EMBO Practical Courses promote the transfer of new methods and emerging techniques to a broad number of laboratories. The primary objective is to enable participating students to implement novel techniques in their home laboratories. Approximately 20 participants should be accepted. Participants are generally early-stage postdoctoral researchers and advanced PhD students. EMBO Practical Courses can take place in EMBC Member States, EMBC Associate Member States or cooperating partner countries, although organizers can be based anywhere. If you wish to apply for an EMBO Practical Course held in a country that does not yet have a cooperation agreement, you should first contact the programme manager.
Annual application deadlines: 1 March and 1 August for courses planned for the following year.
Both the 1 March and 1 August application deadlines are for funding of courses taking place in the following year. However, organizers are encouraged to apply at least twelve months before the course takes place, to ensure enough time for the proper advertising and promotion of their courses, in the case of acceptance.
EMBO Practical Courses can take place in EMBC Member States, EMBC Associate Member States or cooperating partner countries, although organizers can be based anywhere. If you wish to apply for an EMBO Practical Course held in a country that does not yet have a cooperation agreement, you should first contact the programme manager.
Each application is reviewed by at least two members of the EMBO Course Committee. The final decision is made by the entire committee. Applicants are informed of the decision within twelve weeks of the application deadline.
All applications are treated in confidence and only publicized following acceptance of the funding conditions by the organizer.
Organizers should indicate a provisional timetable that includes session titles with brief explanations of the subjects covered and how they fit together. Details of the practical sessions should also be provided. The provisional timetable should also include confirmed speakers for each session and the reason for their selection.
When planning the course, organizers are advised to:
- encourage students to bring their own samples/data (where appropriate);
- provide students with theoretical background material with selected references, in addition to the programme, well in advance of the course;
- ensure that instructors give a briefing at the beginning of each day;
- ensure that instructors and speakers stay for the entire duration of the course;
- ensure that accommodation for instructors and students is in the same facility;
- include round table discussions in the course programme;
- include poster sessions and/or student presentations in the programme;
- have practical sessions comprise at least 40% of the programme.
When planning poster sessions, organizers should ensure that:
- these are in close proximity to where lectures are being held;
- the display room is spacious and bright enough;
- these sessions are not held solely at the end of the day;
- sufficient and dedicated time is dedicated for poster viewing;
- a brief oral presentation is given by participants (where possible).
- should not exceed €400 for practical courses five days or more in length, or €250 for practical courses less than five days in length; most EMBO Practical Courses charge a registration fee (including accommodation) of at least €200;
- may be waived for selected students at the organizer's discretion;
- should be €1,000 for participants from industry;
- should be paid directly to the organizer (or the organizer's nominee) and included as income in the final financial statement.
When selecting participants, organizers are requested to ensure a wide geographical representation. At least two-thirds of the participants should be based in EMBC Member States with no more than 15% of participants residing in the country where the course is being held. In the case of courses held in EMBC Associate Member States or cooperating partner countries, a greater representation of scientists based in the respective continent is encouraged. Participants should not be restricted to pre-defined participants (whether this be an EU-network or other defined group).
When selecting speakers, organizers are requested to ensure a wide geographical representation without bias towards the host country. Organizers must aim for a minimum of 30% female representation when selecting speakers/instructors (if there is a lower proportion, justification must be provided). Applications with an excessive gender imbalance are generally not successful.
Course instructors will normally give lectures on the theoretical basis and applications of the techniques being taught. These lectures are strictly for the course participants and should be part of a coherent, full-time programme. Instructors may be invited to deliver additional research seminars to the wider local research community. These seminars should be completely separate from the practical course (although practical course participants can be invited to attend the seminars).
EMBO provides additional funding to enable organizers to offer travel grants to selected participants.
A maximum of €500 per travel grant can be awarded. In the case of participants working in laboratories in India, Singapore, South Africa and Taiwan, a maximum of €1,000 per travel grant can be awarded.
At the organizer's discretion, the amount of the travel grant can be lowered to include more participants.
Organizers must supply details of the grants awarded to EMBO after the course (along with the final documentation) in order to be reimbursed.
Participants must apply directly to the course organizer for a travel grant. Organizers can select travel grant recipients at their discretion.
