Currently, the MPG operates about 80 own institutes and research units.
The central decision-making and supervisory body of the MPG is the Senate. It consists of Senators elected in the General Meeting as well as the official Senators. The Senate elects the President and, from among its members, the Members of the Executive Committee. Furthermore, it decides on the establishment or closure of institutes and departments and the appointment of the Scientific Members and institute directors. It also approves the overall budget and the annual accounts.
In the multitrack system of research funding for institutions in Germany, the MPG does not work on all areas of science and all topics but primarily on new, particularly innovative research areas which are not, or not sufficiently, addressed at the institutions of higher education in Germany or do not fit into the organization of institutions of higher education due to their interdisciplinary nature.
Max Planck institutes are thus complementary to higher education research; they have a focus on some areas and a complementary function in others.
The outstanding position of the MPG in the German research environment and in an international context is based on the internationally renowned research achievements of its scientific members. This is highlighted not least by the large number of coveted prizes, including 16 Nobel prizes since 1954 - eleven since 1984. Another success factor is the basic funding for institutions at the MPG. The Society successfully uses the resulting scientific autonomy to identify future-oriented research areas, which have not been sufficiently developed so far, to attract the best researchers worldwide and to take a leading role in a number of research areas. Outstanding Centres of Excellence have been created in international comparison.
The work of the MPG and its collaborations are interdisciplinary in principle. By means of a well-coordinated system of internal and external evaluations, the MPG ensures the quality of its performance at a high level. Areas of work which no longer meet the criteria of highest quality and orientation to the future are closed.
Its many collaborations at national level and in international competition make the MPG a central hub in the network of the German research system.
The Max Planck Society was established in 1948 in the tradition of the former Kaiser Wilhelm Society as a non-profit research organization. It has the legal form of a registered association with its legal seat in Berlin; the President and the Administrative Headquarters of the MPG are located in Munich.
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