Topping out ceremony for new Institute of Molecular Biology after EUR 100 million donation

Boehringer Ingelheim Foundation to sponsor operations of excellence center of life sciences for 10 years



The Institute of Molecular Biology (IMB) at Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU) today held its topping out ceremony. The construction was initiated by one of the largest private donations that have yet been provided to a research facility at a German university. The Boehringer Ingelheim Foundation will subsidize the scientific operations of the research center to the amount of EUR 100 million over a period of ten years. Biomedical fields such as developmental biology, molecular biology, and epigenetics will have the opportunity of doing joint research under one roof. About 180 new jobs are being created.

"The new Institute of Molecular Biology is a gratifying and clear proof that the extension of our science and research environment is not only being driven by politics but that it is also supported by the society through private donations," emphasized Doris Ahnen, Minister of Education and Science in Rhineland-Palatinate. The extraordinary commitment of the Boehringer Ingelheim Foundation and the contribution of the state of Rhineland-Palatinate, which provided a building for about EUR 50 million, are creating a center that, according to Ahnen, "will shine far beyond the boundaries of this state." The shell construction, which has already been completed, shows that the size and equipment of the new institute will comply with top international standards.

The state's Finance Minister Carsten Kühl emphasized the ambitious building plan. "The specifications stated a period of two years from concept to occupation." Once planning had started in February 2009, the groundbreaking ceremony took place in December 2009. "Since then, the building has progressed at a breathtaking speed." Kühl plans to present the building in March 2011. "In spite of an unusually hard winter, one year of construction time has been saved." Of the 26 companies contracted for the structural engineering, 25 are medium-sized companies and 14 come from the Rhine-Main area. The engineering situation looks similar: ten of the 12 companies contracted are medium-sized and five come from the Rhine-Main area.

The President of Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz, Professor Georg Krausch, is convinced that "the creation of this research institute will make the Mainz region an important center for molecular medicine. The Institute of Molecular Biology will serve as a bridge between molecular biology on the one hand and medicine on the other. Scientific synergies between the fields will supplement and strengthen the locally available know-how." The new IMB construction offers scientists exceptionally attractive working conditions and a long-term perspective.

Already in May 2010, IMB attracted a founding director of international renown: Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz Prize winner Professor Christof Niehrs. Otto Boehringer, Chairman of the Boehringer Ingelheim Foundation, is very pleased with the progress so far: "Today we celebrate another milestone in our joint undertaking. I am glad that Professor Christof Niehrs will soon be able to move into an ultramodern research building. Our special commitment to top research in Mainz – on the occasion of the 125-year anniversary of the Boehringer Ingelheim company – is now taking shape. The researchers at IMB will be well-equipped for achieving excellent results."