Max Planck Society
The Max Planck Society is a non-profit organisation under private law in the form of a registered association. About 95 % of its 1,3 billion budget is met by public funding from the Federal Government and the states. The remaining 5 % comes from donations, members contributions and from funded projects.
The society's main task is to conduct basic research in the sciences and arts and humanities with the objective of supplementing research carried out by the universities. The Max Planck institutes therefore take up new and innovative research areas that German universities are not in a position to accommodate or deal with adequately. Moreover, some institutes perform service functions for research performed at universities by providing equipment and facilities to a wide range of scientists, such as telescopes, large-scale equipment, specialized libraries, and documentary resources. About 8.000 doctorale candidates, post-doctoral fellows and guest scientists and scholars from abroad are currently conducting research at Max Planck institutes.
The Max Planck Society was founded in 1948 to succeed the Kaiser Wilhelm Society, which was founded in 1911. The Society defined itself as a research organisation that enjoys autonomy to perform basic research of a high international standard. The first president was Otto Hahn, who received the Nobel Prize for Chemistry in 1944. The society's history has since then been a story of success: 15 times scientists of the Max Planck Society have won the most important prize in research, the Nobel Prize.