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The EMBC established


While the funding from the Volkswagen Foundation and other initial funders enabled EMBO to recruit a secretariat, elect members, provide the first fellowships and run courses and workshops, it would ultimately need a more permanent funding source. That meant obtaining support from national governments, on the model that funded CERN and other international laboratories. EMBO Council members and others consulted their national ministries. Possibly due to EMBO’s historic associations with CERN, and the shared desire of Victor Weisskopf and John Kendrew to see a European molecular biology laboratory established in Geneva, the Swiss government was the first to respond favourably. Its diplomatic initiative, referred to since as ‘the Swiss initiative,’ opened discussions initially with 13 other national governments: Austria, Belgium, Denmark, the Federal Republic of Germany, France, Israel, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Spain, Sweden, and the United Kingdom.


The European Molecular Biology Conference (EMBC), as it became known, had to be legally distinct from EMBO. It met formally for the first time at CERN on 13 February 1969, and representatives of 12 of the 14 member countries signed the agreement bringing it into being.


Georgina Ferry Source: EMBO in perspective: A half century in the life sciences.