New Bridges for the Next Generation

Max Planck Society and Chinese Academy of Sciences agree to a joint doctoral programme

May 04, 2006

The presidents of the Max Planck Society and the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS), Prof. Peter Gruss and Prof. Lu Yongxiang, signed an agreement on May 2, 2006, for a joint doctoral programme at Max Planck Institutes and the International Max Planck Research Schools. The two partner organisations will extend their current co-operation to bring outstanding Chinese doctoral students to research institutions and universities in Germany and all over Europe.

Global competition is getting tougher between countries trying to bring in science's greatest minds. China, in particular, is becoming a more and more important competitor. This prompts Europe's research institutions - Max Planck among them - to find ways of bringing Chinese university graduates to Europe for further education. At the same time, China itself is showing great interest in linking its scientists more to European research institutions.

In light of these circumstances, Prof. Lu Yongxiang presented an offer to the President of the Max Planck Society in October 2005. The best doctoral students at the Graduate School of the Chinese Academy (GSCAS) would be given the chance to do all or part of their study at Max Planck Institutes or International Max Planck Research Schools, and earn their doctorates either in Germany or China. The presidents agreed that from the 5,000 doctoral students that enter the GSCAS each year, the 20 very best would be offered study positions within the Max Planck Society.

Max Planck Institutes and Research Schools will profit from this joint programme, now made official after intense preparation. The Institutes and Research Schools will have autonomy in choosing which of the "best minds" of the CAS they will try to recruit for a research career. The CAS also benefits; the programme will strengthen the many years of co-operation between the Max Planck Society and the CAS - and Chinese scientists will have better access to research across Europe.

The programme will begin in fall 2006 and the two organisations will split costs fifty-fifty. The first three years will be a trial phase; after that, the institutions will decide whether it should continue.

In order to prepare and execute the new programme, the Max Planck Society is holding marketing, consulting, and information presentations in Peking and Shanghai in June 2006.

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