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Celebrating 60 years of EMBO

EMBO was founded on 12 July 1964 to advance molecular biology in Europe. Today, EMBO is an organization of more than 2,000 leading researchers that promotes excellence in the life sciences in Europe and beyond. EMBO has supported thousands of talented researchers at different stages of their careers, stimulated the exchange of scientific information, advanced scientific publishing and helped build a research environment in which scientists can achieve their best work. 

Browse through a timeline and a collection of posters telling the story of the development of EMBO, its achievements and impact over 60 years. 

1962
Leo Szilard © Corbis. All Rights Reserved

Leo Szilard proposes that Europe’s molecular biologists should attempt to persuade governments to establish an international laboratory for molecular or fundamental biology during the visit to CERN in Geneva, Switzerland

1963
16 September

Molecular biologists discuss the possibility of international cooperation at the Ravello meeting in Italy

1964
12 July
EMBO is registered as a non-profit organization

EMBO acquires official legal status in Geneva, Switzerland, under Swiss Civil Code on July 12 and appoints its first members

1965
1966

Volkswagen Foundation provides a grant of
DM 2,748,000 to fund the EMBO Fellowship Programme

First EMBO Fellowships awarded: 21 short- and nine long-term
1970
More countries join EMBC

Austria, Belgium, Denmark, France, Israel, The Netherlands, Norway, Spain, United Kingdom

1972
Greece and Italy ratify the EMBC agreement
1973
1974
Ireland joins the EMBC
4 July
John Kendrew with 'forest of rods' model, used as a basis for building the atomic structure of myoglobin, 1958.
1976
1977
Finland joins the EMBC
1978
Iceland joins the EMBC
1982
3 May
The first EMBO Journal cover

The EMBO Journal is started in 1982 to disseminate research in the life sciences around the world

1986
5 May
Moulds for the original EMBO Gold Medal awarded in 1986

The EMBO Gold Medal acknowledges young scientists for outstanding contributions to the life sciences in Europe.

1992
Hungary joins the EMBC
1993
Turkey joins the EMBC
1994
Czech Republic and Portugal join the EMBC
1996
Cover of the programme of the first EMBO Members' meeting
EMBO lectures and EMBO Members' Meeting established
1997
Slovenia joins the EMBC
1998
Croatia joins the EMBC
1999
Poland joins the EMBC
2000

A new journal is founded to publish both long- and short-format papers that communicate major findings in all areas of molecular-, cell- and developmental-biology.

4 July

Recognizing that the future of research in Europe depends on the quality of its young researchers, EMBO launches the Young Investigator Programme as the only of its kind.

2001
EMBO moves into new building

EMBO moves to its present building on the EMBL campus.

2004
Cutting the birthday cake: Frank Gannon, Marja Makarow, Susan Gasser, Fotis Kafatos (from left to right)
EMBO celebrates its 40th anniversary
2005
14 April

EMBO launches one of the first Open Access journals.

1 June
EMBO Laboratory Management Courses

EMBO starts Laboratory Management Courses to help scientists learn how to run their labs more effectively.

2006
Estonia joins the EMBC
1 December
Installation Grants launched

EMBO starts Installation Grants designed to strengthen science in emerging countries in Europe.

2007
Luxembourg and Slovak Republic join the EMBC
2008
30 January

Naama Barkai of the Weizman Institute of Science received the award for her outstanding contributions to the field of systems biology and the mathematical modelling of biological systems.

9 October

EMBO launches new journal at the interface of molecular biology and clinical research

2009
2010
31 August

Clear Open Science policies on the availability of materials, data and software, data deposition to public databases and data presentation. In addition, EMBO Press implemented initiatives to improve data transparency, reuse and discoverability.

29 August

The first EMBO Meeting is held in Amsterdam. More than 1,300 scientists attend the event. In 2014, a joint anniversary meeting with FEBS will take place in Paris.

2011
13 October

The Government of Singapore signs a cooperation agreement with EMBC, the intergovernmental funding body for EMBO, allowing scientists from Singapore to participate in EMBO Programmes and activities.

2012
29 November

The National Science Council of Taiwan signs a cooperation agreement with EMBC, the intergovernmental funding body for EMBO, allowing Taiwanese scientists to participate in EMBO Programmes and activities.

2013
13 May

The Declaration on Research Assessment (DORA) recognizes the need to improve the ways in which the outputs of scholarly research are evaluated. The declaration was developed in 2012 during the Annual Meeting of the American Society for Cell Biology in San Francisco. It has become a worldwide initiative covering all scholarly disciplines and all key stakeholders including funders, publishers, professional societies, institutions, and researchers.

15 December
EMBO Press launched

EMBO Press - a new publishing platform for The EMBO Journal, EMBO reports, Molecular Systems Biology and EMBO Molecular Medicine that provides opportunities for the future development of the journals is launched

2014
7 May

EMBO has decided to strategically expand the scope of its membership on the occasion of its 50th anniversary. The 106 new members for 2014 include 50 scientists who have made exceptional contributions to these research areas.

2015
7 July
Singapore becomes first EMBC Associate Member State
2016
2 February

The Government of the Republic of India, EMBO and its intergovernmental funding body, the EMBC, have signed a Cooperation Agreement to strengthen scientific interaction and collaborative research between India and Europe.

21 March
Malta joins the EMBC
13 June
Lithuania joins the EMBC
8 July

A platform for researchers and publishers to make their papers discoverable based on their data content

2017
12 February
ASCB | EMBO Meeting 2017 logo

ASCB and EMBO start holding a joint annual meeting. It was renamed Cell Bio in 2020.

2018
EMBO signs cooperation agreement with Chile
Montenegro joins the EMBC
3 April

EMBO Press, Rockefeller University Press and Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press jointly launch the open access journal

2019
3 November

To connect young research group leaders across the world, EMBO launches the Global Investigator Network.

19 December

The platform for the peer review of preprints that allows seamless transfer to a growing number of affiliate journals

2021
19 October

EMBO adds activities to its programmes and launches new funding schemes for researchers in or going to one of nine countries

2022
2023
31 July
EMBO and the Japan Science and Technology Agency sign a memorandum of cooperation
17 November
Latvia joins the EMBC
2024
1 January

From 2024 on, all papers published in The EMBO Journal and EMBO Reports and the source data in all EMBO Press journals will be freely accessible with CC-BY licence

15 January

It recognizes new and significant contributions to the development of sustainable wet and dry labs with a focus on their environmental impact.