June 15, 2012
The planned expansion of the Max Planck Institute for Bioinorganic Chemistry to the Max Planck Institute for Chemical Energy Conversion in Mülheim is just one example of what an important contribution basic research makes to a region’s innovation capabilities and economic strength. The NRW-based Institutes are exemplary in terms of knowledge transfer to areas of practical application. In the field of biosciences - which have been strengthened in NRW recently through the establishment of the Max Planck Institute for Biology of Ageing in Cologne and the MPG taking over scientific responsibility for the Caesar Research Center in Bonn - this task is being performed by the Lead Discovery Center, a new MPG technology transfer company set up in Dortmund in 2008. In addition to strengthening the biosciences as a key research field, NRW is also playing a decisive role in traditional areas of basic research. This is also reflected in the itinerary of the “Steel and Industry” visit which took place during the course of the Annual General Meeting. The Max-Planck-Institut für Eisenforschung (iron research) develops new grades of steel, the Max Planck Institute for Bioinorganic Chemistry conducts research into new storage technologies and researchers at the neighbouring Max-Planck-Institut für Kohlenforschung (coal research) are attempting to obtain valuable compounds from biomass which can be used as energy sources.
The three-day meeting began on Tuesday evening with an exchange of ideas between political and business representatives at the Nordrhein-Westfälische Akademie der Wissenschaften und Künste. The opening presentation was given by Director Martin Wikelski (MPI for Ornithology/Radolfzell sub-institute) and his team, entitled “Why biology must be wild or how animals react to ecological and climatic change.” Wednesday was completely dedicated to meetings of the governing bodies, such as the Sections and Executive Committee meetings. All meetings were held at the Congress Center Düsseldorf Süd. The state government held a reception at the K21 Ständehaus on Wednsday evening.
The Senate meeting on Thursday addressed establishing a new institute, the Max Planck Institute for Empirical Aesthetics in Frankfurt - a politically important agenda item. After the Ordinary General Meeting, the guests met for the Plenary Assembly in the Rheinterrasse. Annette Schavan, Federal Minister for Research, was in attendance. The scientific keynote address was given by Meinrat O. Andreae from the Max Planck Institute for Chemistry on the topic “Greenhouse gases and aerosols: the tug-of-war over the climate.”