HERCULES (Higher European Research Course for Users of Large Experimental Systems) celebrated its 15th anniversary and its 1000th participant in 2005. This five week (usually end of February to beginning of April) European course aims to train young scientists in the use of large instruments by providing a general overview of the techniques and scientific possibilities associated with neutrons and synchrotron radiation to investigate condensed matter or biomedical topics.

HERCULES is organised by the Université Joseph Fourier (UJF) and the Institut National Polytechnique de Grenoble (INPG), together with the support of partner synchrotron radiation and neutron large facilities. HERCULES will continue over, at least, the next four year thanks to the support of the European Commission 6th Framework Programme: indeed the project presented for the 2005-2008 period by the HERCULES organizing team (scientific coordinator: Prof. J.R. Regnard) was ranked 1st over more than 370 applications. This project includes, in addition to the five-weeks course, three one-week events per year on specialized topics (Hercules Specialized Courses, HSC).