The European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) was founded in 1974 on the basis of an intergovernmental treaty signed by ten European countries: Austria, Denmark, France, Germany, Israel, Italy, the Netherlands, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom. The creation of this Laboratory arose from the idea of prominent scientists to create a supranational research center similar to the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN), to redress the balance in the area of molecular biology, then strongly dominated by the USA.
The EMBL was preceded by the creation of two other institutions: the European Molecular Biology Organization (EMBO) and the European Molecular Biology Conference (EMBC). Learn more about the relationship of the Foundation for Science and Technology (FCT) with EMBO and EMBC.
The number of member countries has progressively increased and today they are 28: Finland (1984), Greece (1984), Norway (1985), Spain (1986), Belgium (1990), Portugal (1998), Ireland (2003), Iceland (2005), Croatia (2006), Luxembourg (2007), Czech Republic (2014), Malta (2016), Hungary (2017), Slovakia (2018), Montenegro (2018), Poland (2019), Lithuania (2019) and Estonia (2023).
In addition to these countries, the EMBL counts Australia as a participant with associate country status and Latvia as a participant with candidate member country status.
Portugal joined the EMBL in 1998, and over time has been participating and getting involved in the activities at the core of the EMBL's missions.
The EMBL is today the leading European laboratory for basic research in molecular biology and has its headquarters and main laboratory in Heidelberg, Germany. It also has five sites in Hinxton (the Bioinformatics Institute, EMBL-EBI), Grenoble, Hamburg, Rome (Monterotondo) and Barcelona. The EMBL attracts to these six sites both young researchers and established scientists from around the world.
With about 1,800 people working in six locations across Europe, about 700 publications are produced each year and events and conferences at the forefront of biological research are organized.
This infrastructure, established to promote molecular biology across Europe and create a center of excellence for top-level training in Europe, pursues five missions:
- Do fundamental research in molecular biology;
- To provide vital services to scientists, in member countries and around the world;
- Educating scientists, students and visitors at all levels;
- Actively participate in technology transfer and industry relations;
- Coordinate and integrate European research in life sciences.
Technological Internships at EMBL
In August 2017, FCT and the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) signed a protocol with the aim of promoting technological internships for young Portuguese graduates, through Studentships awarded by FCT. The protocol was renewed in September 2020.
Under this protocol, FCT is responsible for implementing the internship program, selecting candidates, and monitoring the work developed by the interns.
The internships, with a minimum duration of one year with the possibility of renewal for another year, are selected by technological areas, with special attention given to the project, the training framework and the future insertion of the interns in innovation-oriented Portuguese companies.
The EMBL employs some of Europe's best researchers, bringing together biologists, engineers, information technology professionals and numerous other scientific specializations. In addition, EMBL research has many practical and industrial applications.
The EMBL's entrepreneurship materializes through technology transfer programs and technology spin-offs.