Media & PR
Binger Strasse 173
55216 Ingelheim am Rhein
Mainz/Germany, 06 February 2009 - In an extraordinary initiative, the Boehringer Ingelheim Foundation is promoting cutting-edge research at the Johannes Gutenberg University of Mainz: over a ten-year period, the Foundation is to invest a total of 100 million euro to set up and run an international centre of excellence for life sciences (working title). Rhineland-Palatinate will thus receive one of the largest private donations ever in a scientific facility at a University. Rhineland-Palatinate will be assisting in the establishment of this centre of excellence by sponsoring the construction of a new building offering top working conditions for leading researchers. The new institute will meet the international standards for cutting-edge research in terms of size and the equipment available, explained Otto Boehringer, Chairman of the Board of the Boehringer Ingelheim Foundation, and Doris Ahnen, Minister for Science in Rhineland-Palatinate.
"We are pleased that the state of Rhineland-Palatinate and the Johannes Gutenberg University regarded our idea of providing additional cutting-edge research at the University of Mainz in such a positive light and have immediately offered their support," said Otto Boehringer. "In view of the ever fiercer competition, and international rivalry to attract the "best brains" in research, we should like to support both the state and the University of Mainz in strengthening their cutting-edge research and increasing their international visibility," explained Otto Boehringer. "We, the owner families of Boehringer Ingelheim, regard our involvement as active citizenship, as our service to society. We want to make a long-term contribution. We want to strengthen and develop cutting-edge research, in Mainz and in the region as a whole, research that is visible internationally, research that will help provide solutions to key scientific and medical problems, thus helping improve the health of the population. This is another example of how to turn social responsibility into a public private partnership. And, in view of the 125th anniversary of our company Boehringer Ingelheim in 2010, it also confirms our family`s roots in this region to which we feel deeply committed."
Kurt Beck, Minister-President of Rhineland-Palatinate, was delighted about the decision of the Foundation: "I am so proud and thankful that the Boehringer Ingelheim Foundation has decided to make such an extraordinary investment in a scientific facility in Rhineland-Palatinate. This is an enormous step forward for Rhineland-Palatinate, allowing us to consolidate our reputation as a viable location for scientific medical research of international standing." A private commitment of this nature attests to foresight and a marked sense of responsibility for the common good.
Doris Ahnen, Minister for Education, Science, Youth and Culture is convinced that a centre of excellence for life sciences at the Johannes Gutenberg University of Mainz will represent a milestone in our scientific landscape. "Mainz University is already one of the top research universities in Germany with eleven Collaborative Research Centres, five of which are in the field of life sciences. This role will be strengthened long term through the generous support of the Boehringer Ingelheim Foundation."
For Dr Andreas Barner, Chairman of the Board of Managing Directors of Boehringer Ingelheim, the initiative is an opportunity for Mainz as a scientific hub. "The planned centre of excellence will enable Mainz to boost its image as a centre of research and will offer a highly attractive scientific environment for newly recruited scientists. With their initiative, the descendants of Albert Boehringer, founder of the company, are making a further contribution to research, paving the way for the development of excellent, internationally-oriented basic research in Mainz."
The Institute will bridge the gap between substance-oriented material science on the one hand and medicine on the other; through scientific synergies between the disciplines it will supplement and consolidate the existing know-how, emphasized Prof. Dr. Georg Krausch, President of the Johannes Gutenberg University of Mainz.
While the Boehringer Ingelheim Foundation will guarantee the general operation of the centre of excellence over ten years with a total investment of 100 million euro, the state of Rhineland-Palatinate will provide around 30 million euro to finance a new building to house state-of-the-art research facilities with a net internal floor area of some 6,000 m. The building will be constructed in two phases; according to the plans for the first phase, the building should be ready for occupation by 1 January 2011. The centre of excellence will most probably be set up by the Johannes Gutenberg University in the form of a legally independent non-profit-making company with limited liability (gGmbH) that will be administrated by the University. Both the University and the Foundation initially plan to appoint two or three internationally renowned researchers who will shape the development of the centre and attract excellent young researchers from all over the world to Mainz," continued Otto Boehringer. Up to three scientific departments are planned, each with its own director, and up to six independent groups of young scientists. The top researchers are to be appointed as professors or associate professors from the University of Mainz, but will be exempted from their teaching duties to concentrate on their work at the Institute.
It is particularly gratifying, in both scientific and commercial terms, that the establishment of the centre of excellence will generate 100 new jobs, both in research and non-academic functions.
The Chairman of the Board of the Foundation, Otto Boehringer, Minister President Kurt Beck, Minister for Science, Doris Ahnen and the President of the University, Prof. Dr. Georg Krausch, are all confident that the choice of Mainz as a location could not have been better given the numerous academic links with the University`s main fields of research and its medical faculties, institutes and clinics. The way has been paved for success - for science, but also for the people in the region. Ultimately, the life sciences are all about how to live better in future.
Boehringer Ingelheim Foundation
The purpose of the non-profit-making Boehringer Ingelheim Foundation is the "...exclusive and immediate promotion of medical, biological, chemical and pharmaceutical science..." The Foundation was established in 1977 by Hubertus Liebrecht (1931-1991), former shareholder of the Boehringer Ingelheim Corporation. Since 1995, it has been sponsoring the Boehringer Ingelheim Prize which is awarded every year by the Faculty of Medicine of Mainz University for outstanding research in clinical and theoretical medicine. It supports research projects in medicine, chemistry, pharmacy and biology throughout Germany and is one of the first institutions to offer young scientists in Germany the opportunity to build up an independent research group. The Foundation also provided considerable support for the foundation of the Human Genetics Institute at Mainz University. It also sponsors prizes for academic papers (doctoral theses) for the promotion of young researchers in medicine, pharmacy and chemistry at the University of Mainz. Mainz University has already benefited from the Boehringer Ingelheim Foundation support programmes in the past.