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Max Planck Institutes

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Max Planck Institutes

Max Planck, circa 1940
Formation 1948 / 1911 (foundation of Kaiser Wilhelm Society)
Budget €1.66 billion (2009)
Staff 13000
Website

The Max Planck Society for the Advancement of Science (German: Max-Planck-Gesellschaft zur Förderung der Wissenschaften e. V.; abbreviated MPG) is a formally independent non-governmental and non-profit association of German research institutes publicly funded by the federal and the 16 state governments of Germany. It is named in honor of its former president, theoretical physicist Max Planck.

The nearly 80 research institutes of the Max Planck Society conduct basic research in the interest of the general public in the natural sciences, life sciences, social sciences, and the arts and humanities. They have a total staff of approx. 13,000 permanent employees, including 4,700 scientists, plus around 11,000 non-tenured scientists and guests. Their budget for 2006 was about 1.4 billion, with 84% from state and federal funds.[1] The Max Planck Institutes focus on excellence in research, with 32 Nobel Prizes awarded to their scientists, and are generally regarded as the foremost basic research organization in Germany and Europe.

Other notable networks of publicly funded research institutes in Germany are the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft, performing applied research with a focus on industrial collaborations, the Helmholtz Association of German Research Centres, a network of the national laboratories in Germany, and the Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz Scientific Community, a loose network of institutes performing basic to applied research.

History

The organisation was established in 1911 as the Kaiser Wilhelm Society, or Kaiser-Wilhelm-Gesellschaft (KWG), a non-governmental research organisation named for the then German emperor. The KWG was one of the world's leading research organisations; its board of directors included scientists like Walther Bothe, Peter Debye, Albert Einstein, Fritz Haber and Werner Heisenberg. In 1946, Otto Hahn assumed the position of President of KWG, and in 1948, the society was renamed the Max Planck Society (MPG) after its former President (1930–37) Max Planck, who died in 1947.

The Max Planck Society has a world-leading reputation as a science & technology research organization. In 2006, the Times Higher Education Supplement rankings[2] of non-university research institutions (based on international peer review by academics) placed the Max Planck Society as No.1 in the world for science research, and No.3 in technology research (behind AT&T Corporation and the Argonne National Laboratory in the United States).

The domain mpg.de attracted at least 1.7 million visitors annually by 2008 according to a Compete.com study.[3]


List of presidents of the KWG and the MPG

Organization

The Max Planck Society is formally an eingetragener Verein, a registered association with the institute directors as scientific members having equal voting rights.[4] The society has its registered seat in Berlin, while the administrative headquarters are located in Munich. In 2002 the cell biologist Peter Gruss assumed the office of President of the MPG.

Funding is provided predominantly from federal and state sources, but also from research and license fees and donations. One of the larger donations from the Duke of Bavaria in 1967 was the castle Schloss Ringberg near Kreuth in Bavaria. The castle passed to the Max Planck Society after the death of the duke in 1973 and is now used for conferences.

Max Planck Institutes and Research Groups

The Max Planck Society consists of nearly 80 research institutes. In addition, the society funds a number of Max Planck Research Groups (MPRG) and International Max Planck Research Schools (IMPRS). The purpose of establishing independent research groups at various universities is to strengthen the required networking between universities and institutes of the Max Planck Society.

The research units are located all over Germany and in other European countries. The society established its first non-European centre, with an institute on the Jupiter campus of Florida Atlantic University focusing on bioimaging.[5]

The Max Planck Institutes operate independently from, though in close cooperation with, the universities, and focus on innovative research which does not fit into the university structure due to their interdisciplinary or transdisciplinary nature or which require resources that cannot be met by the state universities.

Internally, Max Planck Institutes are organized into research departments headed by directors such that each MPI has several directors, a position roughly comparable to anything from full professor to department head at a university.

