Start of building operations for Institute of Molecular Biology marked by ground-breaking ceremony

State government and Boehringer Ingelheim Foundation promote state-of-the-art research at Mainz University

07.12.2009

The state government of Rhineland-Palatinate, Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU), and the Boehringer Ingelheim Foundation jointly celebrate the start of building operations for the new Institute of Molecular Biology (IMB). The Minister of Science for Rhineland-Palatinate, Doris Ahnen, the Finance Minister, Dr. Carsten Kühl, University President Professor Georg Krausch together with Otto Boehringer, Chairman of the Executive Board of the Boehringer Ingelheim Foundation and Professor Andreas Barner, Chairman of the Scientic Advisory Board of the Boehringer Ingelheim Foundation, jointly performed the ground-breaking ceremony for the planned institution. In early February 2009 they had announced that they intended to establish an excellence center for life sciences at Mainz University, to be sponsored by the Boehringer Ingelheim Foundation to the amount of EUR 100 million. The state of Rhineland-Palatinate is to contribute about EUR 50 million towards the construction of the state-of-the-art research building in order to ensure top-quality working and research conditions.

The Boehringer Ingelheim Foundation has undertaken to set aside EUR 100 million over a period of 10 years to finance the scientific operations of the new Institute of Molecular Biology. This represents one of the largest private donations ever provided for a scientific institution at a German university. "We are today creating a visible symbol of our solidarity with the region. Our commitment is designed to provide long-term support to Mainz as a center for science and to contribute towards ensuring excellent research conditions in view of the forthcoming 125th anniversary of the Boehringer Ingelheim company," said Professor Andreas Barner.

"Today's ground-breaking ceremony marks the creation of a landmark in our scientific environment. By initiating the construction of the new research building, the state of Rhineland-Palatinate is both expressing its gratitude for the exceptional commitment of the Boehringer Ingelheim Foundation and making its own contribution towards promoting the state as a university, science, and research location over the long term. The size of the center and its facilities will make it one of the leading international research hubs and will attract top scientists and researchers to Mainz. Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz has the perfect prerequisites for establishing such a center of excellence," emphasized Science Minister Doris Ahnen.

Minister of Finance and Construction Dr. Carsten Kühl explained that "exceptional dedication has been the result of the exceptional input here. The remarkable outcome: the excavators are already at work – only ten months after the first negotiations." The very ambitious time schedule requires more than just determined commitment on the part of all participants. The building is to be ready for use by early 2011. "That is less than two years from concept to occupation. Given the fact that this is a highly specialized laboratory building, this constitutes an extraordinary performance with regard to construction," concluded Kühl.

There are to be two construction phases: the first phase should be ready for occupation in late 2010. The research building will provide a total of 6,297 square meters main floor space, with seminar and meeting rooms, a large auditorium, an extensive laboratory area, and general offices. The university expects approximately 100 new jobs to be created at the new Institute of Molecular Biology.

At IMB, various biomedical disciplines such as cell biology, genetics, and biochemistry will be combined under one roof. Thanks to this potential for interdisciplinary cooperation, researchers will be in the position to compete at the very peak of international science. "The creation of the Institute of Molecular Biology will establish the science hub Mainz as an internationally relevant center for molecular medicine. The institute will provide a bridging function between the active agent-orientated material sciences and medicine, while at the same time extending and strengthening the know-how available onsite by creating scientific synergies between the disciplines. In view of the many already existing scientific links with research centers at the university as well as with the University Medical Center, the location in Mainz could hardly be better," said Professor Georg Krausch, President of Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz.

Otto Boehringer, Chairman of the Executive Board of the Boehringer Ingelheim Foundation, thanked Mainz University and the state of Rhineland-Palatinate for their excellent support: "The rapid and productive coordination of the construction and financial aspects of the planned Institute of Molecular Biology is a shining example of the success that can be achieved through a public-private partnership. I want to thank all those concerned for the excellent collaboration and wish IMB every success for the future."

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. Through its PLUS 3 Perspectives Program and Exploration Grants, the foundation supports independent group leaders; it also endows the internationally renowned Heinrich Wieland Prize as well as awards for up-and-coming scientists. The foundation has granted EUR 100 million over a period of ten years to finance the scientific activities of the Institute of Molecular Biology (IMB) at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz.