40 years of ICGEB

40 years since the establishment of the ICGEB through the signing of its Statutes at the United Nations in New York ICGEB continues to deliver on its mandate.

“In 1989 I was building my early career as a research scientist at the Imperial Cancer Research Fund in London, which was, at that time the premier research institute in the world for work on oncogenic viruses. One of the major challenges remains the desperate prevalence of cervical cancer in developing countries, where it is amongst the leading cause of cancer related death and has devastating effects on young women and their families. Around this time I was approached by Prof. Arturo Falaschi, who was in the process of establishing the ICGEB headquarters in Trieste, and who was looking for a Group Leader to work on Human Papillomaviruses. His vision for the ICGEB, and his humanity, created a lasting impression and still guides what we attempt to achieve as an Organisation.”

“The creation of a top class research institute whose primary mission was to use research to promote international global development, and help improve the lives of people in very low resource environments made and makes the ICGEB unique. No other Institute or Organisation has such a mandate to directly use its laboratories to address major global challenges.”

“Realising that I could use science to give something back to the world, and not just pursue an academic career was pivotal, as was the realisation that small actions and contributions can have a huge positive impact to make a real difference in the world. After 30 years I am just as excited about ICGEB’s mandate and mission now as I was at the outset.” 

“On the African continent, most recently, ICGEB researchers from across the three Components presented at the BIO Africa convention on Biotechnology innovation for development and security. ICGEB signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU)with Afrigen Biologics for vaccine technology development and technology transfer, while in Ethiopia, Prof. Kassahun Tesfaye ICGEB Governor and Liaison Officer, received an award on behalf of the Organisation from the Arba Minch University, for providing a grant to support research on Enset: a neglected food crop (“wild banana”), which feeds more than 20 million people in Southern Ethiopia.”

“ICGEB continues to expand operations: with a Regional Research Centre in Sri Lanka, and another Principal Investigator, Dr. Jenny Molloy recently joining the team in Trieste. In our quest for Science for Development, ICGEB continues to make an impact, and the work of our first Director-General, Prof. Arturo Falaschi, continues to inspire, with the latest International Conference in his name taking place in Trieste earlier this month, and the next edition set to take place in South Africa in October 2023.”

ICGEB strives to improve the human condition by ensuring that the sustainable development goals become a reality. During this time of massive global challenges the role of science has never been more important. At this time in particular our thoughts are with Morocco and Libya, and the critical challenges they are facing.

Dr. Alessandro Garbellini, Governor of Italy to ICGEB, on the Trieste Science System, September 2023