A new kind of cross-border cooperation

An interview with Berthold Neizert, Head of the Department of Research Policy and International Relations

At the beginning of the year, a new Max Planck Center with the Syddansk Universitet, Odense, was inaugurated. What is so special about this kind of cross-border cooperation? How is a Max Planck Center different from a foreign research institute?

The Max Planck Centers equip the Max Planck institutes with a new tool for promoting international cooperation. In a broad range of such tools, the Centers are positioned somewhere between the “genuine” foreign institutes on the one hand, and the numerous international projects realised by the Max Planck institutes on the other hand. As scientific beacons of international cooperation, the Max Planck Centers are intended to attract even more visibility.

Primarily, they serve as “platforms” for the creation of added scientific value: Max Planck institutes and top research establishments abroad are thus able to pool their complementary knowledge, experience and expertise to the benefit of both parties and, for instance, grant each other access to special research facilities, material and equipment.

On a structural level, the Max Planck Centers will also host our successful elements for advancing junior scientists, i.e., the IMPRS, partner groups and research groups, and the exchange of junior scientists. In addition, they will stimulate scientific exchange through special workshops.

The Max Planck Centers will not have any legal capacity in their own right. Instead, cooperation agreements will establish the individual research programs and the available funds, staff and infrastructural resources. Both partners will bear the costs that they incur while realising joint projects in the Centers. Generally, projects will run for five years with a one-time option of extending the project for an additional five years.

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