India is developing into a global player of the 21st century, and one with major economic and scientific potential – which also makes it an attractive partner for the Max Planck Society. Conversely, interest in Germany by young Indian junior scientists as well as in the Max Planck Society is also growing: between 2000 and 2011, the number of these individuals in the promotion of foreign doctoral students rose from 3.1 to 11.5%.
One more reason for putting the collaboration with India on a new footing. On October 6, 2004, Max Planck President Peter Gruss and State Secretary V.S. Ramamurthy, in the presence of the then Federal Chancellor Gerhard Schröder and the Indian Minister for Science and Technology M. Kapil Sibal, signed a Memorandum of Understanding in New Delhi on the future scientific cooperation between the two countries. The contract provides various tools for strengthening the scientific cooperation between the Max Planck Society and research institutes in India.
The newly-established cooperation with India is turning into a success story: in 2011, more than 640 junior and guest scientists from India visited Max Planck institutes - a rise of more than 30% in the past six years. In terms of the international exchange of young scientists, this has made India one of the largest partner countries of the Max Planck Society. In 2011, almost every ninth foreign doctoral student at Max Planck institutes came from India. Many of them are involved in research as part of an International Max Planck Research School (IMPRS). Indian doctoral students form the largest group of doctoral students at the IMPRS.
In addition, there are almost 50 project cooperations between Max Planck institutes and research facilities in India, and offers, such as Partner Groups or Max Planck India Fellowships, are also developing successfully.
In February 2010, the Federal President at the time, Horst Köhler, together with the Indian research minister, Prithviraj Chavan, opened an Indo-German Max Planck Center for Computer Science (IMPECS) at the Indian Institute of Technology in Delhi. From the German side, the Max Planck Institutes for Computer Science and Software Systems in Saarbrücken and Kaiserslautern are participating in this venture.
The Indo-German Max Planck-NCBS Center for Research on Lipids at the National Center for Biological Sciences in Bangalore was established in September 2011 as the second Max Planck Center in India. The Max Planck Center of Molecular Cell Biology and Genetics in Dresden was involved in this.
Both Max Planck Centers are co-financed by the MPG, the BMBF and the Indian Department of Science and Technology.