Champagne celebrations, courtesy of Daniel Louvard


Cameron Mackereth

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A first task for Cameron after becoming a group leader at the IECB (Institut Européen de Chimie et Biologie) Bordeaux was to identify the networks available to him. “Local NMR resources were quick to find, but I needed a larger NMR spectrometer,” Cameron explains. “The answer was a national network of shared equipment for NMR – TGIR-RMN – comprising nine NMR spectrometers in six French cities.”

The process got Cameron thinking: could the EMBL alumni network act as a similar resource? With this in mind he called a meeting of alumni in France, dedicated to grants, networks and resources. Daniel Louvard, Director of the Institut Curie in Paris and former EMBL group leader, was quick to offer support, agreeing to host the meeting at his institute on 7 June.

Cameron posed two questions: what’s the best way to facilitate searches for available expertise or equipment within the alumni network? In the context of multidisciplinary grants, how can alumni identify potential partners? The answer: the alumni members’ directory. This facility enables the EMBL community (staff and registered alumni) to find one another not just by name, nationality, affiliation or location, but also according to research interests and expertise. The next step is to incorporate fields for equipment and publications.

The meeting was stimulating on all fronts. Daniel provided an overview not only of the Institut Curie, but also of the early EMBL days. EMBL Grenoble group leader Ramesh Pillai presented the latest developments and resources at EMBL, together with his own research. Guntram Bauer, Director of Scientific Affairs and Communication at the Human Frontier Science Program (HFSP), gave helpful insights into the dos and don’ts of HSFP grant applications, while Damien Salauze, Technology Transfer Office Director at the Institut Curie, discussed industry collaborations and patenting issues.

“This was a truly international and friendly meeting, with EMBL alumni representing a wide range of research areas and laboratories in France,” says host Daniel. “It was a very stimulating experience, to be repeated.”