Alumni Relations

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Environmental Research Initiative (ERI)

“I started the Environmental Research Initiative (ERI) because I see a tremendous chance in bringing EMBL’s world-leading know-how in the life sciences to the pressing problems of our times. Join me to help find new and creative solutions through research as the most effective way to preserve our environment.”


Dear Alumna/Alumnus,

The 2020s is the decade in which we must take substantive action for the future of humanity and our planet.

We’re inviting all EMBL alumni to join our community in finding solutions to urgent global challenges through supporting what EMBL does best: fundamental research in molecular biology.

The Environmental Research Initiative (ERI), launched at EMBL in 2020, is addressing some of the pressing environmental challenges facing us today. It provides financial support to EMBL scientists seeking to better understand and tackle these challenges through harnessing the power of EMBL’s collaborative culture and cutting-edge resources. Three exciting catalyst projects that address pollution from pesticides, nanoplastics and artificial hormones are already underway thanks to donations from the Friends of EMBL Programme and others amounting to just over €60,000.

We would like to fund at least one new catalyst project through the collective impact of the alumni community. With 5,000 members of our Alumni Association, we could raise enough to fund an environmental research catalyst project costing around €20,000.

Please join us in sowing the seeds for new environmental research projects.

Every donation will have an impact!

Thanks so much for your consideration and support.
Our very best wishes,

Matthias, Fátima, Mehrnoosh & Brendan

Matthias Hentze, EMBL Director and MMPU Co-Director
Fátima Gebauer, EMBL Alumni Association Chair and CRG Group Leader
Mehrnoosh Rayner, EMBL Head of Alumni Relations
Brendan Rouse, EMBL Environmental Officer


How does ERI fit with the EMBL Programme?

ERI complements the EMBL Programme by addressing an area of need which is not covered by the EMBL Budget.

What is the long-term vision

In the future, we aspire towards the creation of new groups at EMBL, each focusing on a specific area of research linked to tackling pressing environmental challenges.

How will the money be spent?

Donations will be used to fund and kickstart catalyst projects which will build on those already set up. Ultimately, we hope that this grassroots campaign will encourage philanthropists and charitable trusts to help fund ERI on an even larger scale.

How do I propose a catalyst project?

Applications are currently only open to EMBL scientists. To find out more, click here (internal access only)

Can I get involved in other ways?

Your support as an ambassador for ERI is invaluable. You can help by spreading the word within your networks and raising awareness of ERI amongst potential donors and anyone with interest or expertise in tackling global environmental challenges.


  • Foteini Fotiadou
  • Tom Furnival-Adams
  • Fátima Gebauer
  • Mark Green
  • Matthias Hentze
  • Peter Papagiannis
  • Mehrnoosh Rayner


Please get in touch if you would like to find out more:
Mehrnoosh Rayner
EMBL Head of Alumni Relations
E-mail: rayner[at]embl.de
Tel: +49-6221-3878102

Donations will be possible when the campaign is launched in 2022: please watch out for updates!

Solutions for urgent global challenges

Harnessing molecular biology to accelerate the Green Recovery

Sustainability at EMBL

EMBL believes that the life sciences have a critical role to play in tackling our environmental crisis, and helping economies lead a Green Recovery on a global scale. As well as launching our first Sustainability Strategy, which sets ambitious targets to transition to a sustainable organisation, we are spearheading projects such as ERI to identify solutions to tackle climate change and safeguard our planet’s future. Find out more.

Friends of EMBL

The first ERI catalyst projects were funded by donations from Friends of EMBL members and other individuals. We would like to acknowledge their contribution and thank them for their generosity. The Friends of EMBL Programme is a network for all those interested in joining forces to make our world a better and healthier place through scientific breakthroughs. Find out more.