Board members enjoying an original Viennese Sachertorte during their coffee break 

Board members at work

Board members at the Weißer Bock, Heidelberg  

The Alumni Association held their thirteenth board meeting on 11 May 2009 at EMBL Heidelberg. This was the first meeting to be chaired by Giulio Superti-Furga, who made it all the sweeter with an original Sachertorte from Vienna!

A major item for discussion was the future of the John Kendrew Young Scientist Award. The board are very proud of the extremely high standard of applications this award has attracted since its launch in 2007, and have received praise and positive responses from EMBL staff and alumni for their support of young scientists. They unanimously agreed to offer the award beyond the three years for which it was generously funded by the EMBL Pensioner’s Association through the efforts of former Head of Human Resources Konrad Müller (1975-1995). To this end, they will launch a major fundraising campaign in autumn, dedicated to securing the future of the award. More information on this will be sent to alumni in due course.

Also of great importance was the planning for the alumni reunion of 2010, scheduled for 12-13 March. The board drafted a very attractive two-day programme and will contact alumni with invitations in the next few months.

The board were delighted to see a steep increase in membership; 96 former staff joined in the last six months, of which 15 were faculty. The largest body of alumni to join this time came from the Structural and Computational Biology Unit. To continue raising the profile of the association with EMBL staff, especially at the outstations, the board will hold the next meeting on 14 December 2009 at EMBL Hamburg.