New Delhi: The Department of Biotechnology, Ministry of Science and Technology, has signed an agreement for cooperation with the European Molecular Biology Organisation (EMBO) to acquire the status of an Associate Member State of the body. This will strengthen scientific interaction and collaborative research between India and Europe in the said field. After the signing of an agreement with Singapore by EMBC in July 2015, India will now become only second such country outside the European region.
The EMBO is an organisation of more than 1,700 leading researchers that promotes excellence in the life sciences. The major goals of the organisation are to support talented researchers at all stages of their careers, stimulate the exchange of scientific information. The movement was started in 1964 as European Molecular Biology Conference (EMBC) and subsequently it got intergovernmental funding.
With this India as an EMBC Associate Member State, researchers working in India are now eligible to participate in all EMBO programmes and activities. Indian scientists can apply to EMBO’s programmes, such as long-term fellowships for postdoctoral researchers, short-term fellowships, courses and workshops, as well as the EMBO Young Investigator Programme. At the same time, Europe will benefit from networking with the top-level scientists in India’s research community.
The official kick-off launch ceremony of the agreement was held in New Delhi, India today (4 February 2016). Scientific presentations were made by Nobel Laureates Christiane Nüsslein-Volhard and Ada E Yonath to mark the occasion.
To mark the occasion, Professor Maria Leptin, Director of EMBO said:
“For the past five years, we have been promoting international interactions beyond Europe, and India is one of our prime partners. I am extremely pleased that India is going to be an Associate Member of EMBC and I look forward to India being able to access EMBO activities. Many European researchers have established scientific connections in India. No doubt these will be strengthened further once more tools and formal opportunities for interactions are available.”
Professor K Vijay Raghavan, Secretary of the Department of Biotechnology (DBT) for the Government of India, who signed the agreement, said:
“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.” He added: “Through EMBO, we will not only have the excellent joint programmes that benefit India and Europe, but we hope to be a magnet that attracts bright young people to science from in- and outside India.”
Professor Gerrit van Meer, President of the EMBC, remarked:
“All member states welcome the exchange with Indian scientists that this agreement will bring. We look forward to seeing transcontinental projects spanning India and Europe grow in future.”
An EMBO-led delegation of 10 researchers is in India now to visit various institutes across the country and meet with Indian scientists and government representatives.
This 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 an integral part of the annual conference The EMBO Meeting.