Estonia becomes full member of leading molecular biology organization

  • 2023-02-20
  • BNS/TBT Staff

TALLINN - Estonia has become a full member of the European Molecular Biology Laboratory, joining the organisation as its 28th member state.

The membership enables Estonia to benefit from the European Research Area and gives it access to services which are not available in Estonia or need to be improved, such as several services in translational medicine, genomics and bioinformatics.

Renno Veinthal, deputy secretary-general of the Ministry of Education and Research, said that Estonia becoming a full member of the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) confirms the high level of life sciences in Estonia and further expands its researchers' opportunities for training and cooperation.

"Access to core facilities is a very important perk of the membership. Our researchers, especially postgraduate students, will have better access to specific research infrastructure -- equipment, knowhow and databases. The positive mobility experiences of doctoral and postdoctoral scholars are also worth mentioning," he said.

Estonian accession to full EMBL membership comes at an exciting time, given the Molecules to Ecosystems program and the work of the Transversal Themes, Veinthal added.

"There are a large number of very closely aligned research goals and shared ambitions. We have a very long coastline," Veinthal explained, "and we see high levels of pollution along the Baltic Sea. The human impact on this stretch of coastline is enormous, and there is a growing understanding that we must do more to improve it."

Such concerns are closely tied to the fundamental research that underpins the work of EMBL-coordinated projects such as the BIOcean5D collaboration and the TREC marine expedition. In summer 2023, the TREC project will visit the Estonian capital Tallinn, conducting sampling experiments and holding a number of public engagement events, as part of its year-long expedition tracing the European coastline.

Following the accession, EMBL head of international relations Plamena Markova said: "We are delighted to welcome Estonia as EMBL's 28th member state. With its vibrant research ecosystem, Estonia has much to offer to the European life science community, and EMBL membership will amplify this. We share the ambition to deliver ground-breaking science in a collaborative way and with relevance to society. Estonia's membership will help us realize this ambition in a synergistic way, capitalising on our respective strengths but also by creating new opportunities to deliver innovative research."

Estonia has been a prospective member of the European Molecular Biology Laboratory since June 2019. In fall 2021, Estonia submitted the application to become a full member of the European Molecular Biology Laboratory. In November 2021, the Estonian delegation participated in the European Molecular Biology Laboratory Council meeting in Heidelberg. The delegation gave an overview of the state of Estonian life sciences, leading to the council making Estonia a full member.

The European Molecular Biology Laboratory, the world's leading organization for research infrastructure in the field of molecular biology, was founded in 1974 and has 28 member states, including Estonia.