"Research at the frontiers of knowledge provides the basis for the development of innovations. Promoting such research ranks among the most important tasks of the modern state. Private sponsors can ensure that we are able to structure and expand our research with greater flexibility."
(Prof. Dr. Peter Gruss, former President of the Max Planck Society)
To finance its 80 institutes, the Max Planck Society has at its disposal an annual budget in the order of 1.3 billion euros – a modest enough sum in comparison with America’s elite universities. It fills us with pride that with these limited funds we are nevertheless able to engage in cutting-edge research. At the same time we feel an obligation to exercise the greatest care in applying this budget, the lion’s share of which – some 97 percent – is derived from the coffers of the public sector.
Knowledge is public property. As basic research helps to safeguard our country’s future, because it not only enriches the culture and educational opportunities of our society but also secures prosperity and economic success, it must be facilitated and supported by the state.
However, the responsibility lies not only with the state – commitment is called for on the part of individuals as well. Our business enterprises also profit from scientific and social prosperity. Therefore, committed private-sector support for science is indispensable for our common good. Patrons who invest in the pioneering research conducted by the Max Planck Society give more than just money. They lend their name to the cause they support and set a marker of what matters to them in life. They set standards, and through their endowment or donation they facilitate tangible progress.