EMBL Programme and Indicative Scheme

EMBL’s activities are planned in five-year cycles and outlined in a document called the EMBL Programme. Every five years, the member states that fund and govern EMBL agree a funding plan called the Indicative Scheme, which will support the EMBL Programme.

The EMBL Programme is developed with input from people across the organisation, including scientific faculty and technical, service and administrative staff.

It outlines how we will push the boundaries in research, services, training and technology development and transfer, developing EMBL’s position as an international role model for research institutions.

Fit for rapid changes

Things can change rapidly at the frontiers of biomedical research. Even in just five years, approaches and technologies that were unheard of can become essential research tools. New discoveries can spark whole new fields that scientists may want to access or need to be trained in. To retain our ability to adapt to such rapid and disruptive changes, the EMBL Programme serves as a broad guideline rather than a detailed directive.

While the EMBL Programme is not prescriptive, it provides direction, informing decisions from strategic hires and investments in technology, to establishing partnerships with other institutes.

Approval process

Outlined and developed internally, the EMBL Programme is reviewed by our Scientific Advisory Committee, which provides valuable insights into the needs and trends of the international scientific communities beyond the institute. Composed of external scientific experts, the Committee also evaluates the plans on behalf of EMBL Council, assessing whether they are feasible, pioneering and make the best use of EMBL’s strengths. The Programme is approved by EMBL Council, ensuring that EMBL’s activities are aligned with the collective wishes of our member states.


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