Many of the activities organised by the Action have directly addressed the challenge of bringing experimental and theoretical scientists together. A key aspect of this is the development of a common language that helps these different research areas communicate effectively. Our Activities have allowed us to train a large number of young researchers from across Europe in the use of both state-of-the-art molecular simulation and experimental biophysics methods. Our experience has shwon us that a focus on hands-on training via both courses and bi-lateral exchange has been extremely important to achieve good exchange of ideas and methods.
A key Action tool has been the use of STSMs between experimental and theoretical groups. These have ranged from experimental students and postdocs visiting a theoretical group in order to learn a particular simulation technique to simulation students and postdocs visiting experimental groups to gain a better understanding of how data are collected, what kinds of experimental errors can occur, and what kinds of questions are being asked by experimentalists.
The STSMs were complemented by a series of meetings and workshops over the course of the Action. These were either fully or co-organised by the Action.
- 2014 Integrating spectroscopic and theoretical methods to analyse molecular machines, Schloss Ringberg, Kreuth, Germany. The meeting included scientific talks, as well as discussion sessions aimed towards standardisation of data reporting and formats.
- 2015 Modern methodology to study movement and mechanism in molecular machines, Bahrenfeld Science Campus, Hamburg, Germany. This training school included lectures on the state of the art in biophysics and simulation.
- 2015 Integrative Structural Biology Tools for the Study of Protein-Ligand Interactions II, Lisbon, Portugal. This course covered a range of core structural biology methodologies, including X-ray crystallography, NMR, EPR, microarrays, ITC and Molecular Modelling.
- 2016 2nd International Discussion Meeting on Förster Resonance Energy Transfer in the Life Sciences: FRET 2, Göttingen, Germany. This meeting covered all aspects of FRET experiments from data collection to the underlying theory. Also addressed were the role of modelling and data standards.
- 2016 Les Houches-TSRC workshop on protein dynamics, Les Houches, France. This meeting brought together researchers from simulation and experiment from across the world, all with a common interest in protein dynamics.
- 2016 COST CM1306 MD training school: Hybrid approaches to describe molecular machines: An introduction of molecular modelling for experimentalists, Vienna, Austria – this Action organised hand-on school aimed to introduce experimental researchers to the potential and applicability of molecular simulations.
- 2016 13th Greta Pifat Mrzljak International School on Biophysics, Croatia. This exciting school, co-organised by 3 COST Actions took students from across Europe on a journey through all aspects of biophysics, including simulation.
- 2016 Connecting EPR, ssNMR and DNP for the study of complex biomolecules, Schloss Ringberg, Kreuth, Germany – this meeting followed on from the 2014 meeting on “ntegrating spectroscopic and theoretical methods to analyse molecular machines” and addressed a range of state-of-the-art spectroscopic techniques as well as the required simulation tools for data analysis and interpretation.
- 2018 Training School: Advanced fluorescence methods to explore dynamics and mechanisms of molecular machines, Parma, Italy. This meeting focussed on hands-on training in fluorescence spectroscopy and included contributions aimed at highling the role of molecular simulation in data analysis and interpretation
- 2018 14th Greta Pifat Mrzljak International School of Biophysics, Split, Croatia. This meeting, again sponsored by multiple COST Actions, allowed students from across Europe to learn about all aspects of biophysics, both computational and experimental.
Finally the Annual COST Action meetings, associated with our MC meetings have provided a fruitful ground for scientific discussion and the seeding of new collaborations.