Supporting Members

Personal Supporting Members

List of individuals supporting the Max-Planck-Society as members (PDF). [more]

Corporative Supporting Members

List of the corporations and institutions supporting the Max Planck Society as members (PDF). [more]

Supporting Members

Discover the joy of helping friends - and make new friends while doing so!

The Max Planck Society has a very special circle of friends: the Supporting Members. Individuals (Personal Supporting Members) and companies, legal representatives and associations (Corporative Supporting Members) support the Max Planck Society in a variety of ways: they are information disseminators for the issues of the Max Planck Society and can open doors. By means of private financing, they enable special donation projects to be implemented for which there is no public funding available.

Above all, however, Supporting Members can become actively involved in the concerns of the Max Planck Society: they have a seat and a voice in the General Meeting.

The fact that the Society is a legal entity constituted under private law (an incorporated association) contributes significantly to the scientific autonomy of the Max Planck Society: for this reason, being anchored in influential parts of society is of central importance, as is the support from the Supporting Members – something which is reflected in the selection and admissions procedure.

Annual Meeting 2014: special programme and Supporting Members lunch at the MPI for Ornithology, site Seewiesen. Zoom Image
Annual Meeting 2014: special programme and Supporting Members lunch at the MPI for Ornithology, site Seewiesen.

This is also taken into account in terms of the interaction between the Society and the Supporting Members: they receive all the main publications of the Max Planck Society along with an exclusive monthly newsletter and invitations to events held by the institutes and Administrative Headquarters.

The Annual Assembly is a culmination of these exchange activities within the Max Planck Society: the Supporting Members meet for a period of two days with the Scientific Members, where they receive first-hand updates on current research results. In addition, as part of the programme, Supporting Members are exclusively looked after by a special team.

Admissions procedure

The Senate decides on the admission of new Supporting Members by statute. Discussions are held by the Selection Committee on suitable individuals, companies and institutions, and these are then invited to submit an application to become a Supporting Member.

The Selection Committee consists of five representatives from important committees and bodies:

  • Presidium

Prof. Dr. Angela D. Friederici (Vice President for the Human Sciences Section), Chairperson

  • Senate

Dr. Stefan von Holtzbrinck (Chairman of the Management Board of Georg von Holtzbrinck GmbH & Co.KG)

  • Personal Supporting Members

Heiner van de Loo (Managing Partner of Zahnradwerk Pritzwalk GmbH)

  • Corporative Supporting Members

Dr. Siegfried Dais (former Deputy Chair of the Executive Board of Robert Bosch GmbH)

  • Administrative Headquarters

Dr. Ludwig Kronthaler (Secretary General)

Personal Supporting Members

Dr. jur. Frauke Schreiter and Dr. med. Friedemann Schreiter Zoom Image
Dr. jur. Frauke Schreiter and Dr. med. Friedemann Schreiter

“We support the research of the Max Planck Society because we are impressed by the researchers’ creativity and their innate desire to know more – something that is given free reign in the Society. It is overwhelming to see the determination and perseverance with which the scientists pursue their goals. The Society’s endeavours to promote basic research are, without a doubt, worth every effort.”

(Dr. jur. Frauke Schreiter and Dr. med. Friedemann Schreiter, Personal Supporting Members since 1997)


For a list of the individuals who support the Max Planck Society as Personal Supporting Members, please click here.

Corporative Supporting Members

Dr. Stefan Marcinowski Zoom Image
Dr. Stefan Marcinowski

“Innovative solutions are what propel us ahead in international competition. For this reason, we need excellent basic research – and the Max Planck Society stands for this.”

(Dr. Stefan Marcinowski, former Member of the Board of BASF SE, Corporative Supporting Member since 1951)

For a list of the companies, legal representatives of public and private law, or legally independent foundations and associations that support the Max Planck Society as Corporative Supporting Members, please click here.


Donation projects

Many Supporting Members, in addition to their annual membership subscription, also support special projects that would otherwise be difficult to finance - thus impressively underlining their commitment and dedication to the Max Planck Society.

Donation project 2014:

How do pigeons find their way home?

Pigeons are talented navigators - but how they do it? Zoom Image
Pigeons are talented navigators - but how they do it?

