Senate of the Max Planck Society

List of the senate members
(as at June 23, 2017). [more]

Executive Committee of the Max Planck Society

List of the executive committee members (as at June 26, 2017). [more]

Scientific Council

Prof. Dr. Tobias Bonhoeffer
Chairperson of the Scientific Council
Phone:+49 89 8578-3751

The Sections

Prof. Dr. Lothar Willmitzer
Chairperson of the Biology & Medicine Section
Phone:+49 331 567-8200
Prof. Dr. Jürgen Renn
Chairperson of the Human Sciences Section
Phone:+49 30 22667-101Fax:+49 30 22667-124

in cc: rennoffice@mpiwg-berlin.mpg.de

Prof. Dr. Peter Fratzl
Chairperson of the Chemistry, Physics & Technology Section
Phone:+49 331 567-9401

Governing Bodies

Organizational structure of the Max Planck Society

En
President
Executive Committee
Secretary General
Administrative HQ
Senate
General Meeting
Supporting Members
Honorary Members
Ex-Officio Members
Scientific Members
Scientific Council
BM Section
CPT Section
H Section
Max Planck Institutes
Boards Of Trustees
Scientific Advisory Boards
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President

The President represents the Max Planck Society, sets guidelines for research policy and presides over the Senate, the Executive Committee, and the General Meeting. In matters requiring immediate attention, the President is empowered to make decisions that would normally fall within the authority of the above-mentioned bodies. He ensures that work in the Max Planck Society is carried out in a spirit of trust. The Senate elects the President for a six-year term.

Executive Committee

The Executive Committee advises the President and prepares important decisions for the Society. The Executive Committee draws up the overall budget and prepares the annual accounts. Members of Executive Committee include the President, the four Vice Presidents, the Treasurer as well as two other Senators. The Senate elects the members for a term of office that lasts six years. Both the Secretary General and the Executive Committee make up the Board of the Max Planck Society.

Secretary General

The Administrative Headquarter is headed by one or several Secretary Generals. These are appointed by the President on the basis of a resolution adopted by the Senate. The Secretary Generals take part in the meetings of the Executive Committee in an advisory voting capacity.

Administrative Headquarters

For the purpose of advising and supporting its institutes and research facilities the Max Planck Society maintains the Administrative Headquarters in Munich, where the offices of the President and the Vice Presidents are located. The Administrative Headquarters run the day-to-day business of the Max Planck Society and support the organs of the Society in preparing and implementing decisions. It also helps the Max Planck Institutes to meet their administrative tasks.

Senate

The Senate is the central decision-making and supervisory body of the Max Planck Society. The Senate elects the President, members of the Executive Committee and decides on the appointment of the Secretary General. The Senate also deliberates on the establishment or closure of institutes, the appointments of Scientific Members and institute directors, as well as on the budget. Furthermore, the Senate makes decisions on the Society's involvement in other facilities, sets the entire budget for the Society, adopts the annual accounts and presents it to the General Meeting, and decides on the acceptance of new Supporting Members. In addition, the Senate can adopt resolutions on matters concerning the Society, which have not been reserved by the Statutes for the General Meeting. The composition of the Senate reflects the goal to involve the expertise and experience of representatives from important areas in society in Senate decisions. For this reason, the Senators come from various backgrounds such as science, business, politics, the media, and other areas. Ex officio Senators include the President, the Chairperson of the Scientific Council, the Chairperson of each of the three Sections, the Secretary General, three scientific staff members chosen by each Section, the Chairperson of the general works council, as well as five ministers or under secretaries representing the federal government and the Länder (states). The Honorary Members and the Honorary Senators are also members of the Senate and have an advisory capacity. Standing guests include the Presidents of the large German research organizations, who are invited to the meetings.

General Meeting

The General Meeting of the members of the Max Planck Society is the principle governing body of the Society. At the General Meeting, the members adopt amendments to the statutes, elect the Senators, receive the Annual Report, audit and approve the annual accounts, and resolve the dissolution of the Board of the Society.

Supporting Members

The organizational form of the Max Planck Society as a registered association under private law is of great importance for its statutory duty, as its organizational structure has a major influence on its scientific autonomy. Thus its involvement in all areas of society and the support provided by Supporting Members are essential for the Max Planck Society. The sums donated by Supporting Members allow the Society to react quickly and flexibly to unexpected developments, thus maintaining the high level of competitiveness of basic research in Germany. The Senate of the Max Planck Society decides on the admission of Supporting Members.

Honorary Members

Researchers or supporters of science who are to be recognized for their contributions to science can be named to the status of Honorary Member of the Max Planck Society. The appointment is made during the General Meeting and is based on a proposal made by the Senate.

Ex-Officio Members

Ex-officio members include members of the Senate as well as those institute heads who are not Scientific Members of an institute.

Scientific Members

The Scientific Members include the Scientific Members of the Institutes (usually the directors), the retired Scientific Members, and the External Scientific Members of the Institutes. The Senate appoints the Scientific Members.

