The Sars International Centre for Marine Molecular Biology was created in 1997 using funds from the Research Council of Norway, 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 University of Bergen departments (Molecular Biology, Biology and Informatics). Sars Centre is a part of Uni Research A/S (University Research of Bergen, ltd.) and a partner of European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) (see Affiliations).
Sars Centre is organised in eight independent research groups and one associate group, subject to turn-over after 6 years, each group is headed by an internationally recruited Group Leader. All groups currently appointed carry out basic research acting on the research programme "comparative molecular biology of marine animals". Other programmes will be established in the future as new groups are hired. The program is defined in collaboration between the Centre's Director, Sars Scientific Advisory Committee and the Research Council of Norway.
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 involves studies on the tunicate Oikopleura dioica, the zebrafish and salmon, and two cnidarians including the sea anemone Nematostella. 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.
The Centre's scientific activity is evaluated annually by the Scientific Advisory Committee (SAC).