Work starts on new European life sciences training centre

October 10, 2006

Brussels, 09 Oct 2006

European life sciences training is being given a boost with the construction of a new Advanced Training Centre at the campus of the European Molecular Biology Laboratory (EMBL) in Heidelberg, Germany. 'Europe calls for a central platform where scientists from different countries, disciplines and generations can meet to exchange ideas and their best practices,' said Iain Mattaj, Director General of the EMBL. '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.'

Work has just started on the Advanced Training Centre (ATC), which will have a double helix structure so as to resemble a DNA molecule. Funding for the €30 million project comes from the German Ministry for Education and Research, the Klaus Tschira Foundation and the federal state of Baden Württemberg, as well as the EMBL's member states.

Training top level life science researchers is a key priority for the EMBL. In the new centre's teaching labs and seminar rooms, the organisation will run courses and practical workshops for scientists at all stages of their career.

'Scientists never really complete their education; there are always new things to learn,' commented Klaus Tschira of the Tschira Foundation. 'This is why our foundation is especially concerned with training projects and the promotion of young talents.'

The centre has also been designed to host international conferences. Among other things, it will feature an auditorium which will be able to hold an audience of 450 people, and a large display area for the presentation of scientific posters.

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

The centre is due to open its doors in spring 2009.

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