European Molecular Biology Organization
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European Molecular Biology Organization
The European Molecular Biology Organization (EMBO)
EMBO Logo.png
PurposePromote life science research in Europe and beyond
HeadquartersHeidelberg, Germany
1,800 members[1]
Maria Leptin[2]
Key people

The European Molecular Biology Organization (EMBO) is a professional organization of more than 1,800 life scientists.[3] Its goal is to promote research in life science and enable international exchange between scientists. It co-funds courses, workshops and conferences, publishes five scientific journals and supports individual scientists. The organization was founded in 1964 and is a founding member of the Initiative for Science in Europe. As of 2021 the Director of EMBO is Maria Leptin,[2][4][5][6] a developmental biologist at the University of Cologne, Germany.[3]

Conferences and journals

EMBO funds or co-funds over 90 meetings attracting more than 11,000 participants every year.[7]

EMBO publishes five peer-reviewed scientific journals: The EMBO Journal,[8] EMBO Reports,[9] Molecular Systems Biology,[10] EMBO Molecular Medicine,[11] and Life Science Alliance,[12]

Awards and fellowships

EMBO confers several awards and prizes including:

  • EMBO Membership is a prestigious award; there are now 1,800 EMBO Members.[1]
  • The EMBO Gold Medal is awarded annually in recognition of significant contributions of European researchers to the advancement of science.[7]
  • EMBO also awards grants to scientists. These include post-doctoral fellowships (over 2,500 fellowships awarded since 2001), young investigator grants (over 300 group leader grants awarded since 2001) as well as lecture, travel and childcare grants.[7][13][14]
  • The FEBS/EMBO Women in Science Award highlights major contributions by female scientists to life sciences research. Winners of the award are inspiring role models for future generations of women in science. The award is a joint initiative of EMBO and the Federation of European Biochemical Societies (FEBS). The winner receives 10,000 euros, a bronze statue by Dutch artist Marloes Eerden and the opportunity to give a plenary lecture at the FEBS Congress.[15]


The European Molecular Biology Organization (EMBO) was officially launched in July 1964 after a group of European biologists had discussed the idea earlier at a meeting in Ravello.[3][16] In that meeting, the initial goals of EMBO were set, which consisted of creating a central European laboratory for life sciences and increase scientific interactions between researchers in Europe.[16] At the Ravello meeting, Max Perutz was elected as the first EMBO Chairman and John Kendrew as Secretary General.[16]

Initially, 140 biologists were elected EMBO members and in 1969, the European Molecular Biology Conference (EMBC) was set up as a political body with 14 countries as initial members.[16][17] Since 1964, scientists have been elected annually as members of EMBO based on excellence in research.[18][1] There are currently more than 1,800 Members of the European Molecular Biology Organization, 90 of whom have received the Nobel Prize.[19] As of 2018, the EMBC has 30 member states, two associate member states (India, Singapore) and two co-operation partners (Chile (CONICYT), Taiwan (MOST and Academia Sinica)).[20]

In 1982, the EMBO Journal was launched, in 1986, the EMBO Gold Medal was established, an annual award for young scientists. The "Young Investigator Program" which awards grants to young professors was established in 2000 and four additional journals were launched in 2000 (EMBO Reports), 2005 (Molecular Systems Biology), 2008 (EMBO Molecular Medicine) and 2019 (Life Science Alliance). Life Science Alliance is co-published with Rockefeller University Press and Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press. In 2010, Maria Leptin was appointed fifth director of EMBO succeeding the previous EMBO directors Raymond Appleyard, John Tooze, Frank Gannon and Hermann Bujard.

In 2011, EMBO established the "Science Policy Programme" which interacts with policy makers and provides analysis of concerns emerging from advances in scientific research.[3]

Closely affiliated organisations to EMBO include the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL), and The Federation of European Biochemical Societies (FEBS) which like EMBO, primarily operate in the European Research Area (ERA).


  1. ^ a b c Anon (2021). "EMBO Members and Young Investigators". Retrieved .
  2. ^ a b c d Anon (2021). "Leadership and governance". Retrieved .
  3. ^ a b c d Ferry, Georgina (2014). EMBO in perspective: a half-century in the life sciences (PDF). Heidelberg: European Molecular Biology Organization. p. 145. ISBN 978-3-00-046271-9. OCLC 892947326.
  4. ^ Leptin, Maria (2010). "Spreading the Spirit of EMBO" (PDF). Science. 327 (5962): 126. Bibcode:2010Sci...327..126L. doi:10.1126/science.1185865. PMID 20056858.
  5. ^ Sanderson, Katharine (2009). "Helping Europe's molecular biologists: The new EMBO director speaks to Nature News about her plans". Nature. doi:10.1038/news.2009.657.
  6. ^ Ferry, Georgina (2014). "History: Fifty years of EMBO". Nature. London. 511 (7508): 150-151. doi:10.1038/511150a.
  7. ^ a b c Anon (2020). "EMBO facts & figures 2019" (PDF). Retrieved .
  8. ^ Rørth, Pernille (2005). "Authors, reviewers and editors at the EMBO Journal". The EMBO Journal. 24 (22): 3831-3833. doi:10.1038/sj.emboj.7600851. PMC 1283950. PMID 16453402.
  9. ^ Gannon, Frank (2000). "A new journal-in more than one way". EMBO Reports. 1: 1. doi:10.1093/embo-reports/kvd007. PMC 1083683.
  10. ^ Aebersold, Ruedi (2005). "Molecular Systems Biology: A new journal for a new biology?". Molecular Systems Biology. 1: E1-E2. doi:10.1038/msb4100009. PMC 1681461. PMID 19444219.
  11. ^ Caldeira, Sandra (2009). "Welcome to EMBO Molecular Medicine!". EMBO Molecular Medicine. 1 (1): 1. doi:10.1002/emmm.200900010. PMC 3378109. PMID 20049694.
  12. ^ Leibfried, Andrea (2017). "Introducing Life Science Alliance". Life Science Alliance. 1 (1): 1. doi:10.26508/lsa.201700001. PMC 6246890. PMID 30506044.
  13. ^ Anon (2021). "Funding for research careers". Retrieved .
  14. ^ Anon (2021). "Lecture, travel and childcare grants". Retrieved .
  15. ^ Anon (2021). "FEBS/EMBO Women in Science Awardees". Retrieved .
  16. ^ a b c d Anon (2021). "History". Retrieved .
  17. ^ Tooze, John (1986). "The Role of European Molecular Biology Organization (EMBO) and European Molecular Biology Conference (EMBC) in European Molecular Biology (1970-1983)". Perspectives in Biology and Medicine. 29 (3-2): S38-S46. doi:10.1353/pbm.1986.0017.
  18. ^ Nurse, Paul (2014). "EMBO at 50". Science. Washington, D.C.: American Association for the Advancement of Science. 343 (6167): 117. Bibcode:2014Sci...343..117N. doi:10.1126/science.1247701.
  19. ^ Anon (2021). "EMBO Nobel Laureates". Retrieved .
  20. ^ Anon (2021). "The European Molecular Biology Conference (EMBC)". Retrieved .

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