11.06.2018 change 11.06.2018

The Sejm in favour of Poland`s full membership in EMBL

Photo: Fotolia Photo: Fotolia

The Sejm voted in favour of Poland`s full membership in the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL). MPs passed the law ratifying the agreement establishing the EMBL.

The Sejm passed the law on the ratification of the agreement establishing the European Molecular Biology Laboratory concluded at Geneva on 10 May 1973.

433 deputies voted in favour of the bill, no one was against and one MP abstained.

This opens the way for Poland to becoming a full member of the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) - an international research organization of European countries. The main objectives of the EMBL activity are to conduct scientific research in the field of molecular biology, train scientific staff at all levels, provide scientific services to Member States and actively engage in technology transfer. Many EMBL research groups have received prestigious European Research Council (ERC) grants.

Poland has the status of a prospective member of the organization since 2014.

"Full membership gives us the opportunity to influence decisions on strategic directions of development of the entire laboratory" - Deputy Minister of Science and Higher Education Piotr Dardziński said during the discussion on the bill in the Sejm. He emphasised that participation in the decision-making process would allow to plan attractive projects for Polish researchers, research institutes and universities.

Poland will initially pay a membership contribution of EUR 1.5 million per year. Ultimately, the contribution can range from 4 to 6 million euros per year.

"In the perspective of potential benefits from membership (...), this contribution seems to be adequate" - said Norbert Obrycki (OP). Among the benefits, he mentioned co-deciding on the shape of the budget and research program of the laboratory, the possibility of using research infrastructure of the laboratory by Polish scientists, as well as access to technology transfer, doctoral programs and fellowship programs for doctors.

"It will not be up to us, the lawmakers, to make proper use of this new forum. We hope that the people who manage our science, and above all the scientists themselves, will be able to appropriately use this. The contribution that we will have to pay is significant, but science requires financial investments" - added Grzegorz Długi (Kukiz `15).

Joanna Lichocka (PiS) said that although membership in the organization was "not a cheap party", it was worth participating in it. "This investment will have a direct impact on the level and development of Polish science" - she emphasised.

She also expressed the hope that eventually an EMBL laboratory would be created also in Poland.

The organization currently has laboratories in six locations in Europe. The headquarters and main laboratory are located in Heidelberg (Germany). In addition, there are also laboratories in Barcelona (Spain), Grenoble (France), Hamburg (Germany), Hinxton (United Kingdom) and Rome (Italy).

EMBL currently has 24 Member States and two non-European Associated Members: Australia and Argentina.

The bill will now proceed to the Senate. (PAP)

author: Katarzyna Florencka

kflo/ mbud/ kap/

tr. RL

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