The Sars International Centre for Marine Molecular Biology was created in 1997 using funds from the Research Council of Norway (NFR), the Ministry of Education and Research, and the University of Bergen.
High Technology Building
The Sars Centre is located in the modern facilities of the Bergen High Technology Centre, together with three other University of Bergen departments (Molecular Biology, Biology and Informatics). Sars Centre is a part of the University of Bergen and a partner of the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) (see Affiliations).
Sars Centre is currently organised in eight research groups, each group is headed by a non-tenure Group Leader, usually employed for 6 years. All groups are evaluated by an international advisory committee (SAC) which may recommend prolongation of the group after six years based on performance and relevance to the Sars Centre plans approved for each funding period. All groups currently appointed carry out basic research acting on the research program "comparative molecular biology of marine animals". Other programmes may be established in the future as new groups are hired. The programme is defined by the Centre's Director and the SAC and described in the contract with NFR.
Sars research includes studies of the basic biological processes in marine organisms using functional and comparative molecular methods. Developmental mechanisms and their evolution are at present the major focus of our research. Sars research currently involves studies on a variety of marine invertebrates. Marine species cannot be ignored by molecular biologists because most animal branches are predominantly or exclusively marine. However, adequate marine model systems have to be utilised or newly established, to permit genetic analysis just like in terrestrial laboratory animals.