Courses and Conferences

EMBL Courses and Conferences are a major European platform for sharing and expanding research, knowledge and contacts through face-to-face and virtual interaction

COVID-19 safety policy for on-site events at EMBL Heidelberg


Whilst EMBL is very much looking forward to welcoming the scientific community back to our sites in 2022 with a long-awaited return to in-person events, we are also committed to the safety of our participants and staff. Both EMBL and our community of participants need to take new precautions when planning how we come together again in person for learning and scientific exchange.

EMBL continuously monitors local and international guidelines and regulations relating to the COVID-19 pandemic. Due to the changing nature of the pandemic and in order to be compliant with relevant German regulations, it may be necessary for EMBL to update, from time to time, its health & safety policy, including these COVID-19 specific safety rules. We will inform registered participants about substantial changes to this document.

COVID-19 vaccination / recovered status as a condition of attendance (2G rule) 

EMBL requires that all on-site participants in its on-site conferences and courses – including standard participants, speakers, exhibitors, EMBL staff and contractors adhere to the German ‘2G’ scheme which stands for “geimpft” or “genesen” (vaccinated or recovered). Only fully vaccinated / recovered persons will be able to participate in an on-site event or course. 

Please note that only Proof of Vaccination / Recovery as defined by the German Federal Ministry of Health will be accepted. For more information, please see the Paul-Ehrlich-Institut website. (Agency of the German Federal Ministry of Health).

Obligatory daily COVID-19 testing as an additional layer of safety 

EMBL’s testing requirements for access to events vary in response to the pandemic situation and may go beyond the local and national COVID-19 regulations.  EMBL will keep registrants informed and advised on the latest requirements and on local testing options. 

Current requirement as at 20 January 2022

All participants, regardless of vaccination / recovery dates, must show proof of a current negative result from a supervised / certified test each day upon arrival. Professional testing stations are readily accessible and in place at many convenient locations throughout Heidelberg. They offer rapid lateral flow antigen tests are free of charge and on a ‘walk-up’ or appointment basis for all, including visitors. These are valid for access to events at EMBL for 24 hours, PCR tests for 48 hours.
You will easily spot testing tents in the city centre and beyond, and can find locations on the Heidelberg city website.

Onsite voluntary testing (NOT yet in place)

EMBL considers testing an important extra precaution for our courses and conferences and is seeking to provide a periodic self-testing regime for participants. When available this scheme will offer sensitive nucleic acid based SARS-CoV-2 testing based on a self-sampled gargle sample starting from the second day of the event, with same-day sample analysis by our professional medical partner, the Heidelberg University Hospital. This test is free of charge and is available on a voluntary basis, but because the system relies on self-testing, German regulations currently mean that a negative result can only be accepted for access to EMBL events if you have had a booster vaccination, or the date of your most recent vaccination or recovery is less than 3 months in the past at the date of the event. 

Safe conduct at the event

By attending, you agree to abide by applicable German regulations and EMBL’s health & safety rules, and to conduct yourself in accordance with all provided instructions. This will include, but is not limited to:

  • refraining from coming to the event, or leaving promptly if you develop symptoms associated with COVID-19; 
  • complying with the prevailing medicinal mask-wearing policy communicated at the event;
  • following instructions on physical distancing and crowd circulation at the event;
  • following distancing and circulation instructions on-site to minimise contact; 
  • observing good hand-washing and hygiene etiquette;
  • filling in and signing self- declaration form, in which you will be asked to confirm that: 
    • You are not required to quarantine under the German Ordinance on Coronavirus Entry Regulations after travelling abroad; 
    • You are not under quarantine requirements as imposed by the Health Authority; 
    • You have not been in close contact with a person with suspected or confirmed SARSCoV-2 infection; 
    • You have not shown any symptoms of a SARS-CoV-2 infection yourself; 
    • You have valid proof of vaccination or recovery when coming on site. You will present this for verification to EMBL’s member of personnel.

EMBL’s commitment to COVID-19 safety at our courses and conferences 

EMBL has a comprehensive on-site COVID-19 safety plan that consists of a range of precautions to reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission. Underpinned by the limitation of access to immunised i.e. vaccinated or recovered persons, the plan is adapted over time and, if necessary, on an event by event basis, to ensure that it remains proportionate to the trajectory of the pandemic and to the latest developments. 

  • Periodic testing, as described above and provided by EMBL on a self-test basis may be in place if deemed appropriate;
  • A mask wearing policy, which will, as a minimum, comply with German local and national regulations at the time of the event will be communicated and enforced for both staff and participants. Participants must bring their own supply of FFP2 masks; 
  • Air handling at the Advanced Training Centre venue is fully fresh-air supplied, with no recirculation and is regularly tested; 
  • Additional manual ventilation will be deployed in some rooms; 
  • Capacities have been reduced to limit crowding and circulation routes / distancing guidelines will be in place;
  • Proper cleaning and disinfection protocols and workplace practices are in place as a standard and hand sanitizing stations are present throughout the building for use by all; 
  • We are working closely with our event partners to make sure that the same high standards hygiene and cleanliness are maintained at all times during the event.

A non-immunised person (neither been vaccinated against nor recovered from COVID-19 and who will not be immunised at the time of the event) may only register for virtual participation.

Participants accept that they may be asked to leave the event should they fail to meet the obligations contained herein.