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EMBO and EMBL to host anniversary science and policy meeting


HEIDELBERG, 01 July 2014 – Scientists, politicians and policy makers met at the EMBL Advanced Training Centre in Heidelberg, Germany, on Wednesday 2 July and Thursday 3 July for the EMBO-EMBL Anniversary Science and Policy Meeting. The event featured scientific talks from researchers, the participation of European science ministers and secretaries of state, and sessions on policy issues such as excellence and inclusion.


Robert-Jan Smits, Director-General, Research & Innovation, for the European Commission, a speaker at the meeting, remarked: “EMBO and EMBL have shown that when Europe combines its forces by bringing together its best talents, it can lead the world in science and innovation. For this reason, it is good to meet and celebrate the success of these organizations. The anniversary of EMBO and EMBL also provides an excellent occasion to look ahead and to discuss ways to further strengthen Europe's position in the field of the life sciences.”


2014 is the 50th anniversary of EMBO, the 45th anniversary of the European Molecular Biology Conference, the intergovernmental organization that supports EMBO, and the 40th anniversary of the European Molecular Biology Laboratory.


Georg Schütte, State Secretary of the Federal Ministry of Education and Research, Germany, remarked: “EMBO and EMBL have always been trend setters. They provide scope for unconventional thoughts and new ideas. It is the young investigators who develop and implement these novel concepts. Their wealth of ideas is the capital on which European research and prosperity are based. Many former EMBL researchers are now directors of internationally renowned research institutions in Europe and dispersed this philosophy of EMBL and EMBO across Europe. Germany is proud to be the host of these extraordinary institutions.”


“We are all striving to support and promote excellence in the life sciences but we have to be acutely aware that it must be inclusive and take into consideration diversity,” said Helga Nowotny, ERA Council Forum, Austria, a speaker at the event. “Among the topics at the meeting will be some of the considerations posed by excellence.”


Nobel laureate Ada Yonath, Weizmann Institute of Science, Israel, and Elizabeth Murchison, University of Cambridge, United Kingdom were among the speakers on Wednesday 2 July. Marc Heppener, European Space Agency, presented on Thursday 3 July. Science ministers from three European countries participated in a panel discussion on the first day of the meeting.
On Wednesday 2 July, a ScienceTree was unveiled in a public ceremony. Over the years, renowned European scientists from 27 countries, including three Nobel laureates, have contributed to the project (see www.embo.org/anniversary/sciencetree/partners). The ScienceTree symbolizes the unity of the life sciences in Europe.
The full programme of the meeting is available at www.embo.org/anniversary/events/the-embo-embl-anniversary-science-and-policy-meeting