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Doktor Ludwig Kronthaler, Friede Springer, Bundesministerin Professor Doktor Annette Schavan, Doktor Günter Stock und Bundestagspräsidentin außer Dienst Professor Doktor Rita Süssmuth

Max Planck Society (MPG)

The Max Planck Society (MPG) supports non-university research and conducts basic research in the sciences and humanities, as well as in engineering and the life sciences at its own institutes. About 95 per cent of the MPG funds come from the public purse, the remaining 5 per cent from membership fees, donations and own earnings. The Federal Government and the Länder each contribute 50 per cent to the public funds.


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.

Working procedures at the MPG:

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 MPG supports non-university basic research in the areas of biological and medical research, of chemical, physical and technical research and of research in the humanities.
  • The MPG provides outstanding researchers with particularly good working conditions in institutes in particularly important or future-oriented, internationally competitive areas of basic research (research leadership function).
  • It implements research projects which are so large or require such special equipment or so much funding that they cannot or not yet be managed by the institutions of higher education, and it provides research resources for joint use with other science organizations (supporting and complementary function).
  • Since 1969, the MPG has been supporting particularly talented young scientists within the framework of fixed-term independent junior research groups. The young scientists, who are selected in an international competition, are given the opportunity to lay the foundations for a successful career as scientists in a first phase of independent research on the basis of a limited but secured budget.
  • The International Max Planck Research Schools offers German and foreign students an opportunity to prepare for their PhD examinations at selected locations under the excellent research and learning conditions provided at the Max Planck institutes and neighbouring universities; the examinations can then be taken at the university involved. Half of all students of International Max Planck Research Schools  come from abroad.

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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© 08/29/2015 00:07 Bundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung