Boehringer Ingelheim Foundation donates EUR 50 million to further promote the life sciences at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz
Foundation supports the realignment of the Faculty of Biology and the implementation of key aspects of JGU's institutional strategy / University and state to construct state-of-the-art research building
03.05.2013The Boehringer Ingelheim Foundation is providing support for top level research at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU). The foundation will donate a total of EUR 50 million in funding over the next ten years to promote work and research specifically associated with the field of life sciences. The money will be used to finance research and research promotion in line with the institutional strategy that Mainz University had developed to submit to the 2012 Excellence Initiative by the German federal and state governments. The realignment of the Faculty of Biology, a key component of the life sciences at JGU, will therein play an important role. Internationally renowned scientists are to be appointed and support will be specifically targeted towards young researchers. At the same time, Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz plans to construct a modern Biology research building with support from the state government of Rhineland-Palatinate.
"This marks a further milestone on Mainz's route to becoming an internationally competitive hub for the life sciences and will enhance and elevate its profile in this field. Together we create conditions that will attract leading scientists to Mainz," said Otto Boehringer, Chairman of the Executive Committee of the Boehringer Ingelheim Foundation, Rhineland-Palatinate's Minister-President Malu Dreyer, and Doris Ahnen, Minister of Education, Science, Continuing Education, and Cultural Affairs of the state of Rhineland-Palatinate.
Back in 2009, the Boehringer Ingelheim Foundation donated EUR 100 million towards the establishment of the Institute of Molecular Biology (IMB) and to fund its operations for ten years. The IMB will now serve as the nucleus around which the university’s faculty of Biology will be redefined. Cooperation between the IMB, the Mainz University Medical Center, the active substance-related materials sciences and a rejuvenated JGU Faculty of Biology will allow Mainz to evolve and sustainably enhance its international role and relevance.
"With our initiative for Mainz we are further committing ourselves to providing long term support for excellent research in Germany," said Otto Boehringer. "We, the foundation family Boehringer and von Baumbach, also wish to demonstrate our strong ties to the region and how seriously we take our responsibilities toward society as a whole."
The EUR 50 million grant from the Boehringer Ingelheim Foundation means that Rhineland-Palatinate is once again the recipient of one of the largest private donations to a public university ever made in the Federal Republic of Germany. The Rhineland-Palatinate Minister-President, Malu Dreyer, is particularly pleased about the foundation's decision: "I would like to express my sincere thanks to the Boehringer Ingelheim Foundation for making this donation and thus displaying their exemplary commitment to and considerable confidence in the systematic, goal-oriented work in the sciences being undertaken at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz as well as in the scientific and research strategy of the state government. The significance of the life sciences in the context of the sciences as a whole cannot be overemphasized. It plays an important role in improving people's quality of life and thus also ensures the future sustainability of Rhineland-Palatinate. By donating the grant, the Boehringer Ingelheim Foundation is sending out a signal that will not only be recognized within the academic and scientific community but also far beyond. The state – and I am sure the university as well – will go to all lengths to justify this trust."
Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz is one of the leading research universities in Germany – with its Cluster of Excellence "Precision Physics, Fundamental Interactions and Structure of Matter" (PRISMA), the Graduate School of Excellence "Materials Science in Mainz" (MAINZ), and the nine Collaborative Research Centers funded by the German Research Foundation, of which alone four are dedicated to the life sciences.
"The distinct and nationwide eminent profile of Mainz University will be further enhanced thanks to this renewed support from the Boehringer Ingelheim Foundation, for which I wish to thank them from the bottom of my heart," said Minister of Science and Education, Doris Ahnen. As one of the core future scientific fields, the life sciences open up new prospects for humanity as a whole. "It is wonderful that one of the largest private donations ever made to a university will enable Mainz to further develop this interdisciplinary field of research that combines Medicine, Biology, Biological Chemistry, Physics, Bioinformatics, Materials Science, and other disciplines. This will make Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz even more competitive in the national and international arenas and increase the significance of Mainz as a center of science and research. But it will also contribute extensively to enhancing the standing of Rhineland-Palatinate as a hub for research and science," Doris Ahnen continued.
Professor Dr. Dr. Andreas Barner, Chairman of the Scientific Advisory Board of the Boehringer Ingelheim Foundation, added: "This new donation will help to further improve the quality of life sciences research at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz. This goal is the same as for the donation made to the Institute of Molecular Biology (IMB) in 2009. The 2009 donation has already been put to very good use as is shown by the excellent appointments to the IMB. Thus, Mainz is becoming now significantly more able to compete internationally in this area."
Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz was successful in the Excellence Initiative by the German federal and state governments with its proposals for a cluster of excellence and a graduate school of excellence. However, its institutional strategy "The Gutenberg Spirit: Moving Minds – Crossing Boundaries" was less fortunate in this regard. The grant from the Boehringer Ingelheim Foundation will enable Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz and the Rhineland-Palatinate government to implement important aspects of the institutional strategy even without federal funding through the Excellence Initiative. The central idea behind JGU's institutional strategy is the involvement of outstanding scientists in the management of the university by means of three excellence colleges: the Gutenberg Research College (GRC) and the Gutenberg Teaching Council (GTC) that promote excellence in research and teaching, together with the Gutenberg Council for Young Researchers (GYR), which is intended to provide targeted support to young researchers. "We are delighted that we will now be able to implement large parts of our institutional strategy for the project-based promotion of top level research," explained the President of Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz, Professor Dr. Georg Krausch. "In addition, the grant will support our objective of raising the international profile of the excellent research carried out at Mainz. The Boehringer Ingelheim Foundation has set the course for a story of success: in view of the numerous scientific links between the field of Biology and the already established research areas at Mainz University as well as at the Mainz University Medical Center, this grant means sustained support for top level research at our university."
The funding is flanked by university and state government support for the construction of a new building in which cutting-edge research in the life sciences will be possible and in which a large part of the JGU Faculty of Biology will be housed from 2016. In addition, a building that formerly belonged to the Max Planck Institute of Chemistry will be renovated and redesigned for use by life sciences researchers. "We will thus have workplaces adequate to meet the needs of the new professors to be appointed over the next few years and who need excellently equipped, modern laboratory facilities and scientific equipment," said the President. "The new building will be located in the vicinity of the Institute of Molecular Biology, the other natural sciences institutes, and the biomedical research institutes of the University Medical Center, so that the life sciences in Mainz will also have a very visible scientific center."
The Boehringer Ingelheim Foundation is an independent, non-profit organization committed to the promotion of the medical, biological, chemical, and pharmaceutical sciences. It was established in 1977 by Hubertus Liebrecht (1931-1991), a member of the shareholder family of the company Boehringer Ingelheim. With the "PLUS 3" Perspectives Program and the Exploration Grants, the foundation supports independent group leaders, it endows the internationally renowned Heinrich Wieland Prize as well as awards for up-and-coming scientists. In addition, the foundation has endowed EUR 100 million over a period of ten years to finance the scientific running of the Institute of Molecular Biology (IMB) which was opened in 2011 at Mainz University.