History of the Max Planck Society

The Society

The Max Planck Society for the Advancement of the Sciences  is an independent, non-profit organisation. It was established on 26 February 1948 as the successor organisation of the Kaiser Wilhelm Society, itself founded in 1911. The Max Planck Society promotes research in its own institutes.

Max Planck Institutes carry on basic research in service to the general public in the areas of natural science, social science and the arts and humanities. In particular, the Max Planck Society takes up new and promising directions in research that the universities are still able to accommodate insufficiently, if at all. The reasons for this are either due to the fact that the interdisciplinary character of such research cannot fit into the universities’ organisational framework or because the costs for personnel and facilities that it demands are beyond the universities’ means. Max Planck Institutes, therefore, complement the work of the universities in important fields of research.

Finance:  Some 95% of the financial support received by the Max Planck Institute comes from public funds provided by the Federal government and the states. The remaining 5% stems from donations from members, contributions, and from its own earnings. The financial foundation of the Max Planck Society is a basic agreement between the Federal government and the individual German states. The agreement provides for jointly supported research in accordance with Article 91b of the German Constitution. A supplemental agreement regulates financial support for the Max Planck Society: half of the subsidies contributing to the Society’s budget are paid by the Federal Government and half by the states (Budget A). Moreover, financial assistance (special funds) exceeding the contributions allocated by one of the financial backers may be granted by the joint backers with the approval of all parties to the agreement.

Although funded by Federal and state subsidies, the Max Planck Society is not a state-run institution; on the contrary, it is registered under private law as an incorporated association. Membership is open to any natural or juristic person desirous of advancing science and scholarship. In addition, Association members are the Scientific Members appointed by the Max Planck Society who, as a rule, are also directors of the individual Max Planck Institutes.



On 26 February 1998 the Max Planck Society for the Advancement of Science (MPS) looks back on 50 years of successful research. For the achievements attained, it enjoys the highest recognition both nationally and internationally. 50 years of the Max Planck Society also indicates how very much research and science in German society are anchored and participate in that society and its historical development. Joined to the tradition of the Kaiser Wilhelm Society, the MPS obliges itself to scientific achievement of the highest order. In its research-oriented activities it is a matter of conservation and strengthening the performance of its institutes, which are engaged in epistemological and open-ended pure research in selected areas of natural science, social sciences and the humanities, thus making a contribution to the safeguarding of quality within the German research system as a whole.

But beyond its specific task, the Max Planck Society has always bound up its concern for an appropriate role and the proper advancement of research with an equal concern for the development of German society. Based on insights won directly and indirectly from research as well as the experience of MPS persons acting in the Society’s behalf, it has over the past 50 years often and actively “raised its voice” in the relevant social questions. Its plea for freedom in the development of the creative mind, the necessity of an achievement elite in research and science and a society capable of both further developing while remaining humane is as topical today as it was at the time of its Göttingen Founders Conference on 26 February 1948.

The 50s: Re-establishment and Reconstruction

Following the collapse of the Third Reich, for German science, as for many sectors of public life, the need for a new start was essential. The state of Germany’s institutions at the end of the war corresponded to the general chaos accompanying the defeat. The institutes of the Kaiser Wilhelm Society (KWS) founded in 1911, which the Max Planck Society considers its predecessor, were in part damaged or housed provisionally at various evacuation sites. With the unconditional capitulation and subsequent total occupation of the country, the fate of the German people lay in the hands of the Allies. The policies which the Allies foresaw for Germany were, as is now known, self-contradictory and, until the final dissolution of the alliance, subject to severe internal strains. The aim of “Protection from Germany” resulted initially in a shackling of research inside the country.

