EMBL Archive

The EMBL Archive is the custodian of the Laboratory’s heritage.

The EMBL Archive captures, preserves and shares records and archival material from across the EMBL’s sites and activities, in analogue and digital formats. As a whole, these holdings bear witness to the Laboratory’s scientific research and institutional activities, and to the history of European molecular biology.


Vision for and mission of the EMBL Archive

[In alignment with EMBL’s missions], the EMBL Archive’s vision is to provide a resource that supports and documents European research, instrumentation and training in the field of molecular biology. It will do so by capturing, processing and making accessible EMBL’s scientific records and archives, and institutional documentary heritage of enduring historical value created (naturally or necessarily) or received by EMBL as a product of its activities at any of its current and future sites. This specifically includes material from persons (e.g. current or former staff), and can include material from organizations closely associated to EMBL and/or the life sciences.

§2 of the EMBL Archive – Terms of Reference (2020)

Latest posts

15 March 2024

Flashback Friday: Where do you start when developing a new medicine?

EMBL celebrates its 50th anniversary in 2024, and in so doing, we’re digging through the archives for some fascinating stories from EMBL’s past publications to republish in this blog. The following article was published on 25 March 2014, shortly after the launch of a new public-private research…

Objectives and Activities

To deliver the mission of the EMBL Archive, three objectives have been identified:

  • To capture EMBL’s documentary heritage
  • To manage EMBL’s archival holdings
  • To make EMBL’s archival holdings accessible

In order to do so, a number of activities have been defined, and these are detailed in the Activities and Workflows document. The activities range from managing emergency preparedness by working with the Notfallverbund Archive Rhein-Neckar e.V. (NARN), managing sensitive and personal data within the archival holdings according to professional standards and EMBL’s data protection framework, as explained in this document, recording oral history interviews, and managing digital holdings. The EMBL Archive catalogue provides information about and access to the archive’s holdings.

Building the EMBL Archive

The idea to start the EMBL Archive first came in 2009 from the then Alumni Association Board and was launched at the EMBL Staff-Alumni Reunion in 2010 (see in EMBLetc in October 2010, p. i). Thanks to the efforts and vision of a dedicated group of alumni, facilitated by EMBL Alumni Relations, the idea garnered enthusiasm throughout the EMBL community and developed into a Laboratory-wide initiative. The Wellcome Collection in London provided support and advice early on, and continues to do so. In January 2015, the first EMBL Archivist began working to formally establish the EMBL Archive, under the guidance of the Iain Mattaj, EMBL’s fourth Director General. In July 2018, the EMBL Archive was formally inaugurated. You can read about the inauguration and watch a recording of the ceremony. Since then, it continues to develop as a scientific service and a cultural heritage institution, for EMBL, its community and the public at large..

Latest news

27 Sep 2023

Five decades of EMBL visits

Structural biologist Shlomo Trachtenberg has made research trips to EMBL from Israel since the late 1970s and reflects on the boost EMBL’s technology provided his research, the ingredients for an idea…

07 Mar 2023

Tracing the history of women in science at EMBL

On the occasion of International Women’s Day 2023, EMBL archivist Maria Papanikolaou discusses the traces left by the women in science who have passed through EMBL, irrevocably changing the organisati…

20 Jul 2022

Welcome: Maria Papanikolaou

EMBL’s new archive and records manager, Maria Papanikolaou, explains the dual role she and an additional colleague will have in the Office of Science Information Management.



Phone: +49 6221 387-8719
Email: archive@embl.org

EMBL Archive
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