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EMBO expands its global reach


EMBC, EMBO and Government of India’s Department of Biotechnology sign cooperation agreement


14 March 2016 – Under the new agreement, India, as an associate member state, financially contributes to EMBC. In return, researchers working in India will be eligible for the full range of EMBO’s programs supporting talented researchers and stimulating scientific exchange. The eligibility of these researchers will be evaluated against the same criteria as those from other states, allowing international exchange. This cooperation is the latest accomplishment of EMBO’s Global Activities strategy, which works to foster collaboration with scientists in non-European countries that show emerging strength in life science research.


Image: Maria Leptin and VijayRaghavan exchanging the signed agreement at the launching ceremony in New Delhi


"We have been promoting international interactions beyond Europe, and India is one of our prime partners. I am extremely pleased that India now is an Associate Member and I look forward to India being able to access EMBO activities. Many European researchers already have established scientific connections in India. No doubt these will be strengthened further once more tools and formal opportunities for interactions are available”, commented Maria Leptin, Director of EMBO.


An official launch ceremony took place in Delhi on 4 February 2016, and the Nobel Laureates and EMBO Members Christiane Nüsslein-Volhard and Ada E. Yonath joined a high-profile panel discussion. An EMBO-led delegation of ten researchers is visiting various institutes across the country and meeting with Indian scientists and government representatives. The visit started in Mumbai on 1 February and finished in Mohali on 8 February.


Life sciences in India are developing fast, supported by governmental and academic initiatives to attract bright young people to science from inside and outside India. VijayRaghavan, Secretary of the Department of Biotechnology for the Government of India, who signed the agreement, said at the launch ceremony: "India is rapidly growing into a position where we are making extraordinary demands on ourselves. India can only succeed if we partner with the best everywhere to bring the best here."


The newly forged cooperation will build upon already existing links between Indian and European scientists. In 2015, 10 Indian postdoctoral researchers received an EMBO Long-Term Fellowship to work in Europe, and eight India-based scientists received the EMBO Short-Term Fellowship. A satellite symposium focusing on research in India has been a part of the annual conference, The EMBO Meeting.


Though the EMBC was founded by its member states as an intergovernmental organization to provide for cooperation among European States for life science research, EMBO as EMBC’s execution body may expand its engagement with further states outside Europe. After Singapore, which signed a similar agreement in July 2015, India is the second country to acquire the status of EMBC Associate Member State. Four young scientists from Singapore have already joined the Young Investigator Programme. “In addition, EMBO has cooperation agreements with South Africa and with the Taiwanese Ministry of Science and Technology. Discussions are underway with other potential partner countries, particularly elsewhere in Asia and in South America”, said Anne-Marie Glynn, Manager in charge of EMBO’s Global Activities.



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Tilmann KießlingTilmann Kießling
Head, Communications
T. + 49 160 9019 3839