News from the BioCity Campus

iDiv: New building of the research center in Leipzig inaugurated

Three prime ministers honor international biodiversity research "made in Central Germany". Chancellor sends greeting


Leipzig. Michael Kretschmer, Bodo Ramelow and Dr. Reiner Haseloff and DFG Secretary General Heide Ahrens officially opened the new research building of the German Center for Integrative Biodiversity Research (iDiv) on Wednesday. Over 100 guests attended the event, which took place under strict hygiene protection measures. They learned what contribution iDiv is making and intends to make to solving the global biodiversity crises. Chancellor Dr. Angela Merkel sent a message of greeting. The new building at Leipzig's Alter Messe is designed as a place for the exchange of ideas and integrative research for scientists from all over the world. From 2024, the three countries want to take over the financing of the research center together with other sponsors.

dr Angela Merkel: “The center is still young. It was only founded in 2012. But it has already earned an excellent reputation. It advances our knowledge of the diversity of life, its change and loss. Almost a third of all animal and plant species are classified as endangered. This is a dramatic development because the preservation of biological diversity combined with the protection of the climate is an existential task for us humans. It is therefore of the utmost importance that biodiversity research promotes understanding of the limits of our ecosystems and makes a decisive contribution to raising awareness of sustainable management and behavior.”

iDiv's role in solving the global biodiversity crises was also the subject of a press conference with the three Prime Ministers, Secretary General of the German Research Foundation (DFG) Heide Ahrens and iDiv spokesman Christian Wirth.

Michael Kretschmer: “With the new research building of the German Center for Integrative Biodiversity Research, an internationally renowned center has emerged in Leipzig. It is an important building block in the transnational research landscape, which shows in a very clear way which synergies can be released and what can be done in important research areas when universities, research institutions and politics work together across national borders".

dr Reiner Haseloff: “The success of iDiv is impressive proof that cutting-edge research is possible in East Germany. The Halle-Jena-Leipzig region is at the forefront in biodiversity and climate research, also and especially in interdisciplinary cooperation with the social sciences. We want to expand that. iDiv shows how such integrative research works.”

Bodo Ramelow: “The iDiv in Leipzig is at the center of the decisive future issues of this and the coming decade. Biodiversity, climate change, agricultural change - these are all very specific topics with which the researchers at iDiv make a contribution to our societies. In addition to its outstanding contributions to biodiversity research and new solutions for the conservation of biodiversity in the world, the iDiv represents an important impetus for cross-border cooperation in Central Germany, which should also serve as a model for other policy areas outside of science."

dr Heide Ahrens: "When we set up the iDiv in 2012, we were guided by the idea of ​​creating a long-term place for exchange on biodiversity issues that would make it possible to theoretically and systematically relate the variety of disciplines and methods to each other. In this way, reliable and serious forecasts and options for action for the future should also be made possible. Because far-sighted political decisions in the area of ​​environmental policy are only possible on the basis of the best and interdisciplinary research.”

Prof. Dr. Christian Wirth: “The coming years and decades will determine our quality of life and that of future generations. Politics and research have a responsibility, on the one hand, to offer immediate solutions and, on the other hand, to develop sustainable answers with innovative basic research as to how humanity can manage biodiversity in the future – and not against it.”

The new iDiv building at the Alte Messe in Leipzig is the "heart" of the iDiv consortium in the three states of Saxony, Saxony-Anhalt and Thuringia. After a two-and-a-half-year construction phase under the direction of the state company Saxon Real Estate and Construction Management (SIB), most of the almost 300 employees have been working here since autumn of last year. The architecture is consistently designed to promote communication. With 5.000 m² of space, state-of-the-art laboratories, offices and seminar rooms and, above all, a spacious, multi-storey foyer as an attractive meeting place, the house offers ideal conditions for the creative exchange of researchers from a wide variety of disciplines and nations. The construction costs amounted to 34 million euros.

The global biodiversity crisis is one of the major problems of our time. In the current election campaign, it only plays a supporting role in the shadow of the climate crisis. But it is no less acute. According to the World Biodiversity Council, around one eighth of all animal and plant species are threatened with extinction - with consequences for the functioning of ecosystems. Overexploitation, pollution and climate change threaten habitats, species and genes; they endanger the basis for the existential things we need to live.

Since 2012, iDiv scientists have been researching global changes in ecosystems and biological diversity and developing answers to them. In just nine years, the DFG research center has developed into one of the world's most recognized places for biodiversity science. Almost 300 employees from 30 nations now work for the DFG research center. In addition, more than 100 member groups of the scientific network conduct research at various locations in Halle, Jena and Leipzig. iDiv is supported by the University of Leipzig, the Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg and the Friedrich Schiller University Jena in cooperation with the Helmholtz Center for Environmental Research (UFZ). In addition, several Leibniz and Max Planck institutes are involved as cooperation partners.

Source: Press release iDiv from September 15.09.2021th, XNUMX

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