The years of the national socialist dictatorship had left doubts – above all in the minds of the Allies – as to the moral integrity of the internationally renowned scientific organization. A variety of KWS institute has been pressed into service for military research tasks during the war, individual scientists had trodden upon the fundamental ethical rules of science. The organization of the KWS had over the 13 years of National Socialist rule suffered a loss of its independence and forfeited its own ideals to such an extent that for many scientists of the KWS a new beginning appeared absolutely imperative. They were dependent in their determination alone on the conviction of their plea for the freedom of science and the social significance of pure research as well as upon the moral integrity of that personage who credibly personified the will to make a new beginning. Despite his advanced age of 86, Max Planck had in July of 1945 declared himself prepared to assume temporarily the Office of President until Otto Hahn returned from English internment. it was Otto Hahn, winner of the Nobel Prize for chemistry in 1944, upon whose shoulders from April 1946 the burden was placed of giving the former Kaiser Wilhelm Society along with the Max Planck Society a new and altered countenance.

The broad political changes which took place within few years following the end of W.W.II, and during which the aim of “Protection from Germany” was transformed into one of “Security with (West) Germany”, made possible the re-establishment of the KWS as the MPS and with that a rapid reconstruction of early and initial steps towards the erection of new institutes. The parallel to German Federal history is obvious. Analogous to the construction of the federal government, the MPS emerged thanks to the initiatives of individual institutes and the scientists at their helms. The founding of the Society on 26 February 1948 in Göttingen initially encompassed only those instituted situated in the British-American dual zone. In November 1949 the institutes of the French zone joined the Society. In 1953 the former Berlin institutes, which had meanwhile been reconstituted into the Deutsche Forschungshochschule (German Research College) passed over as well into the MPG.

The months of battling for its survival as a research organization after the end of W.W.II were followed by years of struggle to ensure a financing of the Society. In contrast to the superseded KWS, The MPS was, from the very outset, dependent upon the public funding of its institutes. In accordance with the federal structure, the responsibility of providing the MPS with basic financial means fell at first solely to the individual German states, in view of their sovereignty in cultural matters. Since the Society spoke with one voice for the entirety of its institutes, the states were compelled to coordinate among themselves their efforts to ensure financial backing. Even before the establishment of the Federal Republic itself, the cultural and finance minister of 11 states and West Berlin agreed on 24 March 1949 upon a “National Act for the Funding of Scientific Research Facilities”, the so-called “Königstein Act”, a financial arrangement which codified the common and sole responsibility of the individual states concerning the financial furthering of research and recognized the necessity of a permanent institutional funding for research facilities such as the Max Planck Society as a national obligation.

In retrospect, it noteworthy that within a few years a relationship of confidence and trust has developed between the public financing agencies and the Max Planck Society with respect to the proper utilization of public funds and equally remarkable how rapidly a cooperative negotiations style and procedural manner have established themselves among the persons concerned. Even at the beginning of the 50s the states transferred their financial support as a lump sum, i.e., neither bound to institute nor given on specific project-by-project basis. In doing such, they consciously made purely financial considerations subordinate to their trust in the performance of the MPG in questions of the efficient organization of their funding. Thus, MPS’s autonomy in research found its correspondence in the relationship of justified allotment and it remained so under the increasing co-funding on the part of the federal government for purposes of supra-regional research financing so welcomed by the Society. Regardless of the constitutional controversy concerning the allocation of responsibility in research policy, the federal government placed budgetary funds at the disposal of the MPS as early as 1956 for the development of foreign relations, the nurturing of a new generation of colleagues and the funding of special scientific tasks and objectives.

The question of safeguarding its autonomy was from the outset one of central concern. More intensively than under the Kaiser Wilhelm Society the ideal of autonomous pure research was appealed to during the re-establishment and reconstruction phase of the Max Planck Society under the presidency of Otto Hahn. The national-socialist dictatorship had demonstrated the Society’s easy vulnerability but also its worth, and not least promoted a concentration on primarily epistemological-oriented pure research, alleviating the initially restrictive statute of the Allied occupation authorities. “The Society,” as it stands in õ 1, paragraph 2 of the Founding Constitution of the MPS, “is an association of free research institutes, which is neither a part of the government nor private enterprise. It carries out scientific research in complete freedom and independence, without obligation to assignment, subject only to the law.” In scientific orientation the MPS distinguished itself from its predecessor first and foremost through the will to derive the purpose of its activities primarily from necessity which resulted from the scientific point originally in question and in its determination to allot the voice of the government and economy in decision-making procedures a much more minor role than was the case with the KWS.

