First published in 1999 as a black-and-white printed newsletter for EMBL staff and alumni, EMBLetc. has undergone many transformations in its 24 years of existence.
Founded in 1974, EMBL is Europe’s life science laboratory. With its six European sites, EMBL is a world leader in cutting-edge molecular biology research, services, training, technology transfer, and policy development.
In the 1990s, as the organisation grew, so did the need for a common and reliable platform for sharing news about EMBL both within and outside the institution. Thus, in 1999, EMBLetc., a newsletter that would be circulated among the institute’s staff and alumni, was created to fulfil this need.
As the editors wrote in the introduction to the first edition, “A newsletter can be of great value in raising awareness of what is going on in EMBL as a whole…it can provide an important means of keeping our Alumni linked to the life of the Laboratory, and it will provide a forum for voicing issues which don’t fit easily into EMBL’s other publications.”
First created as an 8-page black-and-white newsletter, EMBLetc. received its first major makeover in 2009, transitioning to a full-colour layout with its 50th issue. In 2014, EMBL’s 40th anniversary year, EMBLetc. evolved into a full-colour, 40-page magazine, with sections dedicated to discussing the institute’s research, people, and culture. Finally, with Issue 99, released in November last year, the magazine took a new digital-first direction, representing EMBL’s move towards more sustainable publications.
Today, as we release its 100th issue, we can see a microcosm of EMBL’s history captured in the pages of this very special magazine/newsletter. Browsing through its issues, we come across defining moments, important achievements, triumphs and challenges, overcoming adversity and building community. In memorialising EMBL’s story, EMBLetc. tells a tale of persistent innovation, collaboration, creativity, connection, resilience, and intellectual curiosity that cannot be dampened.
We also take a sneak peek at EMBL’s upcoming science and society conference, Terra Incognita, which has invited a stellar lineup of speakers to examine and discuss ethical standards in life science research. We hear from past and present stalwarts of EMBL, including Professor Dame Janet Thornton, former Director of EMBL-EBI, Des Higgins, one of the early pioneers of bioinformatics, and Veli Vural Uslu, who has been instrumental in combining science and theatreto aid public engagement in science.
EMBLetc. was for many pre-digital and pre-pandemic years EMBL’s flagship external communications channel. In its new digital-first and multimedia-rich format, it reinforces our role as Europe’s leading life sciences research and technology organisation.