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Financial boost for the International Helmholtz Research School for Diabetes

The mission of the International Helmholtz Research School for Diabetes, founded in 2018, is to provide robust support for the next generation of excellent diabetes researchers. In 2019, the project will receive further extensive funding, with the partners contributing around 6.5 million euros over a period of six years. Germany's biggest research organization, the Helmholtz Association, is now joining forces with Helmholtz Zentrum München, the Technical University of Munich (TUM) and the University of Alberta (Canada).

Graduate students of the Helmholtz Diabetes Center and representatives of the new school at a networking meeting in Alberta, Canada. © Helmholtz Zentrum München

More than 400 million people worldwide are affected by diabetes − and the number is rising. Therefore, there is an urgent need for innovative therapies and new ideas for dealing with this widespread disease, making the training of a new generation of specialized scientists especially important.

“Helmholtz contributes essentially to solving grand challenges facing society. The rapid rise in the number of diabetes cases around the world certainly poses such a challenge,” says Professor Otmar D. Wiestler, President of the Helmholtz Association. “The International Helmholtz Research School for Diabetes will make an important contribution in this field by promoting the training and networking of a new generation of researchers within an attractive international partnership. Located in Munich and Alberta, it links two powerhouses of diabetes research.“ Accordingly, Germany's biggest research organization will contribute around 1.8 million euros over the next six years from the president's impulse and networking fund. The rest of the funding will be provided by the previous partners.

“The additional financial resources from the Helmholtz Association and the increase in funding by the previous partners once again underscore the importance of the issue. At the same time, this is a good indication for us of what has so far been achieved,” says Professor Stephan Herzig, spokesman for the graduate school. As Director of the Helmholtz Diabetes Center at Helmholtz Zentrum München and Professor of Molecular Metabolism Control at the TUM, he already works across the partners’ institutional boundaries.

The program for junior researchers not only includes sound scientific and interdisciplinary training, but also guidance in management, leadership and communication skills to prepare the participants for leadership positions at various career stages. “Thanks to the new funding, we can now offer our doctoral students a half-year exchange program between Alberta and Munich,” explains coordinator Dr. Sofia Sasse. “This will introduce participants to new methods and ideas and allow them to build networks that will stand them in good stead throughout their careers.”

The Research School Diabetes was established under the umbrella of the Helmholtz Graduate School Environmental Health, or HELENA for short. As part of a pilot project, six doctoral candidates have already been selected in a competitive process. Starting in February 2019, they will take up their projects at several institutes of the Helmholtz Diabetes Center in Munich. A further eleven doctoral positions are planned for the future.

Further Information

Please find more information on the website of the International Helmholtz Research School for Diabetes.

As German Research Center for Environmental Health, Helmholtz Zentrum München pursues the goal of developing personalized medical approaches for the prevention and therapy of major common diseases such as diabetes mellitus, allergies and lung diseases. To achieve this, it investigates the interaction of genetics, environmental factors and lifestyle. The Helmholtz Zentrum München has about 2,500 staff members and is headquartered in Neuherberg in the north of Munich. Helmholtz Zentrum München is a member of the Helmholtz Association, a community of 19 scientific-technical and medical-biological research centers with a total of about 37,000 staff members. 

The Technical University of Munich (TUM) is one of Europe’s leading research universities, with around 550 professors, 41,000 students, and 10,000 academic and non-academic staff. Its focus areas are the engineering sciences, natural sciences, life sciences and medicine, combined with economic and social sciences. TUM acts as an entrepreneurial university that promotes talents and creates value for society. In that it profits from having strong partners in science and industry. It is represented worldwide with the TUM Asia campus in Singapore as well as offices in Beijing, Brussels, Cairo, Mumbai, San Francisco, and São Paulo. Nobel Prize winners and inventors such as Rudolf Diesel, Carl von Linde, and Rudolf Mößbauer have done research at TUM. In 2006 and 2012 it won recognition as a German "Excellence University." In international rankings, TUM regularly places among the best universities in Germany.