The self-assigned role of the MPS as a organization of autonomous pure research of international repute took place against the backdrop of the general consensus prevalent across the research landscape in Germany which in the 50s became more differentiated and exhibited a more distinct division of labor. The strong concentration on pure research did not, however, exclude direct applications resulting from research projects carried out by the Max Planck Society; nor did the MPS failed to fail to engage in a discussion of the social and economic significance of its research activities. Thus, historical perspective places back into proper perspective the apparent topicality of today’s discussion concerning the relevance of research and a softening of the boundaries between pure and applied research. The MPS has never slackened in the attention it attaches to this “perennial” theme in research-related social debate, but has rather joined in the discussion over and again. In 1950, Carl Friedrich v. Weizsäcker, Scientific Member of the MPS for physics, devoted his ceremonial address presented to the General Meeting the topic “Where is Science Leading Us?” and formulated on that occasion: “The profit which science accrues us is three-fold. It is a increase of knowledge, an increase in the options to act and a win in the molding of conscious human personality. It is, to use three loan words, a theoretical, a practical and a moral plus” In 1957 the MPS broke with its own tradition of holding festive addresses of exclusively scientific nature and allowed its treasurer, the then head of the board of directors of the Gutehoffnungshütte, Hermann Reusch, to speak on “Modern Industrial Society in Its Relations to Research and Training”.

During the 50s and under the presidency of Otto Hahn, the MPS returned ever more to normalcy. Those were the years of rebuilding, the ever-increasing reintegration of German research in the international scientific arena, now conclusively dominated by the United States of America; those years were also witness to stabilization in both scientific and financial regard. The concentration of pure research and the striving for scientific excellence by institute directors form the two most important guidelines according to which exclusion, fusion and continuation of former research facilities of the KWS under the umbrella of the MPS were carried out and appointments made. Thus, some four institutes active in the area of plant cultivation and research positions were joined to the Max Planck Institute for Cultivation Research, a variety of institutes were moved or new-founded in altered constellations. The Institute for Phonometry, for research of vine cultivation and scientific study of instruments were either closed or transferred to an other sponsor. Further facilities, such as the Fraunhofer Radio Institute, an early form of today’s MPI for Aeronomy, were taken over under the sponsorship of the MPS.

The 50s were years in which the first steps towards a limited scientific restructuring could be undertaken. For instance, the MPS addressed itself to new research pivotal points such as behavioral psychology, chemistry of cells, aeromony and astrophysics, nuclear or plasma physics or the concentrations already being pursued such as virus research or physical chemistry. Scientific cooperation beyond German’s borders could be extended step by step. Particularly high expectations accompanied the establishment of contacts between scientists of the MPS and those of Israel’s Weizmann Institute in 1959. The successes of stabilization and restructuring were also clearly reflected in the budget and personnel statistics of the Society. At the time of its founding in the year 1948, the MPS embraced 25 institutes and research positions with a budget of approximately 7 million deutschmarks. When in June of 1960, Otto Hahn transferred the Office of President to his successor Adolf Butenandt, Nobel Prize Winner for chemistry in 1939, the Society tallied 40 institutes and research installations, with altogether 2 600 employees (of whom some 750 were scientists) and had at its disposal a budget of almost 80 million deutschmarks.

The 60s: Growth, Innovation and Financial Planning Security

The 60s meant for the MPS an unparalleled phase of upswing and further scientific development. Within six years the number of research installations rose to 52 in 1966. At the beginning of the 70s the MPS had 8 000 employees, of whom 2 000 were scientists. With the number of new establishments and the extension of sectional structures in the institutes, the number of directorial staff doubled. In a single decade the budget of the MPS grew to more than 400 million deutschmarks in 1970.

