International Max Planck Centers

Max Planck Centers

International cooperation - virtual and at the highest level

Max Planck Centers are a central element of the Max Planck Society's internationalisation strategy. Their scientists cooperate with first-class international partners in order to gain knowledge in pioneering research areas. As different as their research interests may be, all Max Planck Centers share a common goal: the virtual centres of excellence flexibly combine knowledge and methods to create scientific added value.

There are currently 17 Max Planck Centers in 9 countries worldwide. The centres are also located at the participating Max Planck Institutes in Germany. In contrast to the Max Planck Institutes abroad, however, the centres are only set up for five years (with a one-time extension option).

The scientists at the participating Max Planck Institutes and their international partners benefit from the fact that they can combine their knowledge, experience and expertise together thanks to a centre. This enables them to comprehensively research complex issues with the help of different approaches. Their special feature: by combining complementary methods and knowledge and exclusively using existing infrastructure, scientific added value is created for all participants. In this way, major research synergies unfold under the umbrella of a Max Planck Center, for example:

  • mutual exchange of early career researchers and scientists
  • joint workshops as well as training and further education measures,
  • for example, within the framework of International Max Planck Research Schools (IMPRS)
  • joint use of research infrastructure
  • joint funding applications to third-party funding bodies for project collaboration
  • mutual access to research facilities and equipment
  • attracting researchers from other institutions as associated partners

More than a bilateral partnership

Max Planck Centers are usually based on a long-standing partnership. They are often the next step towards more institutionalised collaboration by establishing early career researchers and partner groups. Financed by the institutional funding of each partner or by funds from the respective national project funding, they do not have their own legal capacity. Nevertheless, the centres' collaborations clearly go beyond bilateral partnerships: after all, larger international research projects increase visibility and attractiveness.

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