Currently, the following institutes and research groups exist:

  • Max Planck Institute for Ornithology, [2]

International Max Planck Research Schools

Together with the Association of Universities and other Education Institutions in Germany, the Max Planck Society established numerous International Max Planck Research Schools (IMPRS) to promote junior scientists:

  • International Max Planck Research School on Adapting Behavior in a Fundamentally Uncertain World (Uncertainty School), at the Max Planck Institutes for Economics, for Human Development, and/or Research on Collective Goods.
  • International Max Planck Research School for Advanced Materials, Stuttgart
  • International Max Planck Research School for Analysis, Design and Optimization in Chemical and Biochemical Process Engineering Magdeburg
  • International Max Planck Research School for Astronomy and Cosmic Physics, Heidelberg at the MPI for Astronomy
  • International Max Planck Research School for Astrophysics, Garching at the MPI for Astrophysics
  • International Max Planck Research School for Complex Surfaces in Material Sciences Berlin
  • International Max Planck Research School for Computer Science Saarbrücken
  • International Max Planck Research School for Earth System Modeling Hamburg
  • International Max Planck Research School for Elementary Particle Physics MPI for Physics
  • International Max Planck Research School for Environmental, Cellular and Molecular Microbiology, Marburg at the Max Planck Institute for Terrestrial Microbiology
  • International Max Planck Research School for Evolutionary Biology Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Biology
  • International Max Planck Research School for Global Biogeochemical Cycles Jena
  • International Max Planck Research School on Gravitational Wave Astronomy MPI for Gravitational Physics
  • International Max Planck Research School for Language Sciences Nijmegen
  • Göttingen
  • International Max Planck Research School for Neural & Behavioural Sciences Tübingen
  • International Max Planck Research School for Marine Microbiology (MarMic) Jacobs University Bremen
  • International Max Planck Research School for Maritime Affairs Hamburg
  • International Max Planck Research School for Molecular and Cellular Biology, Freiburg
  • Munich
  • Göttingen
  • International Max Planck Research School for Molecular Cell Biology and Bioengineering Dresden
  • International Max Planck Research School Molecular Biomedicine Max Planck Institute for Molecular Biomedicine
  • International Max Planck Research School on Physical Processes in the Solar System and Beyond, Katlenburg-Lindau at the MPI for Solar System Research
  • International Max Planck Research School for Astronomy and AstrophysicsMPI for Radio Astronomy, formerly known as the International Max Planck Research School for Radio and Infrared Astronomy
  • International Max Planck Research School for the Social and Political Constitution of the Economy Cologne
  • International Max Planck Research School for Surface and Interface Engineering in Advanced Materials, Düsseldorf at Max Planck Institute for Iron Research GmbH
  • International Max Planck Research School for Ultrafast Imaging and Structural Dynamics Hamburg
  • The Max Planck Centre for Attosecond Science (MPC-AS), POSTECH Pohang
  • The Max Planck POSTECH Center for Complex Phase Materials, POSTECH Pohang

Former institutes

Among others:

Discrimination controversy

In 2004 there was a controversy regarding the employment of foreign workers. Allegedly, foreign PhD students were systematically granted worse contracts than Germans were. The case was brought to the European Civil Court by Andrea Raccanelli and is well documented on his website.[6] The court ruled that the MPG must observe the principle of non-discrimination in relation to workers.[7] Recent developments on the issue include an article in the German newspaper Der Spiegel denouncing unfair working conditions,[8] the reply by the MPS supporting the working conditions offered to PhD students,[9] and a complaint in Parliament by the German party Die Linke.[10]

Nobel Laureates

Max-Planck-Society (since 1948)

Kaiser-Wilhelm-Society (1914-1948)

See also

Literature

  • Alison Abbott: German science starts facing up to its historical amnesia, in: Nature Vol 403 (2000), S.474f. (article about the Commission for the history of the Kaiser-Wilhelm-Gesellschaft under National Socialism)
  • Gretchen Vogel: Aufbau Ost: Max Planck's East German Experiment, in: Science Vol. 326, 6. November 2009 (about the new institutes in the eastern part of Germany)

References

External links

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