The Growth of research capacities as reflected in the numerical relations was at any rate not a specific growth of the MPS. It was a general growth, one of the capacities of all research and scientific organizations, as well as that evident in most other social sectors. Nevertheless, the MPS had to substantiate this growth in specifics and also come to grips with the consequences of this same growth process. For this reason, for the MPS the 50s were a period of justifying its financial requirements vis-à-vis government and society, as well as years of hard, critical self-examination and self-ascertainment with respect to the correctness of its course of expansion and the determination of basic points of concentration for scientific endeavor, its relationship to institutes of higher learning and to the government as well as to its own internal procedural avenues via which the MPS reached its decisions of scientific policy

The Society justified its rate of growth with reference to the backwardness of German research compared against the international standard, with the over-proportional cost increase of research which was, in many areas, demanding ever larger and more cost- intensive large-scale equipment. Over and again the Society justified its growth with reference to the opportunities which offered themselves in many of these fields to a state-of-the-art research organization. And in many of those same fields, the Society was able to present convincing proposals for the founding of institutes, from both the standpoints of staffing and overall conception. Thus arose in those years new large research centers of international dimensions in biochemistry, biophysical chemistry, molecular genetics, immune biology, biological cybernetics and cellular biology. New, elaborate research endeavors in physics and chemistry of interdisciplinary character were launched. Institutes in the areas of radio astronomy, optical astronomy, space research and solid-state physics were projected and realized. Likewise the humanities, which up to that point had enjoyed the status of a poor relative, received in those years greater acceptance to the research family of the MPS. In the realm of law and jurisprudence, institutes were founded concentrating on European legal history, criminal law as well as patent and copyright and laws regulating fair competition practices. With the founding of an institute for educational research and the study of living conditions in the scientific-technical world, the social sciences also found a place of their own in the MPS catalogue of achievements.

With all these new founding activities, the MPS was able to achieve a more distinct contour projected against the scientific sphere in general. With the establishment of the institute for plasma physics in 1960, the Society demonstrated the determination and competence also to enter research areas and realize results, when such undertakings, considered from the standpoint of basic formulation of research direction as well as necessary time-and-expense factors, would normally be placed squarely in the realm of so-called “Big Science”. Neither the efforts required in researching nor the actual area of research was to determine whether the MPS would set itself to the task. Much more, alone the quality of the basic question or the availability of suitable managerial staff should be the factors determining whether funding within the framework of the Society were possible. And one further criterion had to be fulfilled: the MPS was only to promote those areas which could not otherwise be supported or were not already receiving such support.

As early as the 1960s the fundamental principles of research promotion through the MPS had already crystallized within its scientific sphere, just as they correspond to the way the Society views itself even today. In the system of institutional research promotion, the Max Planck Society is allotted the assignment of determining focal points in the vanguard of research and assuming complementary functions, in particular with respect to university research inasmuch as it

Offers in its institutes the best possible working conditions to outstanding researchers active in especially important or promising areas of international competition of epistemological and open-end pure research (research sponsor function),
Takes up new research areas in both emergent areas not yet taught at university level (Innovation and Catalyst Function) and

In areas of research in which it is only practicable to work as an interdisciplinary organization (Interdisciplinary Function),
Research intention carried out with considerable requirements for equipment intended for common use by other scientific organizations (Complementary and Supportive Functions).
During the dynamic growth phase of the 1960s, the question as to the procedure according to which the focal points of scientific policy were determined forced itself into the research-related debate. The significance of perspective research planning- be it through the government or autonomous organizations – as well as the possibilities and limits of the direct economic utilization of pure scientific research were not less vigorously discussed than are such concerns today. In the selection and realization of its research projects the MPS has over and again laid claim to the freedom of choice on the part of its scientific staff, appointed according to the strictest quality standards, and held itself responsible to government and society for the trust placed in it through excellence of research achievements, efficient organizational structures and active participation in social dialogue, particularly in questions relating to the ethical responsibility of the scientist.

