Research for better health: DZG celebrate 10-year anniversary

Protagonists of "10 years DZG": DZG-Spokespersons, DZG-Early scientists, Prof. Christian Drosten, Dr. Thomas Götz, Dr. h.c. mult Annette Shavan. Photo: Pedro Becerra.

Four of the six German Centers for Health Research (DZG) celebrated their 10th anniversary last Thursday in Berlin. Speakers from politics and science honored the success story: the collaboration between basic sciences and clinical research leads to better translation. This means that new findings are translated more quickly into treatment options and therapies for patients. This is research for better health.

The event kicked off with greetings from the Federal Minister of Education and Research, Bettina Stark-Watzinger, and Angela Dorn, Science Minister of the State of Hesse. Both emphasized the special importance of the DZG in the fight against common diseases. Dr. Thomas Götz, Berlin State Secretary for Health and Care, praised the network character of the centers, which is enormously attractive for researchers throughout Germany: “The DZG are not only excellent research network entities. They have also succeeded in uniting the leading minds from the respective disciplines behind the idea of the DZG – also because of the immense translational potential it holds.”

Perseverance is needed for success in clinical research

Prof. Özlem Türeci (DKTK and BioNTech) and Prof. Christian Drosten (DZIF) contributed the scientific part. Türeci reported on the stamina that was needed, especially in the development of mRNA vaccines. But without this knowledge gained over many years, it would not have been possible to produce a vaccine effective against coronavirus so quickly. Drosten also emphasized – in an interview with the evening’s moderator, Dr. Julia Fischer – that only great perseverance and a lot of money could bridge the translational gap. To be successful, he said, policymakers must continuously support the DZG.   

Dr. h.c. mult. Annette Schavan, under whose aegis as a federal minister the DZG had been founded, broadened the view toward Europe: “Europe should have the ambition to be the continent with the best support for talents in research.”

The program was framed by rounds of interviews with young scientists and DZG spokespersons. The latter emphasized that long-term institutional funding is essential. In addition, it is important for patient-oriented research to be able to better use clinical data for scientific projects in the future.

About the German Centers for Health Research (DZG)

Four of six DZGs celebrate their 10th anniversary in 2022:

  • German Consortium for Translational Cancer Research (DKTK)
  • German Center for Cardiovascular Research (DZHK)
  • German Center for Infection Research (DZIF)
  • German Center for Lung Research (DZL)

The German Center for Diabetes Research (DZD) and the German Center for Neurodegenerative Diseases (DZNE) already celebrated their anniversaries in 2019.

The six centers were established between 2009 and 2012 at the initiative of the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF). The federal government and 13 German states fund the DZG with around 270 million euros annually. The focus of all DZG is on the translation of research results into clinical practice. They were founded to combat particularly widespread common diseases more effectively.

Several thousand basic scientists, clinical researchers and physicians work in one of Germany’s largest health research networks to bring medical progress more quickly to patients. They are looking for ways to improve the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of the major common diseases cancer, dementia, diabetes, infections, cardiovascular and lung diseases – across research disciplines and organizations. 90 partner institutions in 37 cities are part of the DZG, which crosses the boundaries between university and non-university research.

Two additional centers for pediatric and adolescent medicine and for mental health are in planning.

Further information on the DZG in their new website:
News on ARCN website
Link DZG website [in German]



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