A strong connection in basic research

Max Planck Society researchers have traditionally collaborated closely with Russia. There are numerous large-scale basic research facilities in Russia, especially in the fields of physics, the material sciences, and space flight research. The "German-Russian Roadmap for Collaboration in Education, Science, Research and Innovation", which is intended to promote a long-term, strategic partnership, was signed by ministers in 2018.

The Max Planck Society is currently involved in more than 90 collaborative projects with Russian partners, of which the majority (over 50) involve Max Planck Institutes in the Chemical-Physical-Technical Section, with just under ten projects in the Biological-Medical Section. 30 of these projects involve the arts, social sciences and humanities. A Memorandum of Understanding on the Exchange of Researchers and the Joint Support of Junior Scientists has been in place with the Russian Foundation for Basic Research (RFFI) since 2013. A first Max Planck Partner Group from the Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics (led by Paola Caselli) has been set up in collaboration with the Ural Federal University in Ekaterinburg.

Collaborating with Eastern European partners (outside the EU and Russia)

Increasing attention is being paid to the EU’s neighbour states (Ukraine, Belarus, the Republic of Moldova), which could increasingly take an active involvement in research collaborations via EU programmes among other things. Exchanges between these countries and the Max Planck Institutes are increasing, whereby with over 120 guest scientists and a dozen ongoing collaborative projects, the Ukraine is particularly active. The main focus of these collaborations is on the chemical-physical-technical disciplines.

The Asian countries Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan, all now maintain links with the EU backed by trade agreements. Scientific exchanges with the Max Planck Society are still being established and the number of guest researchers is increasing at a moderate rate. Whilst an average of only up to a maximum of 15 researchers per year from these countries were working at Max Planck Institutes in the early 2000s, the numbers have been increasing steadily since 2006. By 2019, over 70 researchers at various Max Planck Institutes were from the aforementioned countries.

Current focal points of collaboration with Russia

  • ICARUS (International Collaboration for Animal Research Using Space)

The challenge for one German-Russian lighthouse project under the scientific auspices of the Max Planck Institute of Animal Behavior, is to use small transmitters on animals and an antenna mounted on the International Space Station (ISS) to track animal migration movements.

  • Climate measurement tower (ZOTTO)

ZOTTO is a measuring tower in the Siberian taiga, which can be used to study the interactions between greenhouse gases and climate change. The Max Planck Institutes for Biogeochemistry and Chemistry and the Siberian Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences all collaborate in its operation.

  • The eRosita X-ray telescope

The eRosita space telescope will scan the sky in the soft and hard X-ray range during a four-year period. The scientific leaders of this major German-Russian project are the Max Planck Institute for Extraterrestrial Physics and the Space Research Institute IKI, Moscow.

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