EMBL explores synergies in neuroscience research with French partners

Scientists from EMBL and its French academic partners gathered at EMBL Rome for a workshop to foster collaboration and advance research in neuroscience

Group picture of scientists from EMBL, Collège de France, and the Institute of Biology of the Ecole Normale Supérieure
Neuroscience workshop participants at EMBL Rome. Credit: Rossana De Lorenzi/EMBL

On 13-14 February 2023, EMBL Rome welcomed a group of scientists from the Collège de France (CdF) and the Institute of Biology of the Ecole Normale Supérieure (IBENS). Principal investigators and heads of facilities from different EMBL sites and the two French institutes participated in a workshop aimed at exploring synergies and areas of common interest in the field of neuroscience. 

The event builds on the memorandum of understanding (MoU) signed by the three partner institutions in 2021 to foster collaboration and advance research in several fields of common interest.

“This workshop aims to open up possibilities for investigator-initiated collaborations and to enable future collaboration and exchange,” said Cornelius Gross, interim head of EMBL Rome. “It’s an opportunity to highlight some of the specific strengths of each institution and introduce research facilities with relevance to neurobiology.”

The event followed exploratory meetings between the organising institutions aimed at promoting research, training, and career opportunities in neuroscience.

The two-day workshop was introduced by the organisers – Cornelius Gross (EMBL), Laurent Bourdieu (IBENS), and Nathalie Rouach (CdF) – who presented their research institutes, the main research directions of the same, and organisational  goals. A series of talks allowed participating scientists to quickly introduce the research interest of their groups, the scientific services available, and job openings at their institutes. 

A further goal of the workshop was to explore potential mechanisms for establishing collaborations through joint funding applications or participation in joint postdoctoral programmes, including EIPOD-LinC, the fellowship programme recently launched by EMBL to promote interdisciplinary research.

“Beyond the scientific collaborations, I find that the possibility of exchanges and training with EMBL is stimulating for all the research actors in our laboratories,” said Laurent Bourdieu, group leader at IBENS. “The MoU we signed with EMBL makes these actions much easier. The possibility to use EMBL’s technological infrastructures and to share our strengths and expertise together would be an enriching experience for our staff. Our students have numerous internships, often abroad, during their studies and the possibilities offered by EMBL are certainly under-exploited. Many scientific services at EMBL’s six sites could be utilised even more effectively, and could be a great help to our research, while we could bring new projects and questions, which is always motivating for the staff.”

“Fostering exchanges with EMBL is a great opportunity for our research groups at CdF. Not only do we share common interests on a number of topics, but we have complementary expertise,” said Nathalie Rouach from CdF. “Access to EMBL’s cutting-edge service facilities should immensely advance our research. We are very excited about the idea of exchanging students, engineers, and researchers within defined collaboration programs to work together on hot topics in neuroscience, and are looking forward to it.”

This workshop at EMBL Rome was the first of a series of events that will bring together scientists from IBENS, CdF, and EMBL to share expertise, synergise, and develop collaborations. A second workshop on epigenetics is already planned for autumn, and will be held at EMBL Grenoble. The idea is to have periodical meetings covering different areas of the life sciences and hosted in turn by the three partner institutions.

Tags: collaboration, france, international collaboration, international relations, italy, memorandum of understanding, mou, neurobiology, neuroscience, rome, workshop


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