your letter of 14 June and after consulting Guy Dodson on the matter of the Eastern European Structural Biology Consortium. First, I should emphasise that the Consortium is approaching the Royal Society only in relation to the visits programme. We are not seeking support from the Society for the networking activities of the Consortium.

The reason we approached the Royal Society is that all the labs in this consortium have contacts in the UK, and some have had the benefit of visits through the Royal Society's visits programme. It was our hope that the usual bilateral visits scheme could be extended to include the Consortium as a whole. Briefly, the proposal is, first, that invitations to UK visitors from individual groups in the Consortium could involve visits to other groups as well. Thus the UK visitor would get a broad exposure to the labs in the Consortium. The groups planning to have a UK visitor would coordinate the visit with the help of the Consortium organization to ensure maximum productivity and cost-effectiveness.

On the other hand, a scientist from one of the Consortium labs coming to the UK would be generally expected to inform the Consortium about the visit so that, if desirable, arrangements could be made to visit other labs on return in order to discuss and pass on the experiences of the visit.

We realize that this proposal does not conform to the visits arrangements that the Society has established. The proposed scheme is, however, going to promote activity and coordination of effort in the region and should also broaden the range of scientific contacts between the UK and Eastern European countries. This is particularly important with regard to structural biology, where, in spite of the existing contacts and sharing of human resources, a dangerous gap has become visible between the quickly advancing western laboratories and those in the newly emerging economies.

Guy Dodson is happy to discuss this letter with you. If you feel that some of these issues need clarification, please let me know.

Yours sincerely,

Mariusz Jaskolski, Ph.D.