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EMBO partnership with India in the spotlight



Heidelberg, 9 December 2016 - At a launch event in February 2016, EMBC, EMBO and the Government of India’s Department of Biotechnology presented a cooperation agreement, under which India became an EMBC Associate Member State. Nearly one year on, the partnership is picking up momentum, with Indian scientists benefiting from the full range of EMBO programmes in order to forge international collaborations and jointly explore new ideas.


EMBO-supported events are one activity that Indian scientists now have full access to. Aparup Das of the Centre for Research in Medical Entomology in Madurai, India, is the main organizer of an EMBO-funded meeting on malaria genomics and public health that will take place in Madurai in 2017. “The concept of the Global Exchange Lecture Courses and the flexibility that EMBO provides enticed me to organize EMBO funded events in India,” he says.


Das already coordinated another conference earlier this year and found that young Indian scientists are very interested in attending EMBO events in India and meeting world leaders in biological research. “Since India became the second country to acquire the status of an EMBC Associate Member State, EMBO has helped young scientists in India to advance their research, promote their international reputations, interact with top-level scientists and ensure their mobility to carry out innovative research ideas. In my view, Indian science has immensely benefited from this partnership.”


EMBO Long-Term Fellow Kanika Saxena echoes this feeling. She moved from New Delhi to the University of Gothenburg in Sweden, where she took up a fellowship to work at the laboratory of EMBO Member Thomas Nyström. “Working in a European science institute can help Indian scientists in developing interpersonal skills, communication skills, management and networking,” she says. “I did not have much experience with yeast biology and I gained deeper understanding of it and had a chance to learn new techniques such as metabolomics.”



Encouraging international mobility


The EMBO Fellowship Programme supports researchers in developing an internationally mobile career and encourages scientific exchange between India and Europe. Like Kanika, Tanmay Bharat took advantage of the programme to carry out postdoctoral work in a lab outside of India. He joined the MRC Laboratory of Molecular Biology in Cambridge, UK in 2013 and, as a result of receiving an EMBO Advanced Fellowship, will stay there until May 2017. “Without funding from EMBO my time here would not have been possible,” he says. “With EMBO's support I could stay in Cambridge to work on exciting projects that would otherwise have been left unfinished.”


The closer partnership with India is also encouraging international mobility in the other direction. The Dutch biologist Thomas van Zanten took the opportunity to move to the National Centre for Biological Sciences (NCBS) in Bangalore, India, where he specifically wanted to do research in the group of EMBO Associate Member Satyajit Mayor. He says about his experience: “Getting the EMBO Long-Term Fellowship has allowed me to venture into a different region of the world to do my postdoctoral training. The NCBS is a great institute that hosts a large variety of scientists spanning many fields of biology. The facilities here allowed me to use all kinds of microscopy to answer very fundamental cell biology questions. That, I think, is the beauty of life sciences here in India: there is still ample room for fundamental science.”


For more information on EMBO Global Activities, visit embo.org/about-embo/global-activities


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Tilmann KiesslingTilmann Kiessling
Head, Communications
T. + 49 160 9019 3839