The German Primate Center – planning and realization of the institute
It took almost 20 years from the first proposal for the foundation of a German primate centre to the final establishment of an institute for research on primates. Since 1964, the German science community had considered the idea of founding a national primate centre in the Federal Republic of Germany (West Germany) following existing models in the USA. In 1967, the project received a significant boost from the outbreak of the lethal Marburg virus infections, which was transmitted from African green monkeys to humans. However, a memorandum from Hans-Jürg Kuhn, at that time at the University of Frankfurt, facilitated a breakthrough in 1970. He conceived an interdisciplinary institute that would both conduct its own scientific research and be a service institute for other German institutions. After highly charged debates on a suitable location, the federal government decided on Göttingen, and in 1972 the University of Göttingen provided the necessary ground. With the certificate of incorporation in 1977, the federal government and the German state Lower Saxony appointed Professor Kuhn as the first scientific director. Based on his memorandum, a research and service institute was developed with several scientific departments associated with primate husbandry, and full operation began in 1984.