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New alliance for European excellence and competitiveness in life sciences

May 28th, 2013
Tomorrow, at the Centre for Genomic Regulation (CRG), in Barcelona, directors and staff from ten top European research institutes will kick off a new alliance, called EU-LIFE, that will promote European research. The mission of EU-LIFE is to foster excellence, share knowledge, and influence policies in life sciences. Partners in EU-LIFE are renowned research centers that operate with similar principles of excellence, external reviews, independence, competiveness, and internationality. During difficult economic times and within a highly competitive international research landscape, they believe that they can join forces to better address complex questions, thereby contributing to pushing European science forward.

Why are we often not able to attract top students from the US? Why do many of our junior talents leave to other continents and don't return?", reflects Luis Serrano, director of the Centre for Genomics Regulation (CRG, Spain) and one of the co-founders of this initiative. "There are many excellent research institutes in Europe. By increasing our international visibility through EU-LIFE, we aim to raise awareness for European science. Instead of working independently, we want to coordinate our efforts to create added value for Europe. We envision, for example, to agree on common standards for Ph.D. and postdoctoral recruitment and training programmes, and to organize joint scientific events for young scientists.

During the official launch of EU-LIFE tomorrow, at the CRG, Fabienne Gautier, Head of Unit of the European Research Area at the European Commission, will discuss how a network like EU-LIFE can be a key player in fostering European excellence and competitiveness in research. During the meeting, more than 60 EU-LIFE members will actively work to define concrete actions needed to reach their ambitious goals. Specific working groups will brainstorm, share best practice, and design joint activities in technology transfer, international collaboration, translational research, science communication, competitive funding, recruitment, and training. The meeting will be an intensive and rewarding exercise to start building ties across institutes, countries, cultures, and areas of expertise.

Current partners of this association are the co-leaders CRG and VIB (Belgium), the Institut Curie (France), the Netherlands Cancer Institute (Netherlands), the Max Delbrück Center for Molecular Medicine; MDC, Berlin-Buch (Germany), Istituto Europeo di Oncologia (Italy), Instituto Gulbenkian de Ciência (Portugal), the CeMM Research Center for Molecular Medicine of the Austrian Academy of Sciences (Austria), CEITEC (Czech Republic), and the Institute for Molecular Medicine Finland (Finland).

Provided by VIB (the Flanders Institute for Biotechnology)

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