A Boost for Biomedicine in Berlin

Merged. Berlin's Charité biomedical research center is joining forces with the Max Delbrück Center for Molecular Medicine.

Copyright Charité-Universitätsmedizin Berlin

BERLIN—Two of Berlin's largest biomedical research centers are joining forces to form the Berlin Institute of Health (BIH), a cooperative venture that will receive at least €320 million in new funding over the next 5 years from the German federal government, the city-state of Berlin, and a private foundation. The union of the Max Delbrück Center for Molecular Medicine (MDC) and the Charité, the university clinic of Berlin's Humboldt University and Free University, will help attract top clinicians, researchers, and medical students to Berlin, Berlin Mayor Klaus Wowereit told a press conference this afternoon.

"We now have significant new resources, and we will work together to figure out how to use them," said Walter Rosenthal, head of MDC. "Above all, we want to recruit new, excellent researchers." The organization of BIH will take shape next year, says Charité head Karl Max Einhäupl. An international evaluation team will advise the new institute on how to best combine the strengths of the two organizations.

BIH should be an especially attractive place for young clinical researchers to train, German Research and Education Minister Annette Schavan told the press conference. The institute will allow trainees to combine clinical work and basic research, she said.

BIH bends some of the strict German rules about what types of research organizations the federal and state (Länder) governments can fund. Research institutes like the MDC are funded mostly by the federal government, while universities receive their funding from the Länder. In this case, however, the federal government will provide 90% of the €300 million budgeted for BIH between 2013 and 2018. The privately financed Charité Foundation has promised an additional €40 million over 10 years.

Read the 9 November issue of Science for a feature story about Berlin's rise as a science city.