Rome, June 25th, 2018. Today the University of Rome Tor Vergata awarded an honorary doctorate in biochemistry and molecular biology to Annette Schavan for her vision of bringing university and non-university biomedical research together in a new national organisation – in the German Centres for Health Research (DZG). This was a decisive impulse for the founding of the German Center for Neurodegenerative Diseases (DZNE). The ceremony took place in the presence of the German Ambassador to Italy Dr. Susanne Wasum-Rainer. Annette Schavan was Federal Minister of Education and Research from 2005 to 2013 and has been German Ambassador to the Holy See since July 2014.
"Collecting competencies and creating a completely new structure in health research" - that was the founding idea of the then Research Minister Annette Schavan in 2006 for the German Centres for Health Research to combat the most important widespread diseases. Despite the major breakthroughs in research and the associated improvement in health care, these diseases are far from being overcome. Neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's, Parkinson's or Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) in particular still pose very special challenges to society and research - these diseases still cannot be cured, their symptoms can only be alleviated to a limited extent.
The DZNE was the first of six DZGs to be founded in Bonn in 2008 by Annette Schavan, under the founding director and current Chairman of the Executive Board Prof. Pierluigi Nicotera. "The idea was simple but very effective: Annette Schavan obliged the centres to work in close interdisciplinary cooperation with the universities and university clinics. This is the key to our success that we have been pursuing at all ten DZNE locations for about ten years. Our research model has caused change - we live translational research. Many European, but also international countries are very interested and want to use this model for similar developments in their countries".
The German CDU politician Annette Schavan studied Catholic theology, philosophy and educational science in Bonn and Düsseldorf. From 1991 to 1995 she was Head of the Bischöfliche Studienförderung Cusanuswerk. From 1995 to 2005 Annette Schavan was Minister of Culture, Youth and Sports in Baden-Württemberg.