To stay in academia, you have to be convinced about the topic you are working on, and be sure that it’s going to motivate you for the next ten to fifteen years.” This was the message from former EMBL Monterotondo group leader Walter Witke at the ‘Where next after EMBL?’ event at EMBL Heidelberg on the morning of the summer party. “Once you’ve chosen this path, be stubborn!”

Alumni based in Germany met to catch up with old friends and present their career paths after leaving EMBL, with speakers from academia and industry giving a fascinating insight into future options and some valuable career development tips. While Walter, now professor at the University of Bonn, was speaking for the academic route, Luca Toldo, principal research scientist at Merck and former EMBL staff scientist, promoted industry. “My motivation is driven by the goal to operate in a worldwide competitive business producing meaningful benefits for patients, doctors and the scientific community,” he said.

Having been successful both in science and industry, Gábor Lamm, Managing Director of EMBLEM and former Gene Expression predoc, concluded that neither side can live without the other. “Industry creates devices for scientists, but requires their scientific input to get there,” he said, going on to present EMBLEM’s work. Matthias Hentze talked about how proud EMBL is of its relationships: with current EMBL staff on the one hand, and its alumni through the Alumni Association on the other. He pointed out that the large staff presence amongst the fifty participants on the day was a direct result of the increasing efforts by the association to include staff in their activities, projects and services as early as possible.

Other speakers on the day were Werner Kühlbrandt, Director of the MPI for Biophysics in Frankfurt and former EMBL group leader and senior scientist, who’s also chair of the Scientific Advisory Committee, Daniel Forler from Bayer Schering Pharma AG and Pavel Tomancak (see below).

The Alumni Association would like to thank all the speakers for their excellent contribution to this event.

Overview of all local chapter meetings in Germany