Top-ranking scientists can pick and choose where they want to conduct their research. They go where they find the best conditions for their work. The Max Planck Society is a national and international icon of German research, which is why it attracts scientists from all over the world. More than 6,000 foreign visiting and junior researchers work at the various Max Planck Institutes each year. A third of the Max Planck Directors and half of the Ph.D. students hold a non-German passport. Among postdocs, the figure is even higher, at 80 percent.
Junior scientists who come from outside Germany and whose research work and talent set them apart can, upon returning to their home country after completing a research residency at a Max Planck Institute, establish a partner group with support from the Max Planck Society. There are now more than 40 partner groups working in Asia, Eastern Europe and South America. They are important bridgeheads for German science abroad.
The establishment of International Max Planck Centers is another step toward expanding the Max Planck Society's research spectrum at the international level. In 2005, together with the Chinese Academy of Sciences, it established an institute for "Computational and Theoretical Biology" in Shanghai. Further Max Planck Centers are planned in Argentina, India and Canada.
Currently, a Max Planck Institute for Bioimaging is being set up in Florida under the Max Planck Society umbrella, financed by the State of Florida and Palm Beach County. There are also plans to establish further Max Planck Institutes around Europe.