Many prominent guests were on hand on May 29 to attend the Linz Faculty of Medicine’s groundbreaking ceremony for the new teaching and research building.
Designed by LORENZATELIER and with over 105 million euros invested into construction, the buildings will form a compact ensemble grouped around a campus quad. The quad area will be a place to come together and socialize, enjoy cultural activities, and can even serve as an event venue. Funded by the state of Upper Austria and Upper Austrian communities, the Kepler University Hospital Ltd will serve as building owner, creating an infrastructure aimed at supporting cutting-edge medicine and research in Linz. An interdisciplinary group of experts has been working to develop the modern building complex for over four years. By creating four separate and architecturally independent structures (laboratory, library, classrooms, administration services), each area will have optimal space.
During his opening remarks, Governor Thomas Stelzer stated: “In the future, educating young physicians locally in Upper Austria will give us the federal support we need in order to fill the need for qualified physicians." Michael Strugl, State Minister for Economic Affairs, emphasized: "An innovative medical landscape will be enhanced by networking intensively with the local business community, science, and medicine as part of the 'MED UP – Medical Upper Austria' collaboration."
Christine Haberlander, chairperson of the board at the Kepler University Hospital and State Healthcare Minister, pointed out that it is no coincidence that the Kepler University Hospital campus is located in direct proximity to patients as “…the intensive cooperation of care, teaching and research will lead to better patient care and treatment.”
Mayor Klaus Luger is also pleased about the upcoming construction: "Adding a medical degree program in Linz has proven to be a valuable addition to existing educational opportunities in the region."
Owned by the Kepler University Hospital Ltd, the new buildings are scheduled to be completed by 2021. Managing Director Elgin Drda added: "We have been planning this large-scale project in close cooperation together with the Johannes Kepler University for over four years."
JKU Rector Meinhard Lukas reiterated the project’s significance: "The program will continue to grow and expand and by 2028 we will welcome 300 new students annually to the Med school and there will be over 2,000 students studying at the Med campus near the Südbahnhof market at any given time. The JKU will move closer to the city center, making Linz more of a university town. The future campus area gives the Linz faculty a stronger sense of hands-on relevance for students, faculty members, researchers and those who will work here in the future."
Offering a medical degree program at the newly established Faculty of Medicine in 2014 was not only a milestone for the JKU, it also opened up new opportunities for many young people wishing to pursue medical studies. The Faculty of Medicine offers subjects in medicine, psychosocial studies and natural sciences.
Classes are based on case studies and feature a problem-oriented structure. JKU Vice-Rector Andrea Olschewski underlined the specific educational advantages by pointing to the close inter-university relationship: "Students and faculty member alike appreciate the low student to professor ratio and the on-hands educational program. Over 70 departments and institutes at the JKU are currently conducting research in the medical field and medically-related areas, supporting an essential and sustainable symbiosis."