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European Molecular Biology Laboratory

The European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) is one of the world’s leading research institutions, and Europe’s flagship laboratory for the life sciences.

EMBL governance

EMBL is an intergovernmental molecular biology  institution specialising in basic research in the life sciences, funded by public research monies from more than 20 member states, including much of Europe and Israel, and two associate members, Argentina and Australia. Established in 1974, EMBL is a non-profit organisation. The EMBL website explains the EMBL structure and leadership.

The UK contribution to the budget is paid through the Medical Research Council (MRC) and the MRC also plays a role in EMBL management through representation on the EMBL Council.

EMBL mission

The cornerstones of EMBL's mission are to:

  • perform basic research in molecular biology
  • train scientists, students and visitors at all levels
  • offer vital services to scientists in the member states
  • develop new instruments and methods
  • actively engage in technology transfer
  • integrate European life science research.

Research at EMBL

Research at EMBL focuses on a central strategic goal: the fundamental understanding of basic biological processes in model organisms.

EMBL places emphasis upon experimental analysis at multiple levels of biological organisation, from the molecule to the organism, as well as computational biology, bioinformatics and systems biology.

Research is conducted by approximately 85 independent groups covering the spectrum of molecular biology. Its 1,600 employees from 60 nations represent scientific disciplines including biology, physics, chemistry and computer science.

EMBL locations

EMBL operates from sites across Europe:

Scientific services

Scientific services provided by EMBL include:

  • core biomolecualar databases and bioinformatics tools, particularly at EMBL-EBI
  • the provision of beamlines, instrumentation and high-throughput technology for structural biology at the Hamburg and Grenoble oustations
  • core facilities, which provide cost-effective and efficient access to methods and technologies that are expensive to set up or maintain, or that require considerable expense.

Training opportunities

Training is available at EMBL for PhD students, postdocs and visiting scientists. The Laboratory has established a number of highly successful training activities, which include:

  • EMBL International PhD Programme

The EMBL International PhD Programme provides comprehensive training that promotes scientific excellence, independence and creativity.

The programme places great emphasis on interdisciplinary skills; candidates with backgrounds in chemistry, physics, mathematics, computer science and engineering are encouraged to apply and will work hand in hand with biologists to tackle the future grand challenges in biomedicine.

Applicants must hold, or anticipate receiving before enrolment, a university degree that would formally qualify them to enter a PhD or equivalent programme in the country where the degree was obtained.

Applications from highly qualified students of all nationalities are welcome.

  • EMBL Postdoctoral Programme

Postdocs at EMBL have a wide range of backgrounds including, biology, chemistry, biochemistry, molecular biology, medicine, engineering, physics, mathematics, computer science and bioinformatics. Interdisciplinarity is an important strength of research at EMBL; fellows interested in moving into a new area of research are welcome.

EMBL has three dedicated fellowship programmes to fund postdoctoral research: the EMBL Interdisciplinary Postdocs (EIPOD) Fellowship, the EBI-Sanger Postdoctoral (ESPOD) Fellowship and the EBPOD Fellowship programme.

Most postdoctoral fellows enter EMBL with external funding. Individual funding is obtainable from a number of national and international fellowship programmes. Visit the EMBL website for further funding information.

For further information on these, and other, EMBL training activities, please visit: EMBL Training.

A few postdoctoral fellowships may be offered as specified positions on the EMBL job pages.