40 EMBL alumni residing in Spain united at the cnic (National Centre for Cardiovascular Research) in Madrid on 8th June for the 7th annual alumni meeting.

One highlight of these meetings is the opportunity to meet EMBLers (old and new), catching up with life and science and identifying areas to support one another. On this occasion there was more on the menu with the attendance of guest speakers Iain Mattaj, EMBL Director General, Pilar Satisteban, from the Spanish Ministry of Economy and Competitiveness, and Marta Gómez Quintanilla from the EU´s R&D Framework Programme.

The focus of the meeting was therefore broadened from a purely scientific one in the first part to include funding, networking and the possibility of participating or influencing science policy in Europe. Marta Gómez Quintanilla outlined important factors to consider when aiming to influence the 7th Framework Programme research discussions, while Iain Mattaj considered how EMBL can facilitate this process for its alumni. Alumni present at the meeting concluded that the EMBL Alumni Association could have a leading role in mobilizing its members, and in coordinating their activity towards a more favorable allocation of EU biomedical research funds.

Next steps:

  • Maria dM Vivanco, Vice Chair of the EMBL Alumni Association will pursue this idea with the EMBL International Relations Office as well the EMBL Alumni Association board.
  • An e-mail summarizing the conclusions, and asking for feedback, will be sent to all members of the Alumni Association.
  • A summary of individual research interests and key words for alumni in Spain will be collected (Dropbox or similar).
  • A special meeting devoted to discussing this initiative and open to chapter representatives, individual Alumni Association members and EMBL staff, may be arranged in the near future.

“This is a medium-long term initiative that will require time and effort, but which we think will reward our investment. If we are able to build up an efficient network, its benefits will extend in the years to come, not only to increase funding opportunities, but also to improve science policy discussions in Europe”, concluded Maria dM Vivanco.

Thank you to the host, Jose Luis de la Pompa, CNIC Programme Coordinator, and the organisers Maria dM Vivanco (CIC BioGune Group Leader) and Daniel Bachiller (Fundacion Caubet-Cimera Director).