EMBL Australia is a life science network that supports ambitious research projects and provides access to infrastructure and training to early-career Australian scientists.

Australia is a member of the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL), Europe’s flagship life sciences institution.

The associate membership gives Australia the opportunity to internationalise our life sciences research, introduce the world’s best young researchers to new networks and tools here in Australia, and develop highly competitive research teams networked across the nation and with Europe and Asia.

Supported by the National Research Infrastructure for Australia (NCRIS) program, an Australian Government initiative, EMBL Australia is at the cutting edge of life sciences research in Australia.

EMBL Australia has:

  • a Partner Laboratory Network consisting of 16 research groups led by outstanding early-career researchers at nodes in Victoria, South Australia, New South Wales, Queensland and the ACT
  • a nationwide reach through student training programs, including a PhD course, postgraduate symposium, travel grants and PhD program
  • a national resource, EMBL Australia Bioinformatics Resource (EMBL-ABR), that provides bioinformatics support to Australian life science researchers
  • access to international linkages through EMBL and the European Bioinformatics Institute (EMBL-EBI).


EMBL Australia’s Core Program – The Partner Laboratory Network

EMBL Australia’s flagship program is its network of research groups embedded in existing research institutes and universities across the country – the EMBL Australia Partner Laboratory Network (PLN)

Following the EMBL model of providing talented young scientists with solid funding and the freedom to drive the development of ambitious new research, the PLN mentors and nurtures outstanding young scientists selected from an international pool by offering up to nine years of secure funding, enabling them to take big risks and ask big questions. (Most young researchers in Australia have at best three to four years of grant certainty. Many have less.)

Working with current and potential host institutions, the EMBL Australia secretariat is building up the PLN to create around 20 research groups across Australia.

The PLN model, together with the prestigious brand and reputation of EMBL, enables host institutions to attract the best early-career researchers – researchers who may not otherwise consider establishing their laboratory in Australia – and develop the next generation of scientific leaders by providing them:

  • the freedom to drive their own ambitious research projects in a multi-disciplinary manner
  • strong international links for collaborations
  • access to infrastructure and expertise to maximise technology investment
  • a community of like-minded leading scientists to tackle the new challenges in science together
  • use of the EMBL brand to attract high-calibre staff and students to their group and
  • access to exceptional scientific mentorship and leadership.

Our group leaders are conducting cutting-edge research, which includes: investigating the inner workings of molecules, cells and genes with the aim of improving regenerative medicine technologies; using a systems approach to comprehensively investigate metabolic processes and immune responses; using advanced imaging techniques to understand the molecular interactions underpinning key cellular processes during development and beyond; and developing the bioinformatics tools and skills required to analyse large datasets.

More information on the Partner Laboratory Network and our research.


EMBL Australia Bioinformatics Resource (EMBL-ABR)

Another significant initiative under the associate membership to EMBL, EMBL-ABR is a national resource that provides bioinformatics support to Australian life science researchers.

It was formed in collaboration with the European Bioinformatics Institute (EMBL-EBI), which also supports the resource through representation on its International Science Advisory Group.

EMBL-ABR currently consists of a hub and ten nodes, which are organised around six key areas: data, tools, compute, standards, training and platforms. The Nodes are at institutions located across Australia and the Hub is hosted by the EMBL-ABR: Melbourne Bioinformatics Node at the University of Melbourne, with Associate Professor Andrew Lonie as Director.

EMBL-ABR aims to:

  • increase Australia’s capacity to collect, integrate, analyse, exploit, share and archive the large heterogeneous data sets now part of modern life sciences research
  • contribute to the development and provision of training in data, tools and platforms to enable Australia’s life science researchers to undertake research in the age of big data
  • showcase Australian research and datasets at an international level and
  • enable engagement in international programs that create, deploy and develop best practice approaches to data management, software tools and methods, computational platforms and bioinformatics services.

More on EMBL-ABR here


EMBL Australia's Student Programs

As part of EMBL Australia’s commitment to ensuring students have access to training that gives them a head start in their scientific careers, it provides gateways for students to enhance their scientific knowledge and opportunities for collaboration through travel and networking.

Training activities include:

  • Travel grants for PhD students to attend EMBL international conferences and workshops and to visit EMBL laboratories in Germany, Italy, France, Spain and the UK
  • An annual two-week intensive PhD course
  • Opportunities for Australian PhD students to study in a fully funded PhD program at EMBL or for top international and local PhD students to complete their PhD studies within EMBL Australia groups
  • Supporting an annual student-developed symposium.


More on Australia’s associate membership of EMBL

Australia became the first associate member of the renowned EMBL in early 2008. Launched in 2010, the EMBL Australia Partner Laboratory Network set out to take full advantage of this unique affiliation, with the goal of strengthening the nation’s global position in life sciences research. Inspired by EMBL, the network adopted a research model unique to Australia that focuses on nurturing ambitious early-career researchers and building a national network to best utilise Australia’s scientific infrastructure.

Australia’s membership of EMBL creates opportunities for:

  • internationalising Australian research
  • empowering and training Australia’s best early-career researchers and future scientific leaders
  • embedding powerful new enabling tools, such as bioinformatics and systems biology, in Australian life sciences through programs run by the EMBL Australia Bioinformatics Resource (EMBL-ABR).

As an associate member, Australia has observer status in EMBL’s governing body, Australian scientists have access to EMBL’s world-class facilities, services and training programs and an array of connections to international life science researchers.