European Web Sites to Watch: The European Molecular Biology Organization

What Is It?

EMBO is an academy of more than 1000 individual molecular biologists devoted to both promoting a transnational approach to molecular biology research and helping to train scientists in this field. New EMBO members are selected by existing members on the basis of their excellence in research. EMBO's activities are funded by the 24 member states that make up the European Molecular Biology Conference (EMBC; see box).

Show Me the Money!

One of EMBO's key activities for early-career scientists is providing long-term (up to 2 years) and short-term (up to 3 months) fellowships. Although the long-term fellowships are open only to postdocs, you don't have to have a Ph.D. to apply for short-term fellowships. These are aimed at helping scientists visit other laboratories to learn and apply techniques that are not available in their home labs.

In both cases, the emphasis is on mobility: Applicants must plan to carry out their research in a country that is not their own. In the case of short-term fellowships, movement must be between two EMBC member state countries, or between a member state country and a nonmember country in Eastern Europe. Similarly, applicants for long-term fellowships may apply to move to or come from a nonmember state, such as the United States. Check out the fellowship guidelines for full details.

There are two annual deadlines for the long-term fellowships: 15 February and 15 August. Short-term fellowships are awarded on a rolling basis, with no set deadlines.

EMBC Member Countries

  • Austria

  • Belgium

  • Croatia

  • Czech Republic

  • Denmark

  • Finland

  • France

  • Germany

  • Greece

  • Hungary

  • Iceland

  • Ireland

  • Israel

  • Italy

  • Netherlands

  • Norway

  • Poland

  • Portugal

  • Slovenia

  • Spain

  • Sweden

  • Switzerland

  • Turkey

  • United Kingdom

A recent addition--EMBO's Restart Fellowship programme--is aimed at helping those who have taken a career break of at least 1 year for child care to return to the bench.

Scientists ready to become independent and set up their own laboratories should check out the Young Investigator Programme. There's a small financial award (?15,000 per year), but the major benefit is the prestige associated with the label, which is intended to help recipients attract additional funding and collaborators for their projects.

In another recent addition--part of EMBO's new World Programme--researchers from non-European countries can apply for fellowships of up to 9 months, allowing them to visit labs in EMBC member states (see box) to establish or strengthen collaborations. Scientists from developing countries have priority under the scheme.

Courses and Workshops

Another aspect of EMBO's activities that ought to be of particular interest to Ph.D.s and postdocs is the organisation's annual programme of practical courses and workshops. The practical courses aim to ensure that new methods become available as soon as possible to interested European scientists. Forthcoming workshops cover techniques as varied as "molecular and genetic tools for the analysis of medaka and zebrafish development" and "cryo-electron microscopy and 3-D image reconstruction."

Star Ratings


(the page is too wide for my browser--it's irritating having to scroll across)

Ease of Navigation

(excellent drop down menus)

Quality of Information

(eligibility criteria for fellowships are clear)

Meanwhile, the workshops are designed to bring together scientists who are interested in a common theme but might not normally meet. Gut development and cancer, ribozymes and RNA catalysis, and the molecular genetics of muscular diseases will all be served up on the menu shortly.

Jobs, Jobs, Jobs

EMBO itself doesn't employ many people (just the staff to administer its programmes--see for any current vacancies), but it has launched a jobs database, which it is encouraging EMBO members to post to and use. The goal is to create a browseable and searchable opportunity to find molecular biology positions worldwide.

Any Other Interesting Stuff?

EMBO takes seriously its duty to ensure that the public has access to the latest molecular biology research, with an extensive Science and Society programme, which includes workshops for teachers. One of its latest innovations is the EMBO Award for Communication in the Life Sciences, a new annual prize worth ?5000 to a working scientist who has made an outstanding contribution in communicating science to a nonscientific audience.

The Restart Fellowships mentioned above are part of EMBO's commitment to Women in Science. EMBO has also demonstrated that commitment by organising a meeting, "The Glass Ceiling for Women in the Life Sciences," held in June 2001. A report of the meeting can be downloaded from the Web. There's also a very nice collection of links from around Europe that are relevant to women in science.

In truth, though, this might not be a Web site you need to watch actively; it appears to be updated only as the occasion arises. Nonetheless, as our guide to the organisation's site shows, EMBO has a lot to offer young life scientists, and Next Wave Europe will keep watch for you, aiming to alert you to any new developments!

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