In 2000, FEBS realized the necessity for improving assistance to biochemical and related sciences in Central and Eastern European (CEE) countries. FEBS thought that biochemistry and molecular biology was in real danger in some countries due to (1) lack of governmental financial resources and (2) the continuous drain of highly qualified biochemists to Western European and North American laboratories. Therefore, FEBS established a Working Group for exploring ways to assist biochemists in CEE countries. In 2011 this working group was named the Working Group on Integration (WGI; formerly known as the Working Group on Assistance to Central and Eastern Europe, WOGCEE). The terms of reference of WGI are given in the FEBS ByLaws.
Since its constitution, WGI has visited several national biochemical and molecular biology societies, laboratories and institutes in CEE countries, where WGI members have met scientists, students, and high-level politicians responsible for science and education. The message of WGI conveyed at these visits is that it is vital to develop basic research and to invest in scientific infrastructure in order to prevent brain drain. Moreover, WGI has emphasized that good higher education is not possible without good research. These visits have enabled us to find out the most urgent problems, and some of these have been addressed by FEBS afterwards (e.g. access to electronic literature, special travel and workshop funds, laboratory equipment). Besides official visits to FEBS Constituent Societies in CEE countries, WGI cooperates with other Working Groups and Committees of FEBS, and promotes European networking during FEBS courses/workshops and Congresses.
The work of the FEBS WGI is reported to FEBS Council and in the WGI appendix of the FEBS Annual Report. Occasional reports also appear in FEBS News.
For members of the WGI, scroll to the section on FEBS Working Groups on the webpage 'Other FEBS Committees and Working Groups'. Queries can be sent to the Chair, Prof. Jerka Dumić, via the via the Contact Us section of the website.