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Together for the science metropolis

05/2020, 20.02.2020

Berlin's non-university research institutions are joining forces

Strengthening Berlin as an international science metropolis is the goal of a joint initiative by the capital's non-university research institutions. They have joined together to form the BR 50 (Berlin Research 50) in order to jointly develop strategies for research and exchange with politics and society. This will facilitate and strengthen cooperation with Berlin’s universities.

The new network, to which almost all non-university institutes and centres in the Berlin area belong, is intended to facilitate coordination between non-university research institutions and to provide a central point of contact for cooperation with Berlin universities and exchange with society and politics. Similar to the Berlin University Alliance (BUA), the network of the Free University of Berlin, Humboldt University of Berlin, Technical University of Berlin and Charité University Medicine Berlin, BR 50 is also intended to provide a dialogue platform for the participating institutes.

The association represents research areas from all scientific disciplines. At the founding meeting on February 18 in the Max Liebermann Haus at the Brandenburg Gate, founding coordinators were elected for four sections: Prof. Dr. Thomas Sommer for Section 1 (life sciences), Prof. Dr. h.c. Jutta Allmendinger Ph.D. for Section 2 (social sciences and humanities), Prof. Dr. Ulrich Panne for Section 3 (natural sciences) and Prof. Dr. Michael Hintermüller for Section 4 (technology and engineering).

"The non-university institutions are already making an indispensable contribution to establishing Berlin’s profile as a leading international location for science thanks to their excellent research," said Thomas Sommer, founding coordinator of the Section for Life Sciences and Scientific Director (interim) of the Max Delbrück Center for Molecular Medicine in the Helmholtz Association (MDC). "With the BR 50, we are now pooling our resources to let the Berlin research area prosper."

Ulrich Panne, founding coordinator for the Section for Natural Sciences and President of the Federal Institute for Materials Research and Testing (BAM), adds: "The exchange between science, society and politics is becoming more and more important and BR 50 will build many important bridges between the research institutions in Berlin."

Cooperation with the Berlin universities will also be strengthened by BR 50, expects Jutta Allmendinger, founding coordinator of the Section for Social Sciences and Humanities and President of the Berlin Social Science Center (WZB): "The large number and variety of non-university research institutions is one of Berlin's obvious strengths. With our new network, we offer a central dialogue partner for Berlin’s universities in order to initiate future-oriented research projects with them."

A founding motive of BR 50 are the big challenges for mankind, says Michael Hintermüller, founding coordinator of the Section for Technology and Engineering, Director of the Weierstraß Institute for Applied Analysis and Stochastics and member of the executive board of the Forschungsverbund Berlin: "With the new network, Berlin's research institutions can better use their synergies to jointly develop solutions to the problems that lie ahead."

"Through the association, the scientific exchange between the institutions of basic scientific research and the more applied departmental research is significantly strengthened and raised to a higher level," says the President of the German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR) Professor Dr. Dr. Andreas Hensel as a representative of the federal government's departmental research institutions. At the same time, the cooperation offers young scientists the opportunity to test and expand their scientific know-how in a practical manner.

The founding meeting initially brought together 41 non-university research institutions in Berlin, including institutes of the large scientific organisations Leibniz Association, Max Planck Society, Helmholtz Association and Fraunhofer Society, as well as the federal government's departmental research institutes and the Prussian Cultural Heritage Foundation.

About the BfR

The German Federal Institute for Risk Assessment (BfR) is a scientifically independent institution within the portfolio of the Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture (BMEL) in Germany. It advises the German federal government and German federal states ("Laender") on questions of food, chemical and product safety. The BfR conducts its own research on topics that are closely linked to its assessment tasks.

This text version is a translation of the original German text which is the only legally binding version.

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