Back row: Jens Nielson, Des Higgins, John Morrissey, Sally Cudmore, Jez Simpson, Matthias Wilm.
Front row: Juan Pablo Labrador, Sinead O’Brien, Eileen Furlong, Emmanuel Reynaud, Iain Mattaj, Frank Gannon, Chris Creevey, Dónal O’Carroll 

The first ever EMBL local chapter meeting in Ireland was hosted by the Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) on 24 February and attracted alumni from academia, industry and government alike. Former EMBO Director Frank Gannon, EMBL DG Iain Mattaj and EMBL group leaders Eileen Furlong and Dónal O’Carroll were in attendance. The participants were keen to discuss how scientific links between EMBL and Ireland can be improved, and Iain promised EMBL support for the future activities of the chapter. In turn, alumni offered to promote the EMBL PhD and postdoctoral programmes and courses and conferences at their institutes, and to look into the development of a ‘mentor’ network for future EMBL alumni coming to Ireland.

Jez Simpson, Professor at University College Dublin and former EMBL Scientific Project Manager in the Pepperkok group, and John Morrissey, Lecturer and Principal Investigator at University College Cork and former EMBL predoc in the Tollervey group, were elected as co-chairs to run the local chapter. Goals include developing closer ties with the EMBL community, in particular EMBO Members and Irish council delegates.

In the afternoon, the EMBL representatives and alumni attended an open meeting to showcase EMBL to the wider scientific community in Ireland, ‘Bringing the Excellence of EMBL to Ireland’. Eileen, Dónal, Jez and alumnus Emmanuel Reynaud, now at University College Dublin, presented talks on research at EMBL and in Ireland to the audience of scientists from institutions across the country. Tanya Mulcahy from University College Cork, the Irish partner University for the EMBL PhD programme, reviewed links between the EMBL PhD programme and Ireland. The Irish Minister for Science, Technology and Innovation, Conor Lenihan TD, joined the conference in the afternoon, and indicated a commitment to supporting scientific research, giving grounds for optimism for the future of science in the country.

The next Irish local chapter meeting is planned for early 2011.

John Morrissey

Frank Gannon attending the Irish chapter meeting