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iDiv: New building of the research center in Leipzig inaugurated

Three Prime Ministers pay tribute to international biodiversity research “made in Central Germany”. Federal Chancellor sends greeting

Leipzig. Michael Kretschmer, Bodo Ramelow and Dr Reiner Haseloff – the Ministers President of Saxony, Thuringia and Saxony-Anhalt respectively – together with DFG Secretary General Heide Ahrens, officially opened the new research building of the German Centre for Integrative Biodiversity Research (iDiv) on Wednesday. The event, which took place under strict hygiene measures, was attended by more than 100 guests. They learned about the contribution iDiv is making to solving the global biodiversity crises and intends to make in the future. German Chancellor Dr Angela Merkel sent a message congratulating the iDiv team. The new building at Leipzig’s Alte Messe has been designed as a place for scientists from all over the world to share ideas and conduct integrative research. From 2024 onwards, the three federal states involved intend to take over the financing of the research centre 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 promotes our knowledge of the diversity of life, its change and loss. Almost a third of all animal and plant species are considered 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 an understanding of the stress limits of our ecosystems and makes a decisive contribution to raising awareness of sustainable management and behaviour.”

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

Michael Kretschmer: “With the new research building of the German Centre for Integrative Biodiversity Research, an internationally highly respected centre has been created in Leipzig. It is an important building block in the transnational research landscape, which shows in a very vivid way which synergies can be released and what can be achieved in important research areas when universities, research institutions and politics work together across national borders.”

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

Bodo Ramelow: “The iDiv in Leipzig is at the centre of the decisive future topics of this and the coming decade. Biodiversity, climate change, agricultural transition – these are all the very concrete topics with which the researchers of the 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 impulse for transnational 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 of exchange on biodiversity issues that would make it possible to relate the diversity of disciplines and methods theoretically and systematically. 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 field 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 to offer immediate solutions on the one hand, and to develop sustainable answers with innovative basic research on how humanity can manage biodiversity in the future – and not against it.”

The new iDiv building at the Alte Messe in Leipzig forms 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-owned company Sächsisches Immobilien- und Baumanagement (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 an area of 5,000 m², state-of-the-art laboratories, offices and seminar rooms and, above all, a spacious, multi-storey foyer as an attractive meeting place, the building offers ideal conditions for the creative exchange of researchers from a wide range 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 plays only a minor role in the shadow of the climate crisis. But it is no less acute. According to the World Biodiversity Council, about one-eighth of all animal and plant species are threatened with extinction – with consequences for the functioning of ecosystems. Overexploitation, pollution and climate change endanger habitats, species and genes; they endanger the basis for the existential things we need to live.

Since 2012, iDiv scientists have been researching the global transformation of ecosystems and biodiversity and developing answers to them. In just nine years, the DFG Research Centre has developed into one of the world’s most recognised 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 Centre for Environmental Research (UFZ). In addition, several Leibniz and Max Planck Institutes are involved as cooperation partners.

Source: Press release iDiv of 15.09.2021

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