In retrospect, the combination of self-confident, even “pushy” demeanor with regard to policy-makers in the annual budget negotiations and self-critical examination of its own research organization and the search for possibilities of improving appear the hallmarks of the 1960. Alongside its policy of forced new establishments, the Society transformed its relations to institutes of higher learning and the international exchange of scholars. To an ever greater degree the promotion of the up-and-coming generation advanced to center stage. Thus, as early as 1969 the MPS founded, with the Fredric Mister Laboratories in Tübingen, the first independent “new generation” groups. In their internal structure as well the Society endeavored to do justice to the ever-growing and constantly developing business of research. In the first reform of statutes in 1964, the principle of collegial institute management was introduced and the responsibility of the president for the development of scientific police was particularly underlined. In a further far-reaching statute reform the MPS reacted in its own way to the striving for reform expressed by the student protest movement which took place in federal German society at the beginning of the 70s: With the institution of a permanent Senate committee, for research policy and research planning steps towards the establishment of a strategic development planning for the Society was introduced. To scientists below the performance level of the Society were granted under the new statute rights of co-determination in the development of their particular institutes and the Society as a whole. The performance function of institute directors was abridged temporarily and with the convocation of first-rate professional advisory panels even at this point elements of regular evaluation of Max Planck institutes by external experts were introduced.

The Max Planck Society grew in the knowledge that growth represents no value in itself. The courage of leaving a few empty spaces in the catalogue was elevated to a principle. The Society was always clear on this point and had always publicly stated that it was only able to fulfill the high demands of optimal achievement of existing institutes under the condition that the scope of its duties be limited. With their annual rate of real growth the 60s opened up great development opportunities as well as heightened awareness as to which problems growth leaves in its wake. In the early 70s, however, the MPS learned – along with German society as a whole – that the limits of growth are someday reached and that new freedom to decide and act are not alone a matter of gaining a fat budget hike.

The 70s and 80s: Striving for Innovation in the Shadow of Financial Stagnation

The decisions to establish new institutes in the 60s still made their effects felt in the beginning of the 70s. From the middle of the 70s, however, the MPS suddenly found itself staggering under the burden of stagnating budgets in real terms. Even if in the years previous new research topics were taken up through the shifting of internal priorities and reshuffling, the Society could not long reckon with further expansion. The ability of the Society to call forth scientific innovation of its own devices was put to the test. The founding of new institutes was only possible through the renaming or shutting down of entire institutes in other locations. The restructuring and thematic shift of emphasis affecting whole institutes on the occasion of a director’s taking his leave assumed major importance. The sustaining of research under conditions of stagnating budget became the first great challenge to President Reimar Lüst. The astrophysicist had assumed office in summer of 1972 from Adolf Butenandt and, like his predecessor, was to remain in office twelve years.

And like his predecessor in office Reimar Lüst saw himself vis-à-vis politics and the public as a “lobbyist for the future”, one who would sound the trumpet for the enhanced role for science and research in society and call for sufficient funding. Efforts to attain a hearing for this message increased, nationally and internationally, in politics and public relations, and, thanks to its own research reporting media, since 1972 the MPS offers a glance behind the scientific scenes. Internally, however, President Lüsts’s efforts resulted in letting MPS’s “closure culture” appear in even starker relief. In the interim between 1972 and 1984 20 institutes and/or sections were shut down. And altogether around 550 positions were revamped for other research activities.

The decision to cease certain research activities made possible the assumption of innovative research topics. New forms of research promotion such as temporary research groups, especially in the area of clinical research as well as project groups were introduced, participation in large-scale research projects (e.g. BESSY, EISCAT, IRAM) increased. Eleven institutes, in part emerging from project groups, could be founded. In the Biological Medicine Section rose up the sectors endocrinology, neurology, psychology and psycholinguistics, while labor physiology and virus research received new orientation towards system physiology or developmental biology. The Chemical Physical Technical Section grew through the acquisition of an institute for mathematics, meteorology, quantum optics, radiochemistry and polymer research, the humanities section received an institute for social research and social legislation.

