The Max Planck Society (Max-Planck-Gesellschaft zur Förderung der Wissenschaften, in German; abbreviated MPG) is a formally independent non-governmental and non-profit association of German research institutes founded in 1948 and named in honor of its former president, theoretical physicist Max Planck. The society is funded by the federal and state governments of Germany as well as other sources.
Currently, 83 Max Planck Institutes conduct basic research in the service of the general public in the natural sciences, life sciences, social sciences, and the humanities. Max Planck Institutes focus on research fields that are particularly innovative, or that are especially demanding in terms of funding or time requirements. And their research spectrum is continually evolving: new institutes are established to find answers to seminal, forward-looking scientific questions, while others are closed when, for example, their research field has been widely established at universities. This continuous renewal preserves the scope the Max Planck Society needs to react quickly to pioneering scientific developments.
Max Planck Institutes conduct basic research in the interest of the public. The fields of research are natural sciences, life sciences, social sciences and the humanities. Some institutes also perform services for university research, providing equipment and facilities to researchers, such as telescopes, large-scale equipment, specialised libraries and documentary resources.
Max Planck Institutes frequently build international networks to create the critical mass for specific research topics. The fact that MPG researchers are highly sought-after and appreciated as esteemed research partners worldwide is evidenced by the fact that there were approx. 6,000 foreign visiting and junior researchers at Max Planck Institutes and over 4,500 ongoing international research projects with more than 5,400 partners in over 120 countries around the world in 2012.
As a research partner, the MPG collaborates with numerous institutes and multinational research facilities outside Germany.
The MPG is primarily financed out of public funds from the Federal Government and the states (“Länder”). The MPG has been allocated just under 1.6 billion euros for 2014. It also receives third-party project funding from public and private bodies as well as the European Union.
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