Scientific Council

The Scientific Council is made up of the Scientific Members and the Directors of the institutes and research facilities. It also includes the scientific staff members from the institutes elected to the Sections. The Emeritus Scientific Members and the External Scientific Members from the institutes can participate in the meetings of the Scientific Council as guests in an advisory capacity. As a rule, the Scientific Council meets once a year, twice if necessary. The Scientific Council is divided into three sections - the Biology and Medicine Section, the Chemistry, Physics & Technology Section, and the Human Sciences Section. The Scientific Council discusses matters of common interest to the Sections, particularly those significant for the development of the Max Planck Society. The Scientific Council can apply to the Senate in these matters and make recommendations to the Sections.

Biology & Medicine Section

The Sections of the Scientific Council assume important tasks within the bodies of the Society. They discuss matters of common interest and prepare Senate decisions on the appointment of new Scientific Members and the foundation or closure of institutes or departments on the basis of expert recommendation. For this purpose, they set up commissions which also involve external specialists. The Sections report annually to the Scientific Council on their work. The Scientific Members from the institutes and the scientific staff members elected to the Sections from the institutes for a three-year period make up the three Sections. Membership in a Section depends on the institute's research field. In some cases, however, it is possible for individual scientists and researchers to be granted guest member status in another Section associated with their field of work. They may or may not have voting rights.

All of the institutes in the Biology & Medicine Section share the common task of researching properties specific to living organisms. These include heredity, development, perception, behavior, adaptation strategies to altered living conditions, molecular-biological and biochemical changes, and the nervous systems in humans and animals. Activities at the various institutes range from structural and functional studies on a number of biologically significant molecules and cell organelles to research into unicellular and multicellular systems and the interaction of organisms with each other and their environment.

Chemistry, Physics and Technology Section

The Sections of the Scientific Council assume important tasks within the bodies of the Society. They discuss matters of common interest and prepare Senate decisions on the appointment of new Scientific Members and the foundation or closure of institutes or departments on the basis of expert recommendation. For this purpose, they set up commissions which also involve external specialists. The Sections report annually to the Scientific Council on their work. The Scientific Members from the institutes and the scientific staff members elected to the Sections from the institutes for a three-year period make up the three Sections. Membership in a Section depends on the institute's research field. In some cases, however, it is possible for individual scientists and researchers to be granted guest member status in another Section associated with their field of work. They may or may not have voting rights.

Basic research performed in physics, astronomy, chemistry, and mathematics in the Chemistry, Physics & Technology Section is the classic foundation for technological process. Research in these fields attempts to understand more about the composition of matter and the history of the universe and is dominated by the search for a consistent explanation of natural processes and by the question of mankind's place in the world. Basic research in the fields of chemistry, physics, and technology also deals with problems of considerable practical importance or those directly connected with technical use and application. These include areas such as solid state physics (research on semiconductors, metals, and iron) and polymer chemistry (research on plastics, fibers, paint, and adhesives). Furthermore, studies conducted by climatologists and atmospheric chemists have far-reaching practical importance.

Human Science Section

The Sections of the Scientific Council assume important tasks within the bodies of the Society. They discuss matters of common interest and prepare Senate decisions on the appointment of new Scientific Members and the foundation or closure of institutes or departments on the basis of expert recommendation. For this purpose, they set up commissions which also involve external specialists. The Sections report annually to the Scientific Council on their work. The Scientific Members from the institutes and the scientific staff members elected to the Sections from the institutes for a three-year period make up the three Sections. Membership in a Section depends on the institute's research field. In some cases, however, it is possible for individual scientists and researchers to be granted guest member status in another Section associated with their field of work. They may or may not have voting rights.

In the Human Science Section, there are institutes that deal with mankind's intellectual existence and development, mankind's social existence, economic and legal systems, the study of cultural history, demographic developments, and the artistic expression of man's intellectual nature. In this section, there are considerable differences as far as research goals and methods are concerned. Some methods include interpretative and comparative procedures applied in law, history, and art history; qualitative and quantitative methods of measurement applied in the empirical social sciences; and experimental approaches in psychology, which link up with the natural sciences in a narrow sense.

Max Planck Institutes

The institutes of the Max Planck Society are independent and autonomous in their research pursuits.

Boards of Trustees

The primary role of the Board of Trustees is to establish a trusting relation between the institutes and the general public. A research organization has to rely on the interest of the board members to make use of the opportunities research opens up and to rely on the willingness of the members to continually support research. The Board of Trustees deliberate on science policy as well as on economic and organizational questions. In addition, the Board of Trustees facilitated contacts to those circles interested in the work of the institutes.

Scientific Advisory Board

The Scientific Advisory Boards are the main instrument for evaluating the scientific performance of the institutes in the Max Planck Society. Such evaluations are imperative because they enable the Max Planck Society to justify the funds it receives, which have always been limited. Internally, the assessments broaden the decision basis of the organs of the Max Planck Society because they provide important information on the developments at individual institutes and at the Society as a whole. The Scientific Advisory Boards perform external evaluations. More than 97 percent of the Scientific Advisory Board members are not affiliated with the Max Planck Society. Instead, they come from universities and other research facilities. The Scientific Advisory Boards are made up of international members. More than 75 percent of the members come from abroad. The President appoints members to the Scientific Advisory Boards based on proposals made by the institutes. He can also appoint other members to the Scientific Advisory Board. The Scientific Advisory Board evaluates the institute every two years. The President can also convene the Scientific Advisory Board in special cases.

 
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