Fostering Molecular Medicine Researchers: The Nordic EMBL Partnership Explores New Initiatives to Strengthen Research in the Nordics

The Swedish node in Umeå hosted the Nordic EMBL Partnership Coordination and Operations team for two days to boost collaboration and kickoff initiatives in connection to the Partnership’s new postdoctoral program, NORPOD.

Nordic EMBL Partnership Coordination and Operations team members in Granö, northern Sweden, February 2024.
Nordic EMBL Partnership Coordination and Operations team members in Granö, northern Sweden, February 2024.

Members of the Nordic EMBL Coordination and Operations team gathered for a meeting in Umeå, home of The Laboratory for Molecular Infection Medicine Sweden (MIMS). The location and timing of the meeting delivered a true winter experience with big snow, cold temperatures and heated discussions on the potential of new Nordic EMBL initiatives.

The meeting’s first day took the participants to Granö Beckasin, tucked away deep in the forest in northern Sweden. After a warm welcome, the team turned to communications strategy, its impact, and recruitment and onboarding of new personnel, particularly of group leaders. They shared recent experiences and identified what the nodes can learn from each other and potentially implement to enhance the success of recruiting talented international researchers, and to make their onboarding an even smoother process.

The team also looked into the future, turning their attention to the upcoming Nordic EMBL Partnership meeting on 16-19 September, hosted by the Norwegian node, NCMM, in Oslo. They also discussed the current state of the meeting in 2025, which will be organised by EMBL at the end of March, open for all EMBL partnerships to participate. 

The meeting on the first day, however, focused mainly on the new NORPOD programme - A collaborative postdoc program of the Nordic EMBL Partnership for Molecular Medicine, launched earlier this year. 

As the program approaches the stage of soon announcing the opening of the first round of postdoctoral positions, the Nordic EMBL Coordination and Operations team is occupied with concluding the necessary coordination procedures. 

NORPOD necessitates collaborative efforts among management, support teams, and prospective NORPOD postdoctoral researchers. These researchers will have an exceptional chance to work under the guidance of two Nordic EMBL group leaders and conduct their research at the respective nodes where these group leaders are based. The NORPOD programme is financed by NordForsk and the host universities of the nodes, and it is modelled on the successful EMBL-led international postdoc programme; EIPOD.

The second day of the Nordic EMBL Coordination and Operations team meeting allowed the participants to discuss the previous day’s topics more in-depth, to then introduce the team to some of the ongoing research projects at MIMS. Anne-Marie Fors Connolly, MIMS Clinical Research Fellow, Lars-Anders Carlsson, MIMS Investigator, and Björn Schröder, MIMS Group Leader gave presentations on COVID-19 associated risks for blood clots and bleeding, structural studies on adenoviruses, and gut microbiome and the effects of Western diet, respectively. There was also an opportunity to visit the insectary, containing the mosquitoes used for malaria research at MIMS, guided by two young researchers from the malaria research groups; Sophia Hernandez and Arjun Balakrishnan


“It was a wonderful meeting and programme! For me as someone who recently joined the Nordic EMBL Partnership, it was very informative and I really appreciated meeting everyone.” Marie Goua, Section manager, NCMM

"Meeting in person makes it much easier to have in-depth discussions and brainstorming sessions, and it is also fun to have the opportunity for just chatting freely with your Nordic colleagues during the breaks in the programme. As one of the organisers, I enjoyed showing the wintery wonderland of Umeå and northern Sweden to everyone!" Sonja Viljamaa, Project coordinator, MIMS
“Our annual meetings with our Nordic colleagues help us to share common practices and benefit from each other’s experiences. This year, among other topics and fun activities, we focused on implementing our new postdoctoral program that will connect our nodes and researchers even more in the future.” Dominik Fischer, Science manager, MIMS

“I think that we have a very supportive environment together, which is important for strengthening the partnership. I also really enjoyed the group leaders’ presentations, they were very interesting!” Nikoline L. Rasmussen, Communications advisor, NCMM


The annual Coordination and Operations team meetings provide the opportunity for the four Nordic nodes; NCMM, DANDRITE, FIMM and MIMS; and EMBL to meet in-person and strengthen the bond with each other for the benefit of the whole partnership. This year’s meeting was very productive, and the team is looking forward to the next one hosted by our Finnish node.