Four Max Planck Partner Groups starting in India

The Max Planck Society intensifies its cooperation with Indian research institutes through research groups and guest fellowships

December 15, 2004

The first four Max Planck Partner Groups will be ceremoniously inaugurated on December 17, 2004 within the framework of a gala event at the Indian Institute of Technology in Delhi. Professor Dr. Kurt Mehlhorn, Vice President of the Max Planck Society, and Professor Dr. V.S. Ramamurthy, State Secretary at the Indian Department of Science & Technology will welcome several Directors from prestigious Indian research facilities, as well as from diverse Max Planck Institutes, including the Nobel Prize winner Professor Dr. Hartmut Michel from the Max Planck Institute for Biophysics, who will hold a talk on "Membrane Proteins as Targets for Drugs in Medicine and Agriculture." As well, in the course of the event the first six "Max Planck Indian Fellowships" will be awarded to Indian junior scientists.

Scientific Partner Groups of the Max Planck Society (Max Planck Partner Groups) can be established together with a foreign research institute when an outstanding junior scientist, subsequent to completing his or her research residency at a Max Planck Institute, returns to a productive homeland laboratory in order to continue research work that is also in the interest of his or her former hosting Max Planck Institute. Lasting relations between the Max Planck Institutes and former foreign guest scientists are the goal of these Partner Groups. To this end, the Max Planck Society will make 20,000 euros per Partner Group available over a five-year period.

As of January 1, 2005 four Partner Groups will begin their work with their research focus spanning the areas of astrophysics and material research through to informatics:

- Dr. Sudipto Roy Barman will head a Max Planck Partner Group from the Fritz Haber Institute of the Max Planck Society Berlin with the topic "Electronic structures of low dimensional and nano systems" at the Inter University Consortium for Scientific Research in Indore. Within the area of electronic structures of low dimensional systems Dr. Barman will work closely together with Professor Dr. Karsten Horn, Director of the Department for Molecular Physics at the Fritz Haber Institute and will conduct experiments at facilities of the Max Planck Society at BESSY II, among other locations.

- Until Fall 2003 Dr. Amol Dighe was a post doc at the Max Planck Institute for Physics in Munich and will now head a Partner Group, associated with this Institute, concerning "Neutrino and astrophysics" at the TATA Institute of Fundamental Research in Mumbai. Astroparticle physics is a fast-growing research area and Professor Dr. Wolfgang Hollik, Director at the Max Planck Institute for Physics, hopes for important impulses thanks to this cooperation.

- The Max Planck Institute for Solid State Research in Stuttgart will be establishing a Partner Group with the topic "Clarification of chemical bonds and physical properties of new materials," which will be headed by Dr. Tansuri Saha-Dasgupta at the renowned S.N. Bose National Center for Basic Research in Kolkata. From 1997 to 1999, Dr. Saha-Dasgupta was a fellowship holder under the aegis of Dr. Ole Krogh Andersen in Stuttgart and has, since that time, developed a wide-reaching network with numerous cooperative partners in Germany and the USA. A cornerstone of this cooperation is the further development of a theoretical method, developed by both scientists, for the calculation and analysis of electronic structures.

- Dr. Naveen Garg is a computer scientist at IIT Delhi to which he returned in 2000 after several years of research residency at the Max Planck Institute for Informatics in Saarbrücken. Since then, Dr. Garg has been working closely together with Dr. Kurt Mehlhorn, Director of the Department for "Algorithm and Complexity." Dr. Garg's research interest lies in the area of approximation algorithms and combinatorial optimization. His Group will be dealing with the topic "Flow and network optimization problems."

In the course of the event the first Max Planck Indian Fellowships will also be awarded: Over a period of four years, six highly-qualified junior scientists will receive travel funds totaling 3,000 euros per year and will reside for one month of each year at a Max Planck Institute. By 2008, the number of fellowship holders should balance out to approximately 60 per year.

The basis for the new cooperation is an agreement that was signed in October 2004 by Dr. Peter Gruss, President of the Max Planck Society and Professor Dr. V.S. Ramamurthy, State Secretary at the Indian Departments of Science & Technology. According to the agreement, both sides are planning, as a first step in the coming year, to establish four further Max Planck Partner Groups and to bestow around 15 additional Max Planck Indian Fellowships. Furthermore, the Max Planck Society will continue the series of workshops introduced in 2004 at Indian Partner Institutes for German and Indian junior scientists, which affords German participants the opportunity, aside from scientific exchange, to get acquainted with the excellent local research infrastructure.

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