German Research Minister Edelgard Bulmahn has pledged to inject 135 million euro into a national genome research network despite the 'difficult budgetary situation in Europe'. Speaking on 31 October, Ms Bulmahn said that the network will be unique and exemplary in Europe, and is necessary for the fight against illnesses such as cancer and heart disease. The ministry has been funding the network since 2001, and has already allocated 180 million euro to the project. The programme is already reaping the benefits of this funding. Researchers have applied for 80 patents, and 17 have so far been awarded. 'Through the genome research network, an abundance of research results have already been discovered within a short period of time, and which are expected to lead to a range of start-ups being established,' said the minister.