The mission of the course is to teach interdisciplinary research in molecular biology to first-year PhD students and to familiarise them with the distinctive EMBL culture.
In interactive theoretical and practical lessons, students of diverse scientific and cultural backgrounds are brought together to become exposed to the diversity of scientific ideas that are defining new fields of integrative research.
The course encourages students to approach problems collaboratively, to complement each other's expertise and to learn how to communicate with specialists in different scientific disciplines.
The scientific content of the course reflects the research activities of the five different EMBL sites and spans the thematic units of the institute, covering topics as diverse as quantitative biology, computational biology, structural biology, cell biology, developmental biology, genetics and genomics.
In a mixture of lectures, interactive seminars and hands-on rotations through multiple laboratories at EMBL, the students are exposed to EMBL's science and culture. Key values, such as collaborative spirit, exchange of ideas, curiosity about different fields and the willingness to abandon prior beliefs where necessary, are picked up alongside the science throughout the course. Encouraged by a range of teamwork activities, the course aims to create a strong community spirit among the students, providing them with a first-hand experience of the inspiration and stimulation provided by a diverse and interactive community.
Since the basis of any kind of interaction and collaboration is efficient communication, the course also features modules that provide the language and communication skills required to address various audiences ranging from experts to lay people. Similarly, social, ethical and legal aspects of science in general and research in molecular biology in particular are discussed to encourage critical thinking among the students and to prepare them for their careers at EMBL and beyond.