50 Years of FEBS
FEBS celebrated its 50th anniversary in 2014!
Our 50th anniversary projects and celebrations included: two FEBS 50th Anniversary Books ('FEBS at 50: half a century promoting the molecular life sciences' and 'Fifty Years of FEBS – A Memoir 1964 to 2013'); the FEBS–EMBO 2014 Conference, hosted by The French Society for Biochemistry and Molecular Biology (SFBBM) in Paris, and celebrating the 50th anniversaries of FEBS and EMBO as well as the centenary of SFBBM; FEBS 50th Anniversary Virtual Issues (top-cited FEBS Letters and The FEBS Journal articles over the past 50 years from authors in different countries of the FEBS area, selected during 2014 by several of our Constituent Societies); and '50 years of FEBS Education Training Awards'.
More details on the anniversary activities can be found in issues of FEBS News, including reports on the FEBS–EMBO 2014 Conference (November 2014 issue of FEBS News) and the '50 Years of FEBS' Education Training Awards (October 2015 issue of FEBS News). The FEBS 50th Anniversary Virtual Issues (from Austria, Belgium, Croatia, France, Germany, Hungary, Israel, Norway, Portugal, Slovenia and Spain) were introduced in the July 2014 issue of FEBS News and displayed on the FEBS website until the end of 2015; if you now require details about a particular Virtual Issue, please contact the webmaster.
January 2014: A short introduction to the development of FEBS 1964–2014
The Federation of European Biochemical Societies (FEBS) came into official existence on 1 January 1964, with the main initial goal of facilitating intra-European meetings in biochemistry. FEBS was to provide a formal framework for this purpose that built on informal contacts and collaborations between biochemical societies in some European countries in the preceding few years. The first FEBS scientific meeting was held in March 1964 in London, with a truly international mix of speakers and over 1000 attendees. The early annual ‘meetings’ eventually became the current annual FEBS Congresses.
However, the need for additional activities to support biochemistry and biochemists, and encourage collaboration and information exchange between scientists working in different countries in Europe, in particular across the serious political boundaries in existence for much of the second half of the 20th century, was soon apparent. Hence, it was not long before FEBS had added summer schools (later called Advanced Courses) and, crucially, scientific publishing into its portfolio. In the 50 years since 1964, the dynamism and devotion of a succession of scientists working for FEBS on a voluntary basis, and careful management of income from its journals, has seen the range of activities of FEBS diversify further, with a prestigious Fellowships programme for research and training begun in 1979, and initiatives such as the Young Scientists’ Forum, undergraduate and postgraduate education workshops, science and society workshops, promoting women in science, and assistance to Central and Eastern Europe starting around the turn of the century. The number of Constituent Societies of FEBS – the biochemistry and molecular biology societies in individual countries in Europe and neighbouring regions for which FEBS acts as an umbrella organization – also increased dramatically from the initial 18 to over 40 in the early 2000s as the Soviet Union, Yugoslavia and Czechoslovakia split into independent states, and FEBS’ area of interest extended to neighbouring regions of Europe.
Since 1964, FEBS has witnessed huge changes in science and in Europe. To mention just some of its many responses to this, our Federation has developed from its biochemistry roots to embrace the full spectrum of modern molecular life science research, played an important role in supporting and integrating biosciences and scientists from Central and Eastern European countries through times of great political upheaval, launched open access publishing options, and has an increasingly global outlook.