Cologne, Bonn and Düsseldorf Establish New Competence Center in the Field of Genomics


The ‘West German Genome Center’ will serve as the central infrastructure for consultation and networking in the fields of genome research, bioinformatics and high-performance computing.

With the West German Genome Center (WGGC), the Universities of Cologne, Bonn and Düsseldorf have won funding for a joint competence center from the German Research Foundation (DFG). The WGGC will initially receive funding of approximately 5.3 million euros for three years, plus a 22 percent lump sum. It is the first central infrastructure facility for bioinformatics, genome research and high-performance computing.

The new center will be equipped with next-generation sequencing methods that capture complete biological samples – from the genome to the epigenome and transcriptome. The resulting bioinformatic data will be available for many scientific users. The center’s infrastructure will allow it to offer a range of services, including, in addition to sequencing services, expert referrals, scientific advice and further training, application advice and networking opportunities.

Professor Dr. Peter Nürnberg, Principal Investigator at CECAD and speaker of the WGGC at the managing University of Cologne, says: ‘More than 70 experts from three universities will come together to contribute their specialist knowledge from various areas of biological research – from microbiomes via plant and animal model organisms to humans. We have already established a strong network in the scientific community and are looking forward to establishing a new NGS competence center’.

Professor Dr. Joachim Schultze, deputy speaker of the WGGC at the University of Bonn, says: ‘With this network, we want to contribute to supporting the life sciences and medicine in Germany with the latest technologies in genome research and innovative computer-aided methods. Next Generation Genomics will fundamentally change medicine and life sciences, and the WGGC will contribute to keeping our science location internationally competitive.’

Professor Dr. Dagmar Wieczorek, deputy speaker of the WGGC at the University of Düsseldorf, says: ‘With long-read NGS technology and the corresponding bioinformatics tools, the University of Düsseldorf contributes complementary methods for genome analysis and genome assembly to the WGGC.’

Professor Dr. Klaus Pfeffer, Vice-Rector at the University of Düsseldorf and member of the WGGC, says: ‘In addition to the Universities of Cologne, Bonn and Düsseldorf, the WGGC cooperates with partners such as RWTH Aachen, the University of Duisburg-Essen, the University of Saarland, the Federal Institute for Drugs and Medical Devices and the German Centre for Neurodegenerative Diseases, which will establish an internationally visible center of expertise in the field of genome research.’
In addition to the WGGC, the German Research Foundation has granted funding to three other NGS competence centers: The ‘NGS Competence Center Tübingen’ at the University of Tübingen; the ‘DRESDEN-concept Genome Center’ at the the Technical University of Dresden; and the ‘Competence Centre for Genomic Analysis Kiel’ at the University of Kiel. In total, the four locations in Germany will receive funding of 14 million euros plus a lump-sum programme allowance.

Media Enquiries:        
Prof. Dr. Peter Nürnberg
Speaker of the West German Genome Center, Cologne
+49 221 478 96801

Prof. Dr. Joachim L. Schultze
Deputy Speaker of the West German Genome Center, Bonn
+49 228 73 62787

Prof. Dr. Dagmar Wieczorek
Deputy Speaker of the West German Genome Center, Düsseldorf
+ 49 211 81 12350

Press and Communications Team:
Frieda Berg, University of Cologne
+49 221 470 1704

Dr. Andreas Archut, University of Bonn
+49 228 73 7647

Susanne Dopheide, University of Düsseldorf
+49 211 8104173

Further information (in German):