The Center for Integrated Protein Science Munich (CIPSM) is a cluster of excellence in sciences located in Munich. It is an association of research groups of the Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich, the Technical University of Munich, the Helmholtz Center Munich, and the Max Planck Institutes of biochemistry and neurobiology in Martinsried. Research at the center expands from isolated proteins up to proteins in living organisms applying methods of biophysics, biochemistry, medicine, and biology. Proteins are as biological macromolecules a cornerstone of life. However, their functional importance and structural effects are not yet fully understood in every detail. Investigation of isolated proteins up to living organisms (e.g. zebra fish, Drosophilidae, Caenorhabditis elegans or escherichia coli bacteries), especially with regard to interactions, structural complexities (e.g. proteil folding, structures of protein complexes, interactions between proteins and nucleic acids, and manipulation of protein functions) and neuro-degenerative diseases, promises to furnish basic knowledge of these macromolecules. This very knowledge could contribute to advances in biomedicine and biotechnologies. Research highlights and achievements The CIPSM cluster has been elected landmark in the German "country of ideas" initiative honoring the achievements of CIPSM researchers, who have been awarded several prizes for their work conducted with CIPS • Thomas Carell received the Otto-Bayer-Prize 2008 of the Bayer Science & Education Foundation. • Patrick Cramer has been awarded the Philip Morris Research Prize for the detailed elucidation of the RNA polymerase II structure in 2007. • Magdalena Götz received the Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz Prize 2007 of the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft in recognition of her work in the area of brain development. • Elena Conti received the Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz Prize 2008 of the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft for "fundamentally new knowledge of intracellular RNA transport and of RNA metabolism" together with Elisa Izaurralde of Max Planck Institute of Developmental Biology Tübingen. • Stephan Sieber and Thomas Böttcher have been rewarded the Innovationspreis der BioRegionen in Deutschland 2008 for their research on beta-lactones for the treatment of diseases, which are resistant to common antibiotics. • Horst Kessler has been awarded the Josef Rudinger Award of the European Peptide Society for his contributions to peptide chemistry in 2008. • Heinrich Leonhardt has received the Binder Innovation Award for the development of fluorescent antigen-bonding nanobodies, which can be expressed in living cells, in 2008. • Thomas Cremer has been awarded the 2009 Schleiden Medal of the German Academy of Sciences Leopoldina in honor of his work in the area of nucleus architecture. Furthermore, the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research supports the cooperation "experimental and theoretical methods for dissecting the dynamics of epigenetic gene silencing in living cells" between the CIPSM groups Leonhardt and Schotta and the University of Heidelberg.