EMBL Imaging Centre

Open access to cutting-edge electron and light microscopy

We provide researchers from Europe and beyond with a synergistic portfolio of imaging services including cryo-EM, super-resolution and intravital microscopy to enable new ground-breaking research that crosses the scales of biology.

Guidelines for access

General guidelines

  • Users should discuss their projects with the EMBL IC team (ic-contact@embl.de) to identify the best strategies in answering their biological question. Please note: In case your project requires work at biosafety level 2, with living vertebrates, or with human samples, please contact us well in advance as an institutional approval process might be required.
  • Access to the EMBL IC services is associated with a financial contribution to costs incurred by EMBL, such as a contribution to our instrument maintenance, data storage and general consumables costs. In addition, consumables used for your sample preparation will be invoiced. Please note: This contribution is dependent on the specific instruments and services used and dependent on the access mode used, and might be covered by a research infrastructure, access programme or fellowship. Industry visitors are charged full costs. More information on financial contributions for direct access can be found here. Rates for internal users can be found here (EMBL Staff access only).
  • User management is conducted via ARIA cloud services. This includes user registration, proposal management as well as project evaluation. 
  • If you publish work supported by the EMBL IC it is obligatory to include this sentence in the acknowledgement:

“We acknowledge the access and services provided by the Imaging Centre at the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL IC), generously supported by the Boehringer Ingelheim Foundation.

  • If EMBL IC staff members are involved in a collaborative project with the user beyond the provided IC services and consequently contributed significantly to published work, staff members shall be included in the author lists in accordance with EMBL’s Internal Publication Policy (No. 63).
  • For visitors coming onsite a visitor agreement will be issued. Issuing this agreement will be facilitated by the EMBL IC team and EMBL’s administrative departments.
  • Most of the work will be directly supported by a team member. If the work is to be carried out autonomously by the user, a thorough introduction of the machines will be given to the user.
  • Before you start working in the EMBL IC, an introduction to the machines being used, use of chemicals and how waste is disposed is compulsory. Please note: if you have not used an instrument for six months after your initial training, the training session will be repeated by an EMBL IC staff member.
  • Booking of the instruments before use is mostly conducted for you by an EMBL IC team member. Please note: If the work is to be carried out autonomously by the user, prior booking of the instruments is obligatory. You are responsible for the system while you are booked. Delete your booking, if you do not use your slot. If you delete the last booking on the day, ensure that the system is switched off (the previous user might finish before you delete your booking).


  • We adhere to EMBL’s privacy policy.
  • Data generated within a project belong to the user.
  • Upon completion of the user project, we will provide you with an ASPERA link to our server for data transfer. This link can be used to download the data from our servers. The ASPERA system requires you to install a browser and a Client on your PC/MAC/Linux system. The link will be sent to you via email and will allow for a single download of the dataset to your device. The link is usually valid for one month, however we will ask you to download the data at your earliest convenience and notify us once the transfer is completed. Afterwards the data will be deleted from our servers. Exceptions are possible in alignment with the EMBL IC team under certain circumstances, e.g. if a long-term project requires further data analysis at EMBL. Please note: Long-term storage can be provided upon request by EMBL. Otherwise, the users are responsible for any back-up at their home institute.

Instruments and common spaces

  • If you are onsite, please treat the equipment with extreme care.
  • Check the equipment for any obvious damage or problems and tell an EMBL IC team member if you found a problem.
  • We work with dangerous and toxic chemicals in the EMBL IC, therefore all chemicals should be used under the fume hoods. It is compulsory to clean up after yourself when finished, throw waste into proper waste containers and store chemicals in their proper containers. If you are not sure, ask an EMBL IC team member.
  • All sample preparation and microscope rooms should be kept clean at all times. When you are finished, clean up after yourself.