Featured projects in a nutshell

Whether it is therapies against cancer, observing changing geo-systems, or research on islamic law: this frontier research was all made possible only because private donors supported it - the seeding for tomorrows' Nobel laureates.

The here featured projects are only an excerpt of the scientific diversity of our institutes. But they all share common ground: these projects needed head-room to evolve, to freely explore new scientific approaches while grappling substantial questions. We invite you to take a glance at this diversity, to get inspired and find a field of research you would like to support.

Scientists are on the trail of the Sun’s mysteries using a flying observatory with a 130-metre helium-filled balloon, which was made possible by funding from private endowments. [more]
In Jena, scientists identify the key processes in the global biogeochemical material cycles and study these processes with a view to understanding changes in ecosystems and identifying them at an early stage. [more]
Together with her privately-funded Max Planck Research Group in Hamburg, Nadjma Yassari does educational work on Islamic family law and highlights the multi-facetted and flexible nature of the law in Islamic countries. [more]
It’s already old news these days: people are living longer and longer. And James Vaupel is hot trailing a perhaps physical constant. He and his group are interested in finding out whether the current trend will continue in this way. [more]
The possibility of researching independently with their own team – this opportunity presented itself for Susann Fiedler at the Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods. She is Head of the Gielen-Leyendecker Research Group and is advancing the young psychologist’s career in leaps and bounds. [more]
The Neanderthals are alive - in us! The latest methods of investigation have enabled Svante Pääbo and his team to prove that remains of archaic DNA are still to be found in modern humans: around two percent of our genome stems from the Neanderthals. [more]
The skin forms the largest organ in the body. Among its many functions: protective shield, a store for nutrients and water, an excretory organ for metabolic breakdown products, absorbs medications, and a sensory organ. Three privately funded research groups go way deeper, trying to understand specific skin functions. [more]
Professor Dr. Axel Ullrich from the Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry has received numerous awards and honours for his cancer research – funded research, with which he has been able to pursue successful strategies for the treatment of cancer. [more]
Stefan Mundlos, Research Group Leader at the Max Planck Institute for Molecular Genetics investigates the causes of rare diseases with his team: he is specialized in the genomic analysis of rare bone diseases. [more]
The Max Planck Institute of Psychiatry has already provided plenty of evidence to show that personalised medicine in treating depression is no longer a pipedream. Using methods from biochemistry, genetics and imaging processes, Florian Holsboer is hot on the trail of psychological disorders, making huge strides in overcoming the stigmatisation of mental illness. [more]
We do not like dealing with uncertainty and tend to look for guarantees that simply do not exist. This consequently influences our perceptions and decisions made every day – leading to serious errors of judgement. Gerd Gigerenzer and his team at the Harding Center for Risk Literacy are a driving force behind the research on our decision-making competencies. [more]
Infection biology is not the only field with an interest in influenza viruses. Computer scientists are also making a crucial contribution to this research field: At the Max Planck Institute for Informatics in Saarbrücken they developed asoftware for the GISAID-database that acts as a rapid alert system. [more]
The Heinz Nixdorf Foundation ushered in the transformation of the scientific publication model at the Max Planck Society through its sponsorship of the Heinz Nixdorf Center for Information Management. Today, research results are readily accessible and free of charge through Open Access. [more]
The Ernst Haage Prize is a special form of promotion aimed at junior scientists. It honours young scientists and apprentices for outstanding achievements, and acknowledges excellent basic scientific research in the field of chemical energy conversion. [more]