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Centre of Biodiversity Research opens in Leipzig

Centre of Biodiversity Research opens in Leipzig

The project is the result of cooperation between Saxony, Saxony-Anhalt and Thuringia and it highlights the strength of cross-regional cooperation

Today, the Minister-Presidents of Saxony, Saxony-Anhalt and Thuringia inaugurated the Deutsches Zentrum für integrative Biodiversitätsforschung (German Centre for Integrative Biodiversity Research - iDiv) in Leipzig. The centre began operating in 2020 and since then 300 researchers have started working in the new state-of-the-art laboratories.

The Centre for Biodiversity aims to bring together experts in scientific collaboration from Central Germany to help fuel the European Green Deal policy with the right data to make informed decisions.

Synergies across regional borders

The Institute for Biodiversity in Leipzig brings several institutions together: The Friedrich Schiller University Jena, the Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg and the University of Leipzig. At the same time, the centre is part of the German Research Foundation (Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft) and is managed through cooperation with the Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research.

inoguration ceremonyL-R: Minister-President of Saxony Michael Kretschmer,
Minister-President of Saxony-Anhalt Reiner Haseloff
and Minister-President of Thuringia Bodo Ramelow,
Source: iDiv 

The new centre in Leipzig is at the heart of Saxony, Saxony-Anhalt and Thuringia’s joint effort to combat the problem of rapidly decreasing biodiversity. The project cost around 34 million and took over two years to finish, but now the iDiv building has state-of-the-art laboratories, offices and seminar rooms and, above all, a spacious, multi-storey foyer as an attractive meeting point.

During the inauguration ceremony, iDiv spokesman Christian Wirth underlined the importance of scientific exchange in the sector of Biodiversity. He presented a huge “map of life”, showing the diversity of all known living beings. The map had large holes, representing endangered species and habitats. 

map of life with holesProf. Dr Christian Wirth and the map of life with biodiversity holes,
Source: iDiv

Prof. Dr Christian Wirth was quoted in a press release, saying: “The coming years and decades will determine our quality of life and that of future generations. Politics and research are responsible, on the one hand, to offer solutions immediately and, on the other hand, to develop sustainable answers with innovative basic research on how humanity can do business with biodiversity in the future - and not against it."

Minister-President Michael Kretschmer pointed out the research centre as a positive cross border exchange example. He said: “The German Centre for Integrative Biodiversity Research is an important building block in the transnational research landscape, which clearly shows which synergies can be released and what can be achieved in important research areas when universities, research institutions and politics work together across regional borders."

A big problem, overshadowed by an even bigger problem

The global biodiversity crisis is one of the major problems of our time, however, it currently plays a very small role in public debate and policy. This is because it is overshadowed by the climate crisis, but it is no less important, as a damaged biosphere could make a climate recovery very hard.

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 endanger habitats, species and genes; they endanger the basis for the existential things we need to live.

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