In the 70s the Max Planck Society expanded its international activities even further. 1974 saw the first verbal agreement on exchange of scholars between the MPS and the Chinese Academy of Sciences. The written accord is the foundation of the German-Chinese scientific relations even today. Further, the institutes received additional means to an increased extent in those years, in order that they continue to extend their international contacts. Yet despite the flurry of activities, worries concerning the ability to develop further in the face of stagnating budgets continued to plague the Society. Demands for financial security in planning matters and adequate consideration of the financial needs of state-of-the-art research characterized President Heinz A. Staab’s term of office; he presided over the Society from the summer of 1984 for the next six years. During his time in office the consequences of budget stagnation left their mark in even clearer form than was the case in the 1970s. Despite forced efforts to rename positions inside the Society the freedom to found new institutes continued to dwindle. The budget structure, the relationship between personnel expenses and research-related work and investment expenses hit a new low. A new founding resulted only in small scale and was in general temporally restricted to the level of project and “younger generation” groups (among them cognitive anthropology, structural microbiology, rheumatology, Max Delbrück Laboratories). To an ever great extent the glance was directed inward in search of further flexibility. in order to keep a door open for younger personnel. The interactive relationship between rising government financing and regressive institutional funding bound to specific goals was the subject of critical discussion. The dialogue with the Society, whether in questions of critical occupation with its own past, or in questions of ethical fundamentals in the area of biomedicine research, was pursued with intensified efforts.

Only towards the end of the 80s was a breakthrough achieved in the finance question. In December of 1989 the governing parties at the federal and state levels gave an unmistakable demonstration of their support for a preferred promotion of scientific excellence and financial security of future planning for both leading organizations in the area of pure research. The budgets of the DFG and the MPS were to grow annually by 5%. The MPS would be in a position thanks to this increase to open three new institutes in the areas of information science, marine biology and terrestrial microbiology. Even though no new posts were assigned, it was again possible to provide every German state with at least one Max Planck institute.

The 90s: Growth and Consolidation under the Dual Stars of German Unification and Quality Guarantee

When President Staab transferred his office to the attorney-at-law Hans F. Zacher, the unification of the two German states appeared on the horizon. As unforeseeable as the chance for unification appeared years before, and as much as it caught the political, economic, scientific and social sectors unaware, just as earthshaking was the need to act and seize the moment, all within a matter of months. At the same time the accelerated process of European unification placed German research configurations under pressure to adapt. For the MPS, German unification meant both challenge and opportunity in one. It shared the political consensus, which set as its goal the establishment of a uniform and balanced research landscape. For the MPS this meant first and foremost a construction aim of 20 institutes, whose quality as international centers of excellence had to be ensured both in personnel and with respect to overall conception. This excluded a hasty, across-the-board appearance on the scene of the MPS in the eastern part of Germany. Therefore, the Society resolved to adopt, alongside its long-term program of institute establishment, an immediate package of measures. It conceived of and financed 27 workshops for five years and thus alleviated their integration in institutes of higher learning through additional project promotion. In addition, it set up two temporary branches of Max Planck institutes and took seven temporary focal points of research in humanities in its care.

Parallel to these immediate measures, the MPS continued with the founding of new institutes. The qualitative and temporal dimensions of the establishment program became a test of stress and strain for the scientific committees. With a high degree of involvement on the part of its scientific staff, administrative personnel and help volunteered from outside the challenge was met and mastered. Step by step the MPS achieved the goal it set for itself: 17 institutes, on part-institute and one research station were founded. Since 1991 the MPS has funneled all in all around one billion deutuschmarks in the new German states. In the final phase the new institutes will have some 1 500 posts and a budget volume of approximately 400 million deutschmarks annually. Forty percent of the directors appointed thus far have come from aboard. They work alongside with their German colleagues in areas of research with definite interdisciplinary character dealing with research questions which have until now not been subjected to scientific scrutiny by German researchers, or, in some cases, the significance of the project has even escaped notice internationally. (cf. Survey of New Foundings).

