Max Planck Society 640x360
Optical bench at the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics.

The Max Planck Society enjoys worldwide recognition for its excellence in research. Since its establishment in 1948, no fewer than 18 Nobel laureates have emerged from the ranks of its scientists. Stefan W. Hell, for example, director at the Max Planck Institutes for Biophysical Chemistry and for Medical Research in Göttingen and Heidelberg, received the prestigious award in 2014 (Nobel Prize in Chemistry). 

The Max Planck Institutes offer a vibrant, open and international working environment. Not surprisingly, the appeal of the Max Planck Society has spread worldwide. More than half of all the researchers at the Max Planck Society hold a foreign passport, forming a creative cosmos in which interdisciplinary and intercultural concepts and innovative ideas come to bear. This, in turn, ensures the success of the excellent basic research for which the Max Planck Society is renowned. 

The Max Planck Society supports outstanding young scientists and researchers, who complete formative years of their careers as student assistants, PhD students, postdocs, or research group heads at Max Planck Institutes, and who benefit from the knowledge of their internationally networked research mentors.  

Organisational details

Over 23,000 people (researchers, doctoral students, graduates, scholarship holders, visiting researchers and staff) are employed at the Max Planck Society. The MPG’s headquarters are located in Munich.  

In all, 86 research institutions belong to the Max Planck Society. They include centres not only in Germany, but also abroad. The institutes have their own budgets and are free to decide on their research projects.  Heads of institutes enjoy the best possible working conditions and have complete autonomy in choosing their staff, subject matter and cooperation partners. 

Facts and figures

86 research institutes and facilities (5 institutes outside Germany) 

Over 23,000 employees, including 6,935 researchers, 1,977 visiting researchers, 3,153 doctoral students and 818 scholarship holders 

More than half of the researchers come from outside Germany

Annual budget: approx. 2.4 billion euros (2018) 

Research activities

Max Planck Institutes conduct basic research in the interest of the public good. The research fields 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.

International cooperation

Max Planck Institutes frequently build international networks to create the critical mass for specific research topics. MPG researchers are highly sought-after and appreciated as esteemed research partners worldwide. This is evidenced by the fact that around 16,300 junior and visiting researchers worked at the Max Planck Society on fixed-term contracts of varying lengths during the course of 2018. Additionally, Max Planck Institutes were involved in roughly 3,000 international research projects with more than 5,500 partners in over 110 countries around the world in 2016. 

As a research partner, the MPG collaborates with numerous institutes and multinational research facilities outside Germany. 


Budget Max Planck Gesellschaft 2017 640x360
Source: Max Planck Society

The budget amounts to approx. 2.4 billion euros (2018). The Max Planck Society is primarily financed by public funds from the Federal Government and the states (Länder). It also receives third-party project funding from public and private bodies as well as the European Union. 



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