A creative approach to building the future

"Building a company is as creative an undertaking as painting a picture or writing a book." Dr. Helmut Storz, a successful building contractor from Baden-Württemberg, continued to develop his creativity well beyond the building phase. "Following a busy and eventful life, which often positioned me on the sunny side of things, the establishing of a foundation seemed like a logical step," says the 90-year-old looking back on his achievements.

He put this idea into practice at an early stage. Convinced that the importance of science and research would continue to grow, he wanted to share his success with others while contributing to further triumphs in this crucial area. It was important to Storz to support scientific projects that offered extensive potential for innovation and to facilitate cooperative ventures geared towards the transfer of knowledge.

I feel I am in the right place in my cooperation with the Max Planck Foundation.

- Helmut Storz

Storz' association with the Max Planck Society's research activities arose at an early stage: the Dr. Helmut Storz Foundation funded Ahmed Mansouri's endowed Chair for the Research and the Treatment of Parkinson's Disease at the Max Planck Institute for Biophysical Chemistry in Göttingen as a pilot project in 2005. Satisfied with the results of this research, Helmut Storz then sought to establish further links with the Max Planck Society and placed his foundation in the hands of the Max Planck Foundation in 2013.

As a patron, he continued to be interested in new and innovative funding topics, in particular projects that already contained the seeds of their application. Ideally, funding should lead to very concrete results that bridge the gap between basic research and application. Public funding is particularly lacking in this area. The Max Planck Society is in an excellent position to fill this gap: at the Lead Discovery Center in Dortmund, the potential offered by outstanding basic research is translated into application.

Established by the technology transfer company Max Planck Innovation and the Max Planck Society, the Lead Discovery Center develops promising research projects to the point at which innovative medicines, for example, can be developed from them. The donor and the Max Planck Society are closely involved in the selection, coordination and rigorous quality assessment of the projects. The returns obtained from licensing are channelled back into the Foundation and used for the benefit of new scientific projects. Dr. Helmut Storz: "I feel I am in the right place in my cooperation with the Max Planck Foundation." As an expert in the area of construction, he agrees with the statement made by the former President of the Max Planck Society, Hubert Markl: "Research always involves persevering where others have given up, building on the foundations and frameworks others have prepared."

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