To address the demand for continuing professional development of secondary school biology teachers EMBL launched the European Learning Laboratory for the Life Sciences (ELLS). The education facility has been created to bring secondary school teachers and students into the research lab. Exciting hands-on encounters with state-of-the-art molecular biology techniques help bridge the gap between research and schools. As an integral part of the EMBL, ELLS is located in the unique environment of one of the world’s most renowned research institutions. The EMBL has an international staff of young, energetic scientists, and is in the unique position to connect scientific expertise directly with educational outreach activities.

ELLS primary activity are its 3-day training courses for teachers called LearningLABs. These practical courses, which combine cutting-edge science with simpler activities easily transferable to the classroom, are open to small international groups of teachers. LearningLAB topics range from the study of single molecules to organism development, bioinformatics and evolution. They include science and society aspects, covering controversial issues such as genetic testing and stem cell research. Teachers also get the chance to perform simpler activities and educational games which are transferable to the classroom.

Through its multifaceted training activities – such as LearningLABs, ELLS Webinars, the EMBL Insight Lectures series, the TeachingBASE and networking opportunities such as EMBLog – ELLS provides high school science teachers with the hands-on expertise and theoretical know-how to bring concepts of molecular biology into the classroom.

ELLS is based at the main laboratory in Heidelberg. The facility welcomes external scientists to work with the ELLS' science education officers and teachers in developing new teaching material, and to learn how to implement similar programmes at their own institutions.

ELLS coordinated two externally funded projects: the EU-funded programme SET-Routes to mobilise more girls and women into SET, and iNEXT – interaktives Netzwerk für experimentelles Training, funded by the Robert Bosch Foundation, Germany.

More information on ELLS, training activities and teaching resources can be found on the ELLS teacher portal EMBLog. 

You can access EMBLog via