Max Planck Schools start

he Max Planck Schools - an initiative of German universities and research organisations - start with a unique, innovative doctoral programme

September 16, 2019

Am 11. September 2019 fiel der Startschuss für die neuen Max Planck School „Matter of Life“ im Rahmen eines Kick-off-Symposiums im Harnack-Haus der Max-Planck-Gesellschaft. Unter Beteiligung der Max-Planck-Instituts für molekulare Physiologie wird „Matter of Life neben den Schools für „Photonics“ und „Cognition“ ein innovatives, einzigartiges Promotionsprogramm anbieten – Studierende mit hervorragendem Bachelorabschluss können in zukunftsweisenden Themenfeldern den direkten Weg zur Promotion einschlagen.


The new Max Planck School "Matter of Life" was launched at a kick-off symposium in the Harnack House of the Max Planck Society on 11 September 2019. The school will offer an innovative, unique doctoral program, also with participation of the Max-Planck-Institute (MPI) of Molecular Physiology. Students with an excellent bachelor's degree will be able to take the direct path to a doctorate in future-oriented subject areas.

Combining distributed research excellence under one roof is the basic idea behind the Max Planck Schools, which were founded in 2017 by Federal Research Minister Johanna Wanka, Martin Stratmann and Horst Hippler, President of the German Rectors' Conference. In the mean time, 27 universities and more than 30 institutes of non-university research institutions from the Fraunhofer Society and the Max Planck Society are participating in the initiative, including the MPI of Molecular Physiologist with the directors Prof. Dr. Philippe Bastiaens and Prof. Dr. Andrea Musacchio.

To mark the start of the first students’ cohort and to officially welcome them, the Max Planck Society and the German Rectors' Conference invited all students, representatives of partner organizations and supporters to a Symposium at the Harnack House on September 11th. The aim of the event was to provide all Schools’ participants with a platform for exchange and networking and to present the scientific topics of the three Schools. Together with Ferdi Schüth, vice president of the Max Planck Society and driving force behind the project, three students discussed what science means to them and what social challenges they are motivated by. Nobel Laureate and Fellow of the Max Planck School Matter to Life and Photonics, Stefan Hell, gave a clear message to the students at the opening ceremony: "Stay grounded and reach for the stars!"

As different as the topics of the Schools are, as different are the qualification paths, which ultimately all lead to the doctorate. At the Max Planck School of Cognition, for example, students complete a one-year lab rotation year at various locations at the start of the program. Starting in 2019, the Max Planck School Matter to Life will only accept students who wish to obtain a degree in the newly established Matter to Life Master's program at the universities of Göttingen or Heidelberg (in future also Technical University Munich) before entering the doctoral phase. Interested students at the Max Planck School of Photonics can choose between two tracks depending on their pre-qualification: a five-year direct track with integrated Master's degree or a three-year PhD track. The following applies to all candidates: When they are admitted to a Max Planck School, they receive financial support of up to five years - depending on the path they follow.

Based on a press release of the Max Planck Society

The Max Planck School „Matter of life”

The doctoral program at the Max Planck School Matter to Life will offer highly talented and motivated students a superior training in the fundamentals, methods and approaches in the rapidly developing field of Matter to Life. "What, exactly, is life?", and "Can life-like processes, functions and objects be quantitatively simulated, predicted and created in the laboratory?" are the overarching questions addressed in the curriculum and research training.


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