International networking

Nordic EMBL Partnership for Molecular Medicine

The Nordic EMBL Partnership for Molecular Medicine was initiated in 2007 between the University of Oslo (NCMM), Umeå University (MIMS), University of Helsinki (FIMM) and EMBL. In 2013, the network was extended with the Danish node DANDRITE at Aarhus University and the Framework Agreement of the Nordic EMBL partnership for Molecular Medicine between EMBL and the four Nordic nodes was renewed and signed for the next ten-year period. The aim of the network is to facilitate scientific collaboration and access to infrastructure, services and training activities provided by the partners. The current speaker of the Partnership is the director of NCMM, Kjetil Taskén. His thoughts about the Partnership can be read from this recent interview.

In 2014, collaboration between EMBL and the Nordic nodes was active in all levels, from common research and infrastructure projects such as EU-OPENSCREEN, doctoral students’ joint activities to collaboration among the administrative staff.

In February, the administrative teams from each node, including persons responsible for research training and communication, visited the EMBL headquarters in Heidelberg. The aim of the visit was to learn more about the best practices of EMBL in various fields relevant for the Nordic nodes and to discuss the ways to increase the visibility of the Nordic network.

Visiting the EMBL headquarters in Heidelberg. From left to right: Sara Kangaspeska, Gretchen Repasky, Plamena Markova (EMBL), Reetta Niemelä, Mari Kaunisto.

The fifth annual network meeting was hosted by MIMS and took place at Umeå University, Aula Nordica in August. The participants of the meeting included group leaders, senior researchers, post-doctoral researchers, PhD Students and coordinators from each of the node, as well as representatives of EMBL. The programme consisted of high-quality scientific presentations, poster sessions and interesting museum visits. In addition, the Nordic EMBL Partnership Steering Committee, group leaders, coordinators and PhD students had time reserved for discussions all aiming to enhance collaboration between the nodes. Seven FIMM researchers gave oral presentations and many others presented their work through posters.

The fifth annual Nordic EMBL Partnership for Molecular Medicine network meeting took place at Umeå.

During the autumn of 2014, the Nordic nodes joined their forces and announced a joint call for recruiting new group leaders for each institute. An Evaluation Committee consisting of experts from EMBL, as well as from each of the Nordic nodes interviewed the top candidates and gave recommendations on whom to select. New group leaders are expected to start during 2015.


In 2013, FIMM joined the EU-LIFE (European Life Sciences Institutes for Excellence) network. EU-LIFE is an alliance of thirteen top research centres in life sciences to support and strengthen European research excellence. All EU-LIFE partner institutes are research centres that operate with similar principles of excellence, external reviews, independence, competitiveness, and internationality.

Partners discuss latest developments in European science policy, and produce documents for policy makers and stakeholders in life sciences. EU-LIFE has established eight working groups. FIMM has a representative in the following seven groups: strategy (working group of the directors), translational research, science communication, funding strategy, recruitment and training, IT and indicators. The working groups define and share best practice, as well as design joint activities, either for the network or for a broader community.

In 2014, EU-LIFE organized a Community Meeting with 80 participants hosted by CRG (Center for Genomic Regulation) in Barcelona in May and a Strategy Meeting gathering the Institute Directors and Working Group Chairs at the ICG (Instituto Gulbenkian de Ciência) in Oeiras, Portugal in October. Adjacent to the Community Meeting, the first EU-LIFE scientific workshop “Biology of Cancer: bridging basic and translational research” brought together basic and clinical researchers to explore and discuss new directions in cancer biology.

During the year, the EU-LIFE manager Gabrielle Bertier visited each partner institute. Furthermore, a thorough indicator survey collecting data on many indicators of scientific excellence from all partner institutes was performed. Based on the results of this survey, the number of publications per staff and the mean impact factor at FIMM were shown to be above the EU-LIFE average.

EU-LIFE Community Meeting 2014 participants.

International Agreements