The challenge which went hand-in-hand with such giddy growth happened also to coincide with the Society’s need to economize in the “old” Federal Republic. Early in President Zacher’s term of office the process of “Rebuilding East” ran parallel with the closure of entire sections and decision to make no new appointments in the western part of the country. With the “Federal Consolidation Program”, the federal government and the states made it incumbent upon the Society to economize approximate 11% of its posts (about 740). The nominal hikes in budgetary funds flowed nearly without exception to the newly founded institutes with the consequence that the institutes, in the west found themselves running at a loss. President Hubert Markl, who had assumed his duties in the summer of 1996, saw himself obliged to set forth even more vigorously the course of consolidation his predecessor had pursued. Besides numerous further sections closures and post reductions, the Society has resolved over the past year to close four institutes (cell biology, Gmelin Institute, behavioral psychology and biology), along with one partial closure (aeronomy).

Thus with the simultaneousness of construction and deconstruction in the 90s, the Max Planck Society underwent a development which is also characteristic for a Germany which has enlarged its own borders. The generous willingness of the federal government and the states to finance the Society’s establishment program in full will result in enhanced research opportunities for the MPS. The determination on the part of political leaders ,of which this support is an expression, is for the Max Planck Society recognition and obligation in one. The MPS will carry on in its efforts to return the trust placed in it through providing excellent research achievements in service of society.

The MPS looks back over 50 years of success-crowned achievement performed by its institutes in research. Fifteen of its scientific colleagues have thus far been awarded with the Nobel Prize (s. appendix). Fifty years of the MPS also demonstrate how very much these research organizations were and are an active component of all-round social development in Germany. The safeguarding of scientific excellence in their research activities is its supreme goal. And towards this goal 80 facilities of the MPS, with some 2 750 scientific staff and over 6 400 student assistants, doctoral candidates, “post-docs” and visiting scholars at present devote their efforts. The task of the Max Planck Society is guaranteeing excellence in science demands constant examination and adaptation of its structures. Looking back, it appears obvious that the MPS, pressed into the vanguard through its purpose and own view of itself as an organization of state-of-the-art research, has always been in a state of change as well. And in years to come, reforms will also determine the scientific policy agenda of the Society. The aim of such reforms will always remain the same as that which the Society has set for itself since its own founding. The optimization of its policies of appointments and new establishments, based on staff and conceptions, the review and adaptation of its mechanisms of evaluation and a success-yielding mean apportionment as well a the on-going search for the best possible organization of concrete research in practice will continue in the future to serve the purpose of ensuring and developing a state-of-the-art research second to none in the institutes of the MPS. This requires, besides its own efforts, the support and cooperation of all who wish to bring forth knowledge and innovation for the future and whose concern it is to achieve finally a society capable both of further development while always remaining humane.

Dr. Bernd Ebersold [ Max Planck Society]


