Early autonomy and a budget of your own
Max Planck Research Groups offer junior scientists who hold a doctoral degree an excellent opportunity to qualify for a further career at a high level. Leaders of these groups are appointed by the President of the Max Planck Society and – similar to directors at Max Planck Institutes – enjoy an independent status within the Institute.
Max Planck Research Groups (MPRG) are limited to five years; extension is only possible for groups that exhibit convincing research performance. Tenure is granted in exceptional cases only. The groups draw on infrastructure and administration of a Max Planck Institute (MPI) but are also provided considerable funds for personnel, equipment and running costs, negotiable funds that enable the group leaders to flexibly engage in their research project.
As to steps in the career, more than two-thirds of all Max Planck Research Group Leaders (in the following referred to as MPRG-L) – both men and women – jumped to so-called W2 or W3 (for Germany) positions or similar posts at a university or research institution in Germany or abroad. Approximately one in six is eventually appointed Scientific Member and Director of the Max Planck Society, possibly after an intermediate position elsewhere.
Currently, there are approximately 120 active MPRGs. Please note that there are two types of MPRGs, which differ in some respects: institutes-specific Max Planck Research Groups and centrally announced Max Planck Research Groups.
Institute-specific Max Planck Research Groups are groups in conjunction with a Max Planck Institute. They are usually related to the institute’s activities in terms of research topics; these Max Planck Research Group leader positions are advertised by the institutes themselves.
For centrally announced Max Planck Research Groups suggestions for individual research projects are submitted on occasion of the centrally announced, major advertisement campaign where the Max Planck Society – based in the Headquarters in Munich - searches for group leaders. Early career scientists may apply to a Max Planck Institute of their choice - provided that all Institutes participate. These adverts are usually published once a year (in autumn) on the career portal of the Max Planck Society website, in job ad columns in specialized internationally renowned journals and on online job markets.