Scientific Visitor Programme

Enabling external scientists and students to benefit from new collaborations, technologies and state-of-the-art equipment

EMBL-UNESCO Residency in Infection Biology Research

Learn more about:

Scope of the programme

EMBL is among the world’s highest ranked scientific research organisations aimed to explore the secrets of life. EMBL integrates 27 member states and employs close to 1800 people across its six research sites in Heidelberg, Barcelona, Grenoble, Hamburg, Cambridge (Hinxton) and Rome. The Infection Biology Transversal Theme at EMBL (IB-TT) has research groups spread across all 6 European sites, and are focused on characterising pathogen (viruses, bacteria, parasites) interactions with the host at an atomic, molecular, tissue and ecosystems level to better understand infection and antimicrobial resistance – a major health challenge facing the world today.

UNESCO is the main agency within the United Nations that aims to promote global peace and security, through the promotion of international cooperation in education, sciences, culture, communication and information. UNESCO works with science organisations to share ideas and establish standards, promote dialogue between scientists and policy makers, and enable the development of deeper international cooperation in science.

This initiative follows the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed between EMBL and UNESCO to promote greater collaboration in the areas of open science, capacity building in developing countries, sharing of scientific resources and the promotion of gender equality in science.  

The current call targets advanced female PhD fellows, postdoctoral scholars, and tenure-track group leaders holding a primary affiliation with a research group/programme based in Africa. Applications are especially welcomed from eligible candidates among the fellows of the UNESCO’s Organization for Women in Science for the Developing World (OWSD), and the L’Oreal-UNESCO For Women In Science (FWIS) awardees, who have demonstrated research excellence, and intend to use this placement opportunity to simultaneously expand their research program and contribute to capacity building in their home institution/region/country.

The successful candidate(s) will be hosted by an EMBL research group leader within the Infection Biology Transversal Theme for up to three months and participate in an ongoing project within the team. The candidate(s) will have the opportunity to acquire new wet lab and/or computational skills relevant to their own research and benefit from EMBL’s state-of-the-art infrastructure and its vibrant scientific community to build an international scientific network beyond borders.

EMBL provides financial and logistic support to the successful candidates through the Scientific Visitor Programme Office, covering the costs for visa, travel and accommodation for the duration of their stay. Further funding may be made available on a discretionary basis, taking into account information provided in the application form.

Participating groups

image of Eva Kowalinski

Eva Kowalinski

Group Leader and Co-chair of Infection Biology Transversal Theme

Kowalinski Group


image of Andrew Leach

Andrew Leach

Head of Chemical Biology and Head of Industry Partnerships

Chemical Biology Services


image of John Lees

John Lees

Group Leader and Co-chair of Infection Biology Transversal Theme

Lees Group


See top of this page for details on the projects offered by the groups above during the 2024 call.


This call is open to female scientists working in the area of Infection Biology.

  • Scientists must be primarily affiliated with an African institution
  • Advanced PhD researchers, Postdoctoral fellows and tenure-track group leaders (5 years or less)
  • Support letter from supervisor/mentor

How to apply

Candidates are invited to apply for this opportunity via EMBL’s e-recruitment system Talentlink (see button at the top of the page)

To apply: 

1. Download and fill the pdf application form available at the top of this webpage. Review the application guide to fill in the form.

2.  In the application form, complete all relevant details to the fullest extent possible and Indicate your two preferred projects with justification of selection from the list of projects provided on top of this page (downloadable as pdf)

3. Create a concise curriculum vitae/resume (maximum of 2 pages) and provide a valid ORCID ID where all your peer reviewed publications are included. 

4. The letter of support on official letterhead paper should contain the contact information  from your group leader (for PhD/postdoc applicants), or Department/Institution Head (for early career group leader applicants) and should state that they support your three-month stay at EMBL. The letter should be able to prove that you will continue to be funded following the return from your residency.

5.  Create a profile On EMBL’s online jobs portal, attach and upload your application form, curriculum vitae, letter of support once you have completed them

6. Please submit your application by the advertised deadline. Applications submitted after the deadline or in any other way or format will not be considered for evaluation.

7. If you have questions about the fellowship, or encounter problems during the application submission process – please contact the Scientific Visitor Programme Office at vp@embl.org.

Important dates

11 February 2024: Call opens for applications 

31 March 2024 (23:59 CET): Deadline for submission of applications

Mid to end of April 2024: Interviews with shortlisted candidates

First week of May 2024: selection and results announcement

Autumn 2024: planned start of placements

Selection procedure

Hosting group leaders will review all applications which target their laboratories for a placement and rank their preferred candidates to interview. Unsuccessful applications are notified immediately. Subsequently, the IB co-chairs will invite the top candidates for an online panel interview following which candidates shall be notified of the final outcome by May 2024.


Should you have any questions, please get in touch with the Scientific Visitor Programme Office.
Email: vp@embl.org

Credits: Krisztina Arató, Jia Le Lim/EMBL, Creative Team/EMBL, Adobe Stock images

Read more about the first two awardees visiting EMBL during 2023.

Past awardees:


Tendai Washaya (Zimbabwe)

PhD fellow, University of Zimbabwe; Lees gp (EMBL-EBI)

Adwoa Padiki Nartey (Ghana)

Group Leader, University of Ghana; Typas gp (Genome Biology)