HHMI and EMBO are offering start-up grants to encourage Central Europe's most promising scientists to come home.

The Howard Hughes Medical Institute and the European Molecular Biology Organization want Central Europe's most promising scientists to come home. To help them establish their first independent laboratories in Europe, HHMI and EMBO are offering three-year start-up grants of $75,000 U.S. annually. The new grants spring from a joint initiative of HHMI, EMBO, and Central European member-countries, including Croatia, Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Poland, and Slovenia. EMBO is a nonprofit organization that promotes the biosciences in Europe through programs such as fellowships, courses, workshops, and its Young Investigator activities. “HHMI believes it is essential that fresh new scientists with fresh new ideas start independent careers with sufficient resources to become competitive in the global world of contemporary science," said Peter J. Bruns, Institute vice president for grants and special programs. “By resources, we mean more than money; we mean equipment, supplies, personnel, space, and time. This partnership among HHMI, EMBO, member countries, and local institutions, with each recognizing the special needs and each contributing unique resources, should make a significant difference." HHMI will contribute $50,000 a year for up to six grants. Another $25,000 a year per grant will come from the participating member countries. EMBO will administer the start-up grants as part of its Young Investigator Programme, which has been identifying and supporting exceptional young scientists in Europe since 2000. In addition to financial support, a key element of the HHMI-EMBO start-up grants is a guarantee of continuing career opportunities for grant recipients. Applicant institutions are being asked to make a commitment to ongoing support of the scientists who receive start-up grants. A competition for the awards opens this week. Scientists must apply jointly with research institutes in the countries where they intend to establish labs. The application deadline is August 1, 2005. Further information and applications can be found at: . EMBO and HHMI hope to strengthen the science base in Central Europe by offering independent young scientists the resources they need to get started and assurance of continued support, said Frank Gannon, executive director of EMBO. “EMBO's involvement in this initiative represents its continued commitment to supporting countries throughout Europe that wish to develop and enhance their science base." The new initiative builds on HHMI-EMBO grants awarded in 2002 to help scientists in the Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland early in their independent careers. That program was designed to strengthen the scientific pipeline in countries that belong to EMBO where HHMI funds international research scholars. Through its international scholars program, HHMI supports outstanding non-U.S. scientists who are contributing significantly to the understanding of basic biological processes or disease mechanisms. Grants are awarded through competitions for scientists working in specific countries or specific research areas. Since 1995, HHMI has awarded nearly $29 million in grants to leading scientists in the Baltics, Eastern and Central Europe, Russia and Ukraine. The support is part of the Institute's commitment to scientific excellence as a global enterprise.

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Jim Keeley 301-215-8858