Newly-launched Kafatos Lectures to bring groundbreaking science to the public

New lecture series to bring groundbreaking life sciences to the public

Male scientist stands in front of blurred background
This new lecture series is named after EMBL’s third director general, Fotis Kafatos. Credit: EMBL

By Tom Furnival-Adams

A prestigious new lecture series commemorating the legacy of former EMBL Director General Fotis Kafatos will help bring groundbreaking life sciences research to people around the world.

The Kafatos Lectures will provide an exciting new global platform for outstanding scientists to share their work with the public through a live, in-person event that is also broadcast online. The annual lecture will be presented by a past or current European Research Council (ERC) grantee.

Speakers will be selected for excellence in public speaking and timeliness of their subject, including its societal impacts. The announcement of the selected speaker will be made at the end of each year. The selection committee includes leading scientists, such as former EMBL Director General Iain Mattaj and former EMBL-EBI Director Dame  Janet Thornton.

The inaugural 2022 Kafatos Lecture will mark five years since the death of Kafatos, who was the ERC’s founder and first president. Although the lectures will usually be held in the home city of that year’s speaker, the 2022 lecture will take place in Kafatos’ birth town of Heraklion, Greece. The lecture series is coordinated by the EMBL Alumni Association, which was founded by Kafatos, who was a fervent supporter of outreach and nurturing young scientists.

“This award to ERC grantees is the best possible recognition of Fotis Kafatos’s extraordinary vision and contributions to European science,” said Roberto Di Lauro, an EMBL alumnus, former SAC member and a member of the Kafatos Lecture Selection Committee. “He was the scientist who, more than anybody else, was instrumental in promoting and building the ERC.”

Supporting the lecture

EMBL thanks The Bank of Greece, Crete University Press, FORTH, Heraklion Municipality, IMBB, Mathesis and several individuals for their support of the lecture. Thanks to their generosity, €30,000 has already been pledged. To establish the lecture series indefinitely, we encourage other donors to step forward with support to help cover the annual cost of €10,000. To find out more, please contact Mehrnoosh Rayner, Head of Alumni Relations, at alumni@embl.org.

Tags: alumni, director general


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