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© Charité | Wiebke Peitz

Press release


Charité expands top position in medical research

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The Excellence Initiative acquires another graduate school from the medical university in Berlin

The results of the second phase of the federal and state Excellence Initiative have once again granted Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin another impressive achievement. In competition with very strong applicants, Charité has been successful as the lead institution of one cluster, as well as two schools. In addition to confirming the already established Cluster of Excellence “NeuroCure” and the graduate school “Berlin Brandenburg School for Regenerative Therapies”, the “Berlin School of Integrative Oncology” has made the jump into the exclusive circle of top proposals.

The decision – made by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (German Research Foundation, DFG) and the German Council of Science and Humanities with respective federal and state ministers – ensures project-specific expansion in three important topics of university research through 2017. The keys to success were innovative ideas and the hard work of many scientists at Charité and its cooperation partners at university and non-university research institutions. “Without the outstanding cooperation of the participating scientists, this success would never have been possible. Networking is the strength of our location,” emphasizes Prof. Annette Grüters-Kieslich, Dean of the Charité.

The graduate school “Berlin School of Integrative Oncology” (BSIO) will develop new strategies in the fight against cancer. Cancer presents a meaningful medical and social challenge affecting approximately 1.45 million people and 450,000 new diagnoses per year. “We are trying to decode a tumor’s individual, molecular blueprint and develop a custom-tailored therapeutic concept for patients,” says Prof. Clemens Schmitt, director of the Molecular Cancer Research Center at Charité and spokesman of BSIO. The support within the Excellence Initiative framework enables researchers at Charité, the Freie Universität Berlin (FU), the Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin (HU) and in close cooperation with five non-university partner institutions, to educate prospective molecular oncologists and physicians in research, diagnosis and treatment of this illness.

With the continuation of the Excellence Cluster “NeuroCure” (a cooperation between Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin and the parent universities, the HU and the FU, as well as three non-university research institutes) the intensely driven expansion over the last few years of Berlin as a place of neurosciences will continue sustainably. The stated goal of NeuroCure is to understand disease mechanisms better and thereby develop effective therapies for neurological illnesses like strokes, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy, but also for psychiatric illnesses like, for example, Alzheimer's, autism, depression and schizophrenia. “Over the last years, we have been able to develop Berlin as a place of neuroscientific research through comprehensive international appointments. We will continue on this path and strengthen the cooperative relationships even more with the additional funds,” as Dietmar Schmitz, spokesman and initiator of the Excellence Cluster, happily explains.

Since 2007 the graduate school “Berlin-Brandenburg School for Regenerative Therapies” (BSRT) has also offered post-doctoral students from the fields of medicine, natural-, material- and engineering sciences the opportunity to conduct research on how tissue and organs affected by the aging process, illness, trauma or congenital anomalies, regenerate and can be healed. By closely interlocking basic research and clinical application, research findings can be implemented quickly as new therapies. With today’s decision to extend support of the BSRT, the graduate school will expand its program even further. Innovative educational concepts developed in the “Bio Thinking” program at the graduate school will be implemented. Participants include the FU, HU, Technical University (TU) as well as the Max Planck, Helmholtz, Fraunhofer, Leibniz and Hasso Plattner Institutes.

“Charité can be proud of its scientists. It is thanks to their ideas and indefatigable dedication that Charité connects to its tradition as a leading institution of medical research in Germany to develop into a top center of life sciences,” said Prof. Karl Max Einhäupl, Chairman of Charité. He adds: “This recognition will motivate us even more to bring Berlin to international standing as a place of research, and as a result, the health industry in the Berlin-Brandenburg region as well.”

The board at Charité also welcomes the jury’s decision to support the Freie Universität’s strategy for the future and the Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin. “By establishing the FU Berlin’s Dahlem research campus and the Integrative Research Institute of Life Sciences (IRI) at the HU Berlin, we can further strengthen and expand the successful cooperation and good work that Charité conducts with its parent universities,” explained Prof. Grüters-Kieslich. At the center of the HU Berlin’s strategy is a comprehensive program for the development of three interdisciplinary research platforms, in addition to the new Integrative Research Institute for Life Sciences – a cooperation between the Humboldt-Universität, Max Delbrück Center and Charité. “The goal of this research institute is to enable integrative approaches from the molecular to the systematic biological level, and from biological fundamentals through to patient-oriented clinical research via content and methodological synergies,” adds Prof. Grüters-Kieslich.

Within the framework of the renewed support of the FU’s strategy for the future, Charité will participate substantially on developing a “Life Sciences and Biomedicine” focus area at the Dahlem research campus. 


Berlin School of Integrative Oncology“ (BSIO)
Prof. Clemens Schmitt (Spokesman)
Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin
MKFZ – Molekulares Krebsforschungszentrum
t: +49 30 450 553 896

Prof. Dietmar Schmitz (Spokesman)
Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin,
t: +49 30 450 539 054

Berlin-Brandenburg School for Regenerative Therapies (BSRT)
Prof. Georg N. Duda (Spokesman)
Charité – Universitätsmedizin Berlin
t: +49 30 450 559 079

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