Germany breaks ground on state-of-the-art European research centre for international biology cooperation

October 26, 2006

Brussels, 25 October 2006

Construction recently began on the Advanced Training Centre (ATC), an initiative undertaken by several European countries to provide young researchers with cutting-edge facilities to carry out their work in life sciences. The Centre is located on the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) campus in Heidelberg, Germany, and is the result of the combined efforts of The German Ministry for Education and Research (BMBF), the Klaus Tschira Foundation, the federal state of Baden-Württemberg and the EMBL member states.

EMBL Director General Iain Mattaj sees the Advanced Training Centre as an important step in making Europe a world class centre for research. "European research in the life sciences is no longer confined by geographical or disciplinary borders," he says. "Europe calls for a central platform where scientists from different countries, disciplines and generations can meet to exchange ideas and their best practices. Filling this gap the new ATC will not only strengthen EMBL's excellence and its leading role in Europe, but will also promote Europe as a hotspot for research and education."

In addition to research activities, the goal is also to make the ACT an international hub welcoming major conferences on life sciences.

"The BMBF supports the construction of the ATC as a groundbreaking project in the areas of scientific exchange, education and training in the life sciences. Such a modern and high-quality centre will allow us to host many of the most prestigious conferences in Germany," says the German Minister for Education and Research, Annette Schavan.

Special focus has also been given to catering to researchers who have completed their formal education. It will be home to International Centre for Advanced Training (EICAT), which will organise courses and practical workshops for scientists. Room has also been set aside for teacher training and community outreach activities.

"Scientists never really complete their education; there are always new things to learn. This is why our foundation is especially concerned with training projects and the promotion of young talents," says Klaus Tschira, whose foundation supports the natural sciences, computer science and mathematics. "The transparent architecture of the ATC, designed like a DNA molecule in the shape of a double helix, does not only offer ideal functional conditions, but also creates an inspiring atmosphere."

The EMBL is a research institute publicly funded by 19 member states - Austria, Belgium, Croatia, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Iceland, Ireland, Israel, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland and the United Kingdom. Its main laboratory is in Heidelberg with 'outstations' in Hinxton (the European Bioinformatics Institute), Grenoble, Hamburg, and Monterotondo near Rome.

DG Research
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