The Institute of Biology Leiden (IBL) officially started in January 2003, when the two former biology institutes (The Institute of Molecular Plant Sciences and the Institute of Evolutionary and Ecological Sciences) merged. The main objectives of this fusion were scientific synergy and a more efficient management with regards to expensive infrastructure and supporting services.
Biology has a very long tradition at Leiden University. Already soon after the foundation of the university in 1575, Carolus Clusius was attracted to Leiden to teach botany and to set up a Botanical Garden, which still exists nowadays. Over time other biological disciplines were added to the curriculum of Leiden University. Most of the biological research in Leiden is housed in the IBL. Besides the IBL, Leiden is also the Dutch centre of biological collections: a zoological collection, housed in the natural history museum 'Naturalis', and a botanical collection in the Leiden branch of the Nationaal Herbarium Nederland.
The institute comprises eleven sections, which participate in a dynamic matrix with permanent and changing joint projects. The sections are:
The IBL wishes to perform state-of-the-art research in the different directions of molecular and evolutionary sciences, using a strong international focus and by cooperation with the other bioscience and evolution / biodiversity orientated groups and institutes both within the Faculty and beyond. Also the IBL aims to stimulate the integration of molecular and evolutionary research. This niche is central to biology and the IBL can play an important role by profiting from its combined expertise.
The main targets of the IBL are to perform top quality biological research to create and maintain an outstanding graduate training system in close relationship to the research programme and to develop and maintain outstanding BSc and MSc teaching programs.