The European Molecular Biology Laboratory [EMBL] is an international research organisation with its main laboratory in Heidelberg [Germany], and four outstations in Hinxton, [UK] [the European Bioinformatics Institute, EBI], Grenoble [France], Hamburg [Germany], and Monterotondo [Italy]. The main laboratory in Heidelberg was inaugurated in 1978 as the first EMBL facility dedicated to basic molecular biology research, technology development, service provision and advanced training. Today more than 750 staff members are working at EMBL Heidelberg in five research units [Cell Biology and Biophysics, Developmental Biology, Gene Expression, Structural and Computational Biology and Directors' Research] Research at EMBL emphasizes experimental analysis at multiple levels of biological organisation, from the molecule to the organism, as well as computational biology, bioinformatics and systems biology. Research is supported by the development of enabling technologies that are made available to the scientific community in core facilities like for e.g. genomics, electron microscopy, advanced light microscopy, and proteomics. Many scientific breakthroughs have been made at EMBL Heidelberg, most notably the first systematic genetic analysis of embryonic development in the fruit fly by Christiane Nüsslein-Volhard and Erich Wieschaus, for which they were awarded the Nobel Prize for Medicine in 1995. Outstanding training is available at multiple levels: predoctoral students, postdocs and visiting scientists are provided with exceptional training opportunities. Many courses, conferences and workshops are organised in collaboration with EMBL's sister organisation, the European Molecular Biology Organisation [EMBO]. Young scientists are trained at EMBL for a limited time before the majority of them move back to their home countries. As a result of its unique turnover policy, EMBL has become the major advanced training centre for molecular biology in Europe.