On March 1st, the Research Institute of Molecular Pathology (IMP) opened its new building at the Vienna Biocenter. IMP sponsor Boehringer Ingelheim invested 52 million euros into the new center for basic research. Molecular biologist Emmanuelle Charpentier joined the celebrations and performed a symbolic DNA-cutting.
The new IMP-building was officially opened on March 1st after a construction period of one and a half years. Two hundred scientists from almost 40 countries will continue their groundbreaking research here. “Basic research is the most important driving force for future innovation and solution strategies, in particular in the field of medical advancement,” explained Jan-Michael Peters, Scientific Director at the IMP.
New building provides high flexibility for modern research
The building’s extraordinary architecture and well thought-out use of technology will make it a challenger for such major research locations as London and Boston: functionality and design were combined smartly to meet the needs of a modern research institute. A flexible floor layout allows for the smooth adaptation to new methods and future work processes.
“March 1st, 2017, is a milestone in the history of the Research Institute of Molecular Pathology, which we – Boehringer Ingelheim – founded more than 30 years ago. At present, it is among the most prestigious research institutions worldwide,” said Philipp von Lattorff, Country Managing Director of the Boehringer Ingelheim RCV.
Scientist Charpentier cuts four meter-long DNA double helix
In lieu of a red ribbon, well-known scientist Emanuelle Charpentier cut a four meter-long, glowing DNA double helix, as a tribute to her revolutionary discovery of the CRISPR-Cas9-System: during her time at the Vienna Biocenter, she laid the foundations for the development of a molecular-biological method to precisely edit genomes.
VIPs from politics underscore Vienna’s importance as science location
Over 200 well-known guests from politics, industry and science took part in the ceremonial opening. Austrian Federal President Alexander van der Bellen, Vice-Chancellor Reinhold Mitterlehner and German ambassador Johannes Haindl came to congratulate.
“I have witnessed the development of the Vienna Biocenter directly as University Coordinator of the City of Vienna. Today, Vienna is one of Europe’s most dynamic locations for basic science in the field of molecular biology – and the IMP has made a major contribution to this,” President Van der Bellen said.
“The IMP is an important stimulant for intellectual and business-related developments in Austria. We defined the target of expanding Austria into a globally leading location in Life Sciences and pharmacology in the government’s Life Science Strategy. The new IMP building is a crucial milestone in this plan,” said Vice-Chancellor Reinhold Mitterlehner.
Scientific curiosity and freedom for breakthroughs in medicine
Philipp von Lattorff explained that Boehringer Ingelheim, as a family business, has the financial ability to support basic research that might lead to the long-term development of new medicines. “The IMP is the most important investment in basic research made by Boehringer Ingelheim,” said Lattorff.
The IMP has left its mark on biomedical basic research worldwide with its findings on basic, biological processes. “The scientists’ motivation is fueled by curiosity. This driving force - to get to the bottom of things without a specified reason - is what characterizes human nature and makes science a cultural asset just like the arts, literature and philosophy,” said IMP Director Peters. “It is a privilege to conduct research in intellectual freedom and at the highest possible level,” added Harald Isemann, IMP Executive Director. “Boehringer Ingelheim makes this possible as the largest private sponsor of basic research in Austria.”
Boehringer Ingelheim supports the IMP with around 20 million euros in funding every year, but does not influence the institute’s projects and research fields. The pharmaceutical company invested 52 million euros in the new building. “The new building has already had a good start - now, we look forward to more groundbreaking discoveries,” said Lattorff.
New IMP building helps institutes at the Vienna Biocenter get closer to each other
The new IMP building has also closed the gap to other leading research institutions around the world that will leave their mark on molecular biology for decades to come from an architectural perspective. Communications, flexibility and sustainability were the leading ideas behind the planning by ATP architekten ingenieure. The adjacent institutes at the Vienna Biocenter, which are partially connected to the new IMP building via a glass bridge, will also benefit from the cutting-edge infrastructure.
The new building not only helps express the IMP’s desire for excellence, but also strengthens the position of the Vienna Biocenter as a top location in Life Sciences in Europe.