Nordic EMBL Partnership
The purpose of the Nordic EMBL Partnership for Molecular Medicine is to facilitate scientific collaboration and thereby capitalize on both intellectual and material resources within the Nordic region in order to exploit emerging technologies and to develop molecular and translational medicine.
University rectors and Centre Directors from the four Nordic EMBL Partnership nodes, and the EMBL General Director Iain Mattaj. Photo: Lise Balsby, University of Aarhus.
The partnership was established in 2007 as a joint venture (2008-2012) between the EMBL and the Universities of Helsinki (Finland), Umeå (Sweden) and Oslo (Norway) and involved the building of national sister institutions in the three countries. The Partnership is based on complementing research expertise and a common aim to rise to challenges in biomedicine as well as to foster industry collaborations. In the first five years of the partnership, the network indeed emerged as a strategic player in Europe in the molecular understanding of disease mechanisms.
The impact and success was recognized in 2013 with the signing of a renewed partnership agreement for an extended period of 10 years (2013-2023). Furthermore, the Nordic EMBL Partnership network was expanded in 2013 when the Danish Research Institute of Translational Neuroscience (DANDRITE) at Aarhus University became the Danish node.
All nodes benefit from scientific, infrastructural and administrative support from EMBL as well as from the know-how of operational procedures in international recruitment, staff-turnover and external review. The majority of the group leaders at the nodes are young scientists recruited through international calls on the basis of scientific excellence and the EMBL model for recruitments.
The agreement facilitates access to scientific infrastructure, including databases, facilities and instrumentation, as well as access to clincal materials, services and training activities provided by each of the partners. Each partner has adopted the EMBL model for international recruitment, staff turnover and scientific reviews and the coordination between the Nordic nodes and EMBL is overseen by a steering committee constituted by two representatives from each node.
Committee of external experts
Scientific progress is reviewed regularly by a committee of external experts. In addition to their partnership with EMBL, the individual Nordic research centres engage in collaborations with other national partners, including research and public health institutes, hospitals and research councils, in order to establish an extensive Nordic network for molecular medicine. The partnership now also receives support from NordForsk as a Nordic Network of National Centers of Excellence.
The four Nordic nodes
The signed agreement summarizes each partner’s contribution to the Partnership. In Norway NCMM facilitates the translation of basic medical research into clinical practice. The centre addresses disease mechanisms and exploits available biobanks and health registries.
In Finland FIMM has a mission to solve grand challenges in human health through the application of personalized medicine. The centre investigates molecular mechanisms of disease, using genomics and medical systems biology.
In Sweden research at MIMS is focused on microbial pathogenicity and molecular infection medicine.
Finally, in Denmark DANDRITE pursues translational research in neuroscience, drawing on infrastructures for advanced brain imaging in patients and animal models and for structural and functional studies of membrane proteins as well as computer-assisted drug discovery.