chemistry and molecular biologymedical sciencesnatural sciences

Estonia becomes a prospect member of EMBL

EMBL Heidelberg Campus shot by a drone. Copyright EMBL. License CC BY-NC-ND 4.0
EMBL Heidelberg Campus shot by a drone. Copyright EMBL. License CC BY-NC-ND 4.0

In June 2019 Mailis Reps, the Minister of Education and Research of Estonia and Edith Heard, the Director General of the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) signed a prospect membership agreement. This is the first step towards becoming full member of the organization. As a prospect member Estonia is able to access the laboratory’s services and programmes and commits to accede to EMBL after three years (in 2021).

The European Molecular Biology Laboratory is an intergovernmental research institution that was established in 1974. The EMBL conducts top-level fundamental research, offers training and services through its core laboratories. As of 2019 EMBL is supported by 27 member states, two associate member states and one prospect member state (Estonia).

Full membership of EMBL allows Estonia to benefit from the European Research Area to a greater degree and access services that it currently lacks or that require improvement, for example:

  • structural biology and accelerator channels;
  • translational medicine and genomics services;
  • bioinformatics and IT services designed for researchers;
  • EMBL doctoral and postdoc programmes;
  • research equipment, knowledge and training.
Nils Wagner and Nils Norlin test a new 3D microscope, developed by the Hufnagel and the Prevedel working groups at EMBL Heidelberg. Author: Marietta Schupp. Copyright EMBL.

Membership in EMBL creates new cooperation opportunities for Estonian small and medium-sized enterprises and allows creating direct contacts with global leading large industries that belong to the EMBL network (e.g. pharmaceutical companies). Here, the main areas of interests are the development of personal medicine (incl. personalized cancer medicine) and related entrepreneurship.

EMBL’s high competence in analysing genomic data (incl. cancer cells), experience in data retention and expertise in technology transfer improves the development work of Estonian research-heavy companies and their potential for growth. The membership also offers new opportunities for companies that develop new chemicals and materials (EMBL runs one of the largest chemical substance databases in the world) and those active in the field of agrobiology (gene banks of farm animals and plants).

The EMBL belongs to Estonian Research Infrastructures Roadmap.

EMBL, the Estonian Research Council and Ministry of Education and Research will organise two information days to introduce the opportunities of EMBL membership:

Written by Gerly Põder, Estonian Research Council

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