Max Planck Institute of Aeronomy, Katlenburg-Lindau
Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, Leipzig
Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology, Halle/Saale
Max Planck Institute of Astronomy, Heidelberg
Max Planck Institute of Astrophysics, Garching
Max Planck Institute of Behavioral Physiology, Seewiesen
Bibliotheca Hertziana – Max Planck Institute, Rome
Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry, Martinsried
Max Planck Institute of Biogeochemistry, Jena
Max Planck Institute of Biology, Tübingen
Max Planck Institute of Biophysics, Frankfurt/Main
Max Planck Institute for Brain Research, Frankfurt/Main
Max Planck Institute of Cell Biology, Ladenburg b. Heidelberg
Max Planck Institute of Molecular Cell Biology and Genetics, Dresden
Max Planck Institute of Chemistry (Otto Hahn Institute), Mainz
Max Planck Institute for Biophysical Chemistry (Karl Friedrich Bonhoeffer Institute), Göttingen
Max Planck Institute of Cognitive Neuroscience, Leipzig
Max Planck Institute of Coal Research, Mülheim/Ruhr
Max Planck Institute of Colloids and Interfaces, Berlin and Golm
Max Planck Institute for Computer Science, Saarbrücken
Max Planck Institute for Foreign and International Criminal Law, Freiburg
Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics, Tübingen
Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock
Max Planck Institute of Developmental Biology, Tübingen
Max Planck Institute for Dynamics of Complex Technical Systems, Magdeburg
Max Planck Institute of Chemical Ecology, Jena
Max Planck Institute of Research into Economic Systems, Jena
Max Planck Institute of Experimental Endocrinology, Hannover
Research Laboratory „Enzymology of the Peptide Bond“, Halle/Saale
Max Planck Institute of Flow Research, Göttingen
Friedrich Miescher Laboratory, Tübingen
Fritz Haber Institute, Berlin
Max Planck Institute for Molecular Genetics, Berlin
Max Planck Institute of Gravitational Physics (Albert Einstein Institute), Golm
Max Planck Institute of History, Göttingen
Max Planck Institute for the History of Science, Berlin
Max Planck Institute for Human Development and Education, Berlin
Max Planck Institute of Immunbiology, Freiburg
Max Planck Institute for Infection Biology, Berlin
Max Planck Institute of Iron Research, Düsseldorf
Max Planck Institute of Limnology, Plön
Max Planck Project Group „Law of Common Goods“, Bonn
Max Planck Institute of European Legal History, Frankfurt/Main
Max Planck Institute of Mathematics, Bonn
Max Planck Institute for Mathematics in the Sciences, Leipzig
Max Delbrück Laboratory, Köln
Max Planck Institute for Medical Research, Heidelberg
Max Planck Institute for Experimental Medicine, Göttingen
Max Planck Institute of Metals Research, Stuttgart
Max Planck Institute for Meteorology, Hamburg
Max Planck Institute for Marine Microbiology, Bremen
Max Planck Institute for Terrestrial Microbiology, Marburg
Max Planck Institute of Microstructure Physics, Halle/Saale
Research Units of Structural Molecular Biology at DESY, Hamburg
Max Planck Institute of Neurobiology, Theoretical Institute, Martinsried
Max Planck Institute of Neurological Research, Köln
Max Planck Institute of Nuclear Physics, Heidelberg
Research Center for Ornithology of the Max Planck Society, Andechs
Max Planck Institute of Foreign and International Patent, Copyright and Competition Law, München
Max Planck Institute of Physics (Werner Heisenberg Institute), München
Max Planck Institute of Extraterrestrial Physics, Garching
Max Planck Institute for the Physics of Complex Systems, Dresden
Max Planck Institute of Molecular Physiology, Dortmund
Max Planck Institute for Physiological and Clinical Research (W.G. Kerckhoff Institute and Kerckhoff Clinic), Bad Nauheim
Max Planck Institute for Plant Breeding Research, Köln
Max Planck Institute of Molecular Plant Physiology, Golm
Max Planck Institute of Plasma Physics, Garching
Max Planck Institute of Polymer Research, Mainz
Max Planck Institute for Foreign and International Private Law, Hamburg
Max Planck Institute of Psychiatry, München
Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics, Nijmegen
Max Planck Institute for Psychological Research, München
Max Planck Institute for Comparative Public Law and International Law, Heidelberg
Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics, Garching
Max Planck Institute of Radiation Chemistry, Mülheim/Ruhr
Max Planck Institute of Radioastronomy, Bonn
Max Planck Institute for Foreign and International Social Law, München
Max Planck Institute for the Study of Societies, Köln
Max Planck Institute for Solid-State Chemical Physics, Dresden
Max Planck Institute for Solid-State Physics, Stuttgart

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