Participating Max Planck Institutes

Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock

The Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research (MPIDR) investigates the structure and dynamics of populations. The Institute’s researchers explore issues of political relevance, such as demographic change, aging, fertility, and the redistribution of work over the life course, as well as aspects of evolutionary biology and medicine. The MPIDR is one of the largest demographic research bodies in Europe, and is a worldwide leader in the study of populations. The MPIDR was founded in 1996. Currently, around 130 scientists and 40 technical and administrative staff work at the MPIDR. The director of the Institute is