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16 December 2002

Doctoral Degree Awarded Jointly by University of Heidelberg and EMBL

University of Heidelberg and European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) sign a Memorandum of Understanding providing for a jointly awarded doctoral degree

In future, the University of Heidelberg and the European Molecular Biology Laboratory will be awarding a joint doctoral degree. Both institutions have signed a Memorandum of Understanding to this effect. As Rector Prof. Dr. Peter Hommelhoff and EMBL director-general Prof. Fotis C. Kafatos emphasised, the cooperation is to be intensified even further in the years to come.

"This project is a successful example of the cooperation between our University and a non-university scientific institution with a European reputation," said Rector Hommelhoff. The existing cooperation is now being extended to the doctoral level. The programme offers participants not only excellent research facilities but also guarantees intensive supervision for doctoral candidates. Hommelhoff: "For example, there will now be additional lectures and Journal Clubs in an interdisciplinary and international context. The progress of doctoral candidates will be assessed annually by an advisory committee made up of representatives of EMBL and the University."

The programme, said the Rector, can be justly regarded as a shining example of a joint doctoral programme combining the strengths of the two partners: excellent research conditions and the unity of research and teaching. "The University of Heidelberg intends to take this programme as a yardstick for future cooperation ventures with non-university scientific institutions, without however neglecting the fact that the right to award doctoral degrees is an essential part of our responsibilities in research and teaching. I am convinced that the participants on both sides will be successful in designing this doctoral programme." (Hommelhoff)

Kafatos: an important day for EMBL

Director-general Prof. Fotis C. Kafatos spoke of "an important day for EMBL". Germany's oldest university and the unique but relatively youthful research institute "reinforce each other's efforts to a remarkable degree". With reference to the history of the European Molecular Biology Laboratory, Kafatos recalled that the University of Heidelberg was one of the reasons for choosing Heidelberg as the site for EMBL. The result is an outstanding centre for the life sciences in Germany.

The 16 member states involved have conferred on EMBL the right to award a doctoral degree, while at the same time recommending cooperation with an outstanding national centre of scientific research for the programme leading up to it. The decision in favour of the University of Heidelberg as its German partner, said Kafatos, was taken because of its leading position in the life sciences.

The Dean of the Faculty of Biology, Prof. Dr. Thomas Rausch, referred to the role of the University in the choice of location for EMBL over 25 years ago. For many years, EMBL doctoral candidates had received their degrees from the Faculty. The new programme, he said, was a token of recognition for the long years of unofficial cooperation and would pave the way for future joint breakthroughs in scientific achievement.

Please address any inquiries to:
Dr. Michael Schwarz
Press Officer of the University of Heidelberg
phone: 06221/542310, fax: 54317

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Updated: 01.01.2003


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