UniversityExtensive Renovation of the Centre for Organismal Studies

Press Release No. 55/2023
16 May 2023

Life Sciences research centre has attractive modern teaching and work premises

With the conclusion of several years of renovation, the building of the Centre for Organismal Studies (COS) of Heidelberg University can now be fully used again for teaching and research. Flexible work rooms and laboratories for modern biology are now available to the Life Sciences research centre on the Im Neuenheimer Feld campus, along with facilities for the joint use of new technologies, a well-equipped lecture hall and seminar rooms. The key will be symbolically handed over at a ceremony on 17 May 2023, hosted by the Mannheim and Heidelberg office of the state assets and construction company Vermögen und Bau Baden-Württemberg. This also marks the opening of a permanent interactive public exhibition on the evolution of life.

The over-60-year-old building complex needed to undergo extensive reconstruction and renovation works, which were begun in 2011 and have now been concluded. The building of the former Institute for Zoology consists of a six-storey main building for research and a low wing for teaching, which can be conducted in hybrid mode with modern media technology, housing a lecture hall as well as seminar rooms and areas for practical classes. Besides attractive learning settings for students, the newly renovated premises are also designed as a modern, flexible centre for conferences and symposia. The renovated COS building, comprising the wings INF 230 and INF 231, covers an area of 5,200 square metres. The whole renovation operation – including energy-saving measures – cost a total of around 43 million euros and was carried out in several construction sections, in some cases as teaching and research went on. There are also plans to renovate the Im Neuenheimer Feld 232 wing.

The Centre for Organismal Studies was founded in 2010 when the Institute for Zoology merged with the Institute for Plant Sciences. Its purpose is to understand fundamental molecular and cellular mechanisms that govern the development, physiology and evolution of organisms and their interactions with the environment. The new exhibition “Evolution Timeline” is integrated into the renovated COS building. It developed out of the earlier Zoological Collection, whose exhibits had to be stored elsewhere during the extensive renovation work. With funding from the Schmeil Foundation, the newly designed presentation and its interactive formats will enable the interested public to gain fascinating insights into the evolution of life forms.

The ceremony to symbolically hand over the key will be opened by Marco Grübbel, director of the Mannheim and Heidelberg office of the state assets and construction company Vermögen und Bau Baden-Württemberg. Greetings will come from Prof. Dr Bernhard Eitel, Rector of Heidelberg University, Prof. Dr Jan Lohmann, Deputy Managing Director of the Centre for Organismal Studies, and Jürgen Odszuck, First Mayor of the City of Heidelberg. COS scientist Prof. Dr Thomas Holstein, who was in charge of redesigning the “Evolution Timeline” exhibition with a planning agency, will explain what it is about. The architect office responsible will give a report on the COS renovation.

Note for newsrooms

The ceremony to symbolically hand over the key to the renovated building of the Centre for Organismal Studies takes place on 17 May 2023 in the Im Neuenheimer Feld 230 building, starting at 11 am. Media representatives are warmly invited to attend and report. Please register with presse@rektorat.uni-heidelberg.de