Pigeons can find their way back over hundreds of miles, but we still do not know exactly how they navigate. This year's donations from the Supporting Members will predominantly be spent on a project to find out just how they do this. Birds are generally considered to have a poor sense of smell. Behavioural biologists from the Max Planck Institute for Ornithology plan to use an innovative experiment and a special set of tools to demonstrate in free-flying pigeons – never before done in real time – that birds do, in fact, use their sense of smell during navigation. Not only that, they even plan to demonstrate in which regions of the brain these processes take place – a minor methodological revolution, given that this would be the first measurement of brain activity in free-moving vertebrates. We are delighted at the assistance being provided by the Supporting Members and will be reporting on developments as they happen..

Donation project 2013:

Historical guide and exhibition system

The Harnack House in Berlin-Dahlem. Zoom Image
The Harnack House in Berlin-Dahlem.

We primarily intend to use donations made by Supporting Members this year for an innovative historical guide and exhibition system at Harnack House in Berlin-Dahlem. This Max Planck Society conference venue, which is steeped in tradition, is currently undergoing extensive renovation. A multi-faceted information system on the history of this unique building and its famous guests (including Albert Einstein, Max Planck, Otto Hahn, Harry S. Truman and Dwight D. Eisenhower) is to be integrated into the new interior architecture, linking in with the history of the Dahlem campus - the “German Oxford” - as a whole, by completion in summer 2014. We greatly appreciate the backing of the Supporting Members who will be able to experience the fascinating history of Harnack House for themselves after its reopening in 2014 via an information trail featuring presentations and audio and multimedia guides, or read up on it in planned accompanying publications in electronic and print format.

Donation project 2012:

Teaching Lab

IMPRS for Neural Circuits Zoom Image
IMPRS for Neural Circuits

The donations bestowed in 2012 by the Supporting Members have first priority for a teaching lab in the new building at the Max Planck Institute for Brain Research in Frankfurt am Main. Doctoral students and other qualified junior scientists will be able to work with the most modern neuroscience equipment and computer programs at this training laboratory; a training laboratory for future neuroscientists which has been unparalleled in Germany is now established and is utilized to a large extent by the International Max Planck Research School (IMPRS) for Neural Circuits founded in 2011. We particularly depend on private donations to fund equipment only used for teaching purposes and are therefore most grateful for the generous assistance offered by the Supporting Members.

Donation project 2011:

Support for a flight to the sun: SUNRISE 2

EUV-image of the sun Zoom Image
EUV-image of the sun

The donations bestowed in 2011 by the Supporting Members have first priority for making a second flight of the sun observatory SUNRISE possible. This special observatory of the Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research in Katlenburg-Lindau observes our central constellation from a balloon filled with helium seen at a height of 37 kilometres. In this manner it is possible for the first time to clearly break down magnetic structures on the sun. This can help to determine in what way the sun affects the development of the climate. We are very thankful for the financial encouragement the Supporting Members have given to this spectacular project.

Donation project 2010:

Expanding support for junior scientists at the Max Planck Institute for Biology of Ageing in Cologne

The donations bestowed in 2010 have first priority for the expansion of an intensive promotion programme for junior scientists at the new Max Planck Institute for Biology of Ageing in Cologne. Here, a unique centre is being created in which the basics of healthy ageing are being researched on an interdisciplinary basis. As part of this research focus, which affects us all, an investment shall also be made in the qualification of the junior scientists. With the aid of these additional donations, which were contributed by more than half of the Supporting Members, the graduate programme can be supplemented with courses in adjacent fields, such as project management, communication and patents.

Support for doctoral students in field research

Casamance Zoom Image

In the summer of 2010, donators found themselves supporting doctoral students of the Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology in Halle (Saale) in specific language acquisition (e.g. Rendille, Swahili, Kriol, Uighur) in remote regions. The programme will run for two years, and each programme has ten doctoral students. The Max Planck Support Foundation provides half of the funding in each case.

Donation project 2009:

New library in Rome

Hertziana Mascherone Zoom Image
Hertziana Mascherone

In 2009, the donations were used for the Bibliotheca Hertziana, the Max Planck Institute for Art History in Rome: Here, the necessary expansion of the historically significant building presented the Max Planck Society with a major financial undertaking. In the excavation work for the construction of the new library, workers discovered the remains of the ancient “Garden of Lucullus”. Efforts to preserve this historical site significantly delayed construction time and resulted in considerably increased construction costs. More than half of the Supporting Members took this issue to heart and were extremely generous with their support.

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