Travel grants can be offered to participants of any nationality working in laboratories in: Croatia, Czech Republic, Estonia, Greece, Hungary, India, Malta, Lithuania, Poland, Portugal, Singapore, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, South Africa, Taiwan and Turkey.
Priority must be given to the countries listed above however, travel grants may also be provided to participants working in laboratories in: Africa, Asia (excluding Japan and Korea), South and Central America, Albania, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Bosnia, Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kosovo, Kyrgyzstan, Latvia, Macedonia, Moldova, Montenegro, Romania, Russian Federation, Serbia and Ukraine.
EMBO travel grants are not available for participants working in laboratories in: Australia, New Zealand, North America, Japan, Korea and other European countries (apart from those listed above).
Further advice is available on the advice for organizers page.
The maximum funding available for an EMBO Practical Course is €30,000. The maximum amount of funding available for EMBO Practical Courses in non-EMBC/non-cooperating partner countries is €20,000. Decisions on the amount of funding are made on a case-by-case basis. Organizers are therefore required to justify all major costs in the budget section of the application form. EMBO funds must not be used to cover per diem expenses, gifts, poster prizes or dinners organized exclusively for speakers.
EMBO funds can be used to cover:
- economy travel, accommodation and subsistence costs of the instructors;
- accommodation and subsistence costs of the students;
- room hire, audiovisual and IT facilities essential for the course;
- sufficient consumables for participants to perform experiments during the course, however, it is expected that the venue will have the necessary equipment available;
- reasonable administration costs - a maximum of €4,000 of the EMBO funding and registration fee income can be used to cover secretarial/administration costs, including printing costs (to reduce environmental impact, organizers are encouraged to consider to consider distributing the abstract book in electronic format via the practical course website and to print only a minimum number of hardcopies, if necessary);
- grants to aid participants based in countries in need of scientific strengthening.
Payment of the funding grant
80% of the allocated funding will be transferred to organizers approximately four months prior to the start of the course. EMBO must be notified of any significant changes to the course budget and/or scientific programme after it has been initially approved.
Once the final documentation has been approved by EMBO, the remaining funds (up to 20% of the allocated funding) will be transferred. The final documentation has to be submitted to EMBO within six months following the end date of the conference. Failure to do so will result in the final payment being forfeited.
- Short report (1-2 pages) about the practical course, including a short scientific overview, participants' reaction to the location and organization, and any other relevant comments;
- Final financial statement, which should include all income and expenditure for the practical course (please note that the organizer must retain receipts for ten years after the practical course, for possible auditing);
- Statistics: total number of applicants, and the number, gender, nationality and/or country of residence of academia & industry participants, and of instructors and speakers;
- Programme and/or abstract book (preferably electronic);
- Participants' questionnaires: participants submit their feedback using the online EMBO questionnaire. Results will subsequently be shared anonymously with organizers;
- If applicable: List of travel grant and registration fee waiver awardees (including name, institute, country of residence and amount awarded). Travel receipts from the awardees must also be submitted.
Advertising & co-funding
The practical courses must be entitled "EMBO Practical Course". All materials must include the EMBO logo prominently. The website and poster must also include the EMBO Practical Course stamp. The EMBO Pres logo must be included as a sponsor on the website. Co-sponsors can be acknowledged (e.g. "EMBO Practical Course on XYZ, with co-sponsorship from ABC") on the practical course website, but cannot be mentioned in the title of the event on the EMBO Calendar of Events.
All EMBO Practical Courses are advertised on the EMBO poster, EMBO website and social media channels and through selected other print and online media.
Additional advertising is left at the organizer's discretion. It is a strict condition of EMBO support that any additional publicity, as well as the programme and abstract book, should clearly indicate that the course is an EMBO Practical Course, without subtitles relating to previous similar meetings.
Poster and website assistance
EMBO will create a website (including online registration), design a poster and abstract book cover at no additional charge. Full details will be supplied to organizers shortly after funding has been confirmed.
1 March and 1 August for courses planned for the following year.
T. +49 6221 8891 112
T. + 49 6221 8891 562
T. + 49 6221 8891 105
Digital Communications Officer
T. + 49 6221 8891 103
Web & Graphic Designer
T. + 49 6221 8891 131