EMBL has a long-standing tradition of scientific excellence that builds on highly interactive research Units and takes pride in the level of collaborative work engaged in by its Groups and Teams, involving both EMBL-internal and external collaborators. Collaborative research promotes interdisciplinarity and increases the level of interaction between EMBL Units and between EMBL scientists and the scientific communities of the member states. Various formal and informal mechanisms for promoting cross-Unit collaboration exist within EMBL. Among the most important are joint appointments.
Joint appointments affiliate Group and Team Leaders (GTLs) simultaneously with two EMBL research Units. Joint appointment may either be granted on initial recruitment, if a high level of interaction with a second EMBL Unit is to be expected, or happen at a later point during the appointee’s time at EMBL if such interactions develop. Joint appointments foster scientific exchange and interdisciplinary collaboration between Units and often lead to the transfer of knowhow or techniques to novel scientific contexts.
GTLs with joint appointments pursue a research interest and contribute knowledge and skills relevant to two Units and themselves benefit from regular exposure to the expertise of the members of both Units. They are encouraged to attend retreats organized by both Units and, where feasible, faculty meetings of both Units. In the case of joint appointments between two different EMBL sites, it is expected that they themselves and their team members regularly visit the second Unit of affiliation and regularly accept visitors from their second Unit. GTLs with joint appointments should actively encourage cross-Unit collaboration within and beyond their groups and act as role models for young researchers.
Formally, joint appointees have Units of primary and secondary affiliation. The Unit of primary affiliation is responsible for the provision of support (financial, space, equipment, etc) to the same level as that provided to other GTLs in the Unit. Occasionally, the Unit of secondary affiliation may also decide to provide research space and dedicated financial or equipment support on an ad hoc basis.