Max Planck Society

The Max-Planck-Gesellschaft zur Förderung der Wissenschaften e. V. (abbreviated MPG, meaning Max Planck Society for the Advancement of Science) is an independent German non-profit research organization funded by the federal and state governments.

The Max Planck Society has a world-leading reputation as a science & technology research organization. In 2006, the Times Higher Education Supplement rankings 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 and the Argonne National Laboratory in the United States).

Max-Planck-Gesellschaft operates 80 research institutes all over Germany (and in some cases in other European countries), which usually bear the name "Max Planck Institute (MPI) of ...". Their task is basic research in the natural sciences as well as in the social sciences and humanities.

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. They focus on excellence in research, with 17 Nobel prizes awarded to their scientists since 1948, and are generally regarded as the foremost basic research organization in Germany.

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. The Max Planck society itself is formally an eingetragener Verein, a legal form of organization similar to a club, with the directors as scientific members having equal voting rights, and since 2002 headed by cell biologist Peter Gruss. 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.

The Max Planck Society was founded by Otto Hahn in Göttingen after World War II in 1948 as the successor organization to the Prussian Kaiser-Wilhelm-Gesellschaft, which was established in 1911 as a non-governmental research organization named for the then German emperor and presided by famous scientists like Albert Einstein. The society's logo features Minerva, the Roman goddess of wisdom. If its direct predecessor is included, the Max Planck Society has won more Nobel Prizes than any other academic institution in the world.

The institutes have a total staff of approx. 12,300 permanent employees, including 4,200 scientists, plus around 9000 non-tenured scientists and guests. Their budget for 2006 was about 1.4 billion euro, with 84% from state and federal funds.

Apart from the research departments, the society funds a number of Independent Junior Research Groups and several International Max Planck Research Schools (43 at the end of 2005).

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-Gesellschaft, a network of the national laboratories in Germany, and the Leibniz-Gemeinschaft, a loose network of institutes performing basic to applied research.

The society is currently planning its first non-European centre, with an institute on the Jupiter campus of Florida Atlantic University to focus on bioimaging.


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Max Planck institutes

Here is a list of the institutes, the names translated into English:

Research schools

List of presidents of the MPG

Former institutes

Among others:

See also


External links

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