EMBL’s site by the sea completed its fifth year of operations. We look back at some key milestones and achievements since 2017
In 2017, the first seed of what would become EMBL Barcelona was planted in the PRBB campus in Spain. Today, this seed has grown into a tree with a solid trunk sustained by more than 70 researchers and many branches supported by wide-reaching collaborations. Beginning with its earliest conceptualisation in 2005, to the celebration of its fifth anniversary in October 2022, EMBL Barcelona’s story has been one of triumph, innovation, and growth.
We present below a short voyage through the first five years of EMBL Barcelona, through challenges and breakthroughs, through early mornings and late evenings, through great science and greater camaraderie. And throughout this process, every member of the site has felt and contributed to fun and excitement of creating a new EMBL family.
April: EMBL and the Spanish Ministry for Foreign Affairs sign EMBL Barcelona’s host site agreement to establish a new site within the Barcelona Biomedical Research Park (PRBB).
September: Amaranta Amador Bernal, Head of Administration and Senior Legal Advisor, together with a small administration team, joins EMBL Barcelona.
October: EMBL Barcelona officially starts its operations. James Sharpe and his research group, previously in the Centre for Genomic Regulation (CRG), continue to work in their old lab spaces in the PRBB for a while. The administration team also starts its initial work within the PRBB. Both teams later relocate to their current locations upon completion of refurbishments to accommodate EMBL Barcelona.
February: EMBL and the University Pompeu Fabra sign the Framework Agreement laying the foundation for hosting PhD students at EMBL Barcelona.
July: Refurbishments to PRBB’s 4th floor are completed and this becomes EMBL Barcelona’s new home.
Also in July, EMBL’s Summer Council Meeting is held in Barcelona.
May: EMBL Barcelona signs an agreement with the Barcelona Blood and Tissue Bank. Both Bernabeu and Haase Groups will receive blood samples to study how vascular dysfunction can lead to diseases like cerebral malaria or cancer.
October: EMBL and CSIC sign a Framework Agreement to strengthen Spanish national research collaboration.
December: Miki Ebisuya is awarded the ERC Consolidator Grant.
April: Due to the pandemic, EMBL Barcelona sets up the Social Interaction Working Group. Colleagues from several groups organise online and in-person activities to promote social contact among site members.
June: EMBL Barcelona and the University of Barcelona sign a Traineeship Agreement to foster collaboration and offer internships to local students.
In the same month, EMBL Barcelona and IBEC jointly organise an online satellite session for the M-CELS workshop – Multi Cellular Engineered Living Systems. In this session, speakers from both EMBL and IBEC discuss the technical, ethical, and societal challenges of building M-CELS.
August – October: First EIPOD fellows start at EMBL Barcelona. Four new colleagues join the Bernabeu, Ebisuya, Haase, and Trivedi groups.
October: The Barcelona Collaboratorium for Modelling and Predictive Biology is inaugurated. This project is led by EMBL Barcelona and the Centre for Genomic Regulation (CRG). It aims to be a new space for computational biology-related interactions, enabling researchers to collaborate, share ideas, and synergise across disciplines and scales.
In the same month, Group Leader Talya Dayton joins EMBL Barcelona.
Also in December, Vikas Trivedi is awarded the ERC Synergy Grant.
EMBL Barcelona underwent its first unit review in 2022, which evaluated its scientific achievements over its first five years. Internal and external reviewers congratulated the site for an excellent start to its journey.
We look forward to continue flourishing in the coming years. Cheers!