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Europe backs its future leaders in biomedicine

The EU’s Horizon 2020 Programme has awarded EUR 500,000 to the project “European Academy for Biomedical Science” (ENABLE) to allow young scientists organise a new format of international symposia designed to strengthen their future. In 2017, Barcelona will host the first ENABLE conference. This event will be followed by annual events in Copenhagen (2018), Nijmegen (2019), and Milan (2020). The cities correspond to the seats of the research centres that participate in ENABLE.

From July 2016 until 2020, four European cities, namely Barcelona (Spain), Copenhagen (Denmark), Nijmegen (the Netherlands) and Milan (Italy), will host (one each year) a 3-day international symposium on biomedicine organised by and for young biomedical scientists. Entitled EuropeaN Academy for BiomedicaL SciencE (ENABLE) and coordinated by the Institute for Research in Biomedicine (IRB Barcelona), this project has received EUR 500,000 euros through the Science with and for Society, “Celebrating European Science” section of the EU’s Horizon 2020 Programme. The main aim of ENABLE is to provide training opportunities for the next generation of leading European scientists working in biomedicine, to set up a network of young researchers that is sustainable beyond 2020, and to engage in active dialogue with society. The following European centres participate in ENABLE: the Institute for Research in Biomedicine (IRB Barcelona); the Radboud Institute for Molecular Life Sciences (RIMLS) in Nijmegen, the Netherlands; the Novo Nordisk Foundation Center for Protein Research (CPR) in Copenhagen, Denmark; and the European School of Molecular Medicine (SEMM), in Milan, Italy. The fifth partner involved in the project is Scienseed. Based in Madrid, this company specialises in science communication, and it is at the forefront of public outreach activities in biomedicine—a topic that carries particular importance in the ENABLE project. “It is inspiring and I feel fortunate to be part of ENABLE,” says Anita Riplinger, a PhD student at CPR, one of the members of the first organising committee of the 2017 event in Barcelona. “What I really love about ENABLE is that it emphasises and fosters the distinct facets of scientists: research excellence, knowledge exchange, and social responsibility”. How are future leaders trained? The ENABLE gatherings will bring together renowned leading scientists, PhD students and postdoctoral fellows from around the world in a European setting. The events will provide a forum in which to discuss the most interesting scientific breakthroughs and cutting-edge techniques, with the view to further discoveries in biomedicine and personalised medicine. Each ENABLE symposium will also organise activities and workshops related to scientific careers, covering the essential skills needed by a scientist, as well as showcase employment opportunities in Europe. Finally, ENABLE will engage the public through outreach activities aimed at society at large, and relevant patient stakeholders. In addition, special attention will be given to primary and secondary school students, with the aim to stimulate interest in research careers. Each symposium will have an organising committee formed by PhD students and postdoctoral fellows belonging to the participating centres, and work will start on event preparations at least one year ahead. The ENABLE project will be officially presented in Barcelona this autumn, coinciding with the annual retreat organised by PhD students at IRB Barcelona. This gathering seeks to bring together young scientists from the four centres to discuss the science done in each and to plan the first ENABLE symposium, which will be held in Barcelona in November 2017. Joan J. Guinovart, director of IRB Barcelona, emphasizes that, “ENABLE provides an excellent opportunity to present the potential of Europe in biomedicine and of Barcelona as a hub in this field, thus emphasising its growing importance in producing and attracting future scientific leaders”.


ENABLE, Horizon2020, Biology, LifeSciences, Training, Education, PublicEngagement, Science


Denmark, Spain, Italy, Netherlands