Milestone for the Stem Cell Network North Rhine-Westphalia: Science Ministry prospects long-term funding

Max Planck Institute for Molecular Biomedicine is a founding member

September 05, 2018

The renowned Stem Cell Network North Rhine-Westphalia, which has been promoting stem cell research in the federal state of North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW), Germany, in a unique, transdisciplinary approach for 16 years and moreover, regularly seeks dialogue with politics and society, will most likely be supported permanently by the federal state of NRW from 2019 onwards. To this end, 19 universities, university hospitals and non-university research institutions based in NRW, among which the Max Planck Institute for Molecular Biomedicine, today jointly founded the association "Stammzellnetzwerk.NRW".

Stem cell research has been an important aspect of North Rhine-Westphalia's portfolio for many years, ranging from cutting-edge biomedical research to the promotion of excellent young scientists, transdisciplinary cooperation on current issues, and the political and social dialogue. The former Stem Cell Network North Rhine-Westphalia, which has been funded for 16 years by the Ministry of Culture and Science (MKW) of the federal state of NRW, has contributed significantly to this. Now the science ministry has taken a groundbreaking decision and, subject to the budgetary decision of the parliament, will continue to financially support the network as an institution from next year onward.

As part of the official formation of the association, which took place at Schloss Mickeln in Dusseldorf, state secretary Annette Storsberg (MKW) praised in her welcome address the contribution of the previous network on the international visibility of stem cell research from NRW. Furthermore, she highlighted the contribution of the network towards the development of therapies and stressed the importance to stabilize the Stem Cell Network NRW. Prof. Dr. Oliver Brüstle, stem cell researcher at the University Hospital of Bonn and elected chairman of the newly founded association noted that, especially in view of global health challenges, there are high expectations regarding the very dynamic field of stem cell research. "To face this challenge, the long-term support of the Stem Cell Network NRW is of elementary importance. In addition to the continuation of the previous, successful structure, one of our crucial new tasks will be to efficiently transfer findings from basic research into future applications. The Stem Cell Network will be able to act as a catalyst to support this process" emphasized Professor Brüstle.

Particularly valuable for this process is the network's unique selling point, the close link between biomedical research and the humanities, law and social sciences, which always has played a major role since the foundation of the network and "will be intensified in the future", as the philosopher Prof. Dr. Dieter Sturma (member of the board) emphasized.

Starting in 2019, the newly founded association will seamlessly continue the tasks of the former Stem Cell Network NRW. The office of the association is located at the Life Science Center in Duesseldorf, Germany.

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