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Celebrating Lithuania-EMBL cooperation on life science research

EMBL DG visits Vilnius to mark start of new partnership

From left to right: Prof. Virginijus Šikšnys, Chairman of the board of the VU Life Sciences Center; Edith Heard, EMBL Director General; Plamena Markova, EMBL Head of International Relations; Prof. Gintaras Valinčius, Director of Vilnius University Life Sciences Center. Credit: VU LSC

EMBL has taken another step towards strengthening its scientific relationship with Lithuania. On Thursday 18 November 2021, Director General Edith Heard participated in the inauguration of a new partnership between EMBL and Vilnius University Life Sciences Center (VU LSC). The Center aims to improve our understanding of fundamental biological processes and disease mechanisms, helping to develop and apply novel genome editing tools. In addition to this work, the new collaboration will promote cooperation between VU LSC and other EMBL partner organisations. This will further enable the sharing of knowledge, scientific training, and services.

Speaking at the inauguration event, Professor Heard said, “Understanding how life works through basic research will be critical for addressing the challenges facing humanity. By working together with the Life Sciences Center, we can help boost knowledge of biological processes and disease mechanisms, and enable that deep understanding to bring maximum benefit across Europe. Lithuania’s membership of EMBL is helping life science expertise and training to reach more researchers, and will offer fantastic opportunities in the coming years.”

The inauguration also provided a valuable opportunity for a number of discussions and meetings, including with Dr Jurgita Šiugždinienė, Minister of Education, Science and Sports; Algimantas Markauskas, CEO of Thermo Fisher Scientific Baltics; and Professor Rimvydas Petrauskas, VU Rector.

The benefits of sharing knowledge and technology across Europe

The Vilnius University Life Sciences Center incorporates three academic branches – biochemistry, biotechnology, and biosciences. These sections take part in joint activities, utilising cutting-edge scientific research facilities. The Center offers events in the fields of life sciences, biotechnology, higher education policy, and STEM education.

The partnership with the Center represents the latest act of collaboration between EMBL and Lithuania. Having joined as a prospect member state in 2015 before becoming EMBL’s 27th full member state in summer 2019, Lithuania has both benefited from and contributed to the strength of EMBL’s research and network. In September 2020, EMBL and VU LSC signed a framework agreement, building on their complementary scientific and technological strengths.

The inauguration of the partnership with VU LSC represents the start of an exciting new chapter in the scientific relationship between Lithuania and EMBL. Speaking at the event, VU LSC Director Professor G. Valinčius said, “As institutional partners of EMBL, we have every opportunity to collaborate with EMBL scientists, to strengthen our scientific competencies and international academic reputation. Equally importantly – through the partnership – we are transferring the best practices of EMBL’s research and academic organisation and activities, gaining new knowledge to operate in the global international research and talent acquisition markets. We hope that the close partnership will help to attract international funding for VU LSC’s research, and enable it to take advantage of competitive international funding opportunities.”


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