On 12 June 2014, EMBL-EBI celebrated its 20th anniversary with a day of inspiring talks and fun activities on the Genome Campus. Held on the lawn behind Hinxton Hall, the event brought together staff and alumni to connect, look back on a remarkable two decades of growth and discovery and share ideas about the future of bioinformatics.
The event – one of many celebrating EMBL’s 40th anniversary and EMBO’s 50 years of scientific excellence – was kicked off by presentations from EMBL Director General Iain Mattaj, EMBL-EBI Employee No. 1 Graham Cameron and first Head of Research Michael Ashburner, EMBL-EBI Head of Administration Mark Green and EMBL-EBI Director Janet Thornton. Guest speakers included Anne Ferguson-Smith of the University of Cambridge, Ian Bird of CERN, Nicky Mulder of the University of Capetown and Jim Crilly of Unilever.
Our staff were joined by over fifty alumni, including dynamic speakers Chris Sander and Nicolas LeNovère, to discuss everything from “blue skies” research to intellectual property. We were treated to a rollicking performance by science comedian Robin Ince, who was invited by the EMBL-EBI Staff Association. Ince also chaired a panel on challenges in collaborative discovery: women in science, science communities in the developing world, industry and academia and shared research infrastructure.
EMBL-EBI began with the creation of the world’s first nucleotide sequence database at EMBL Heidelberg in 1980. In 1992, EMBL Council decided to locate EMBL-EBI on the Wellcome Trust Genome Campus alongside the major sequencing efforts of the Sanger Centre, and in September 1994 the new institute opened its doors. Since then, EMBL-EBI has played a major part in the bioinformatics revolution.