On January 16, the European Molecular Biology Organisation (EMBO) unveiled the ten winners of the 2024 EMBO Laboratory Establishment Grant. Dr. Stephen Knox Jones Jr., a researcher at Vilnius University’s Centre for Life Sciences, is among the recipients. This EMBO funding initiative offers researchers in participating countries several years of financial support to establish and advance their research groups.
Dr. Knox Jones has been granted funding for a project focusing on the development of reliable and predictable gene editing tools. Explaining his project, he states, “In line with my team’s overall research direction, this project will concentrate on enhancing gene editing technologies, including CRISPR-Cas enzymes. We will also explore ways to edit genes that are currently beyond our reach.”
According to Dr. S. Knox Jones, the advantage of this funding extends beyond monetary support. “It also provides the opportunity to participate in the EMBO Young Investigators Network,” he says. This network, uniting young researchers globally, will offer developmental opportunities for Dr. Knox Jones’ entire team.
EMBO grants are allocated to research group leaders for three to five years. Recipients receive €50,000 annually and can apply for additional funding of up to €10,000 per year. Grant awardees become part of the EMBO Young Investigator Network, consisting of over 600 current and former EMBO Young Investigators, Installation Grant recipients, and Global Investigators. The EMBO grant not only provides financial benefits but also offers networking, mentoring, and training opportunities, along with access to the facilities of the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) in Heidelberg, Germany.
“Compared to many other sources of research funding, the EMBO programs are more flexible,” states the EMBO grant recipient. “Therefore, I plan to use these funds to expand existing research and explore new avenues. Depending on the knowledge we gain, we can easily channel these funds into the most promising areas.”
The research of the new grantees covers a wide range of biological processes, including aging, tumor biology, gut-brain axis coupling, microbiota, and gene editing tools. These new EMBO grantees will establish laboratories in various European countries, including Lithuania, Czechia, Estonia, Poland, Portugal, and Turkey.
“We are delighted to have the support of EMBO for these outstanding researchers,” says EMBO Director Fiona Watt. “We promote excellence in the life sciences across Europe and beyond, and we look forward to the new grantees contributing to this work. Their research will undoubtedly strengthen the life sciences in their respective countries and enrich our scientific community.”
This year’s grant program is backed by the Lithuanian Science Council, the Czech Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports, the Greek General Secretariat for Research and Innovation, the Hungarian Academy of Sciences, the Polish Ministry of Education and Science, the Portuguese Foundation for Science and Technology, and the Scientific and Technological Research Council of Turkey. Greece and Hungary joined the EMBO Establishment Grant Scheme in 2023.
EMBO, an organization comprising more than 1900 scientists, is dedicated to promoting excellence in the life sciences in Europe and beyond. Its objectives include supporting talented scientists at all stages of their careers, fostering the exchange of scientific information, and creating an enabling research environment. EMBO aids young scientists in developing their research, enhancing their international visibility, and ensuring their mobility. For more information, visit www.embo.org.
Based on the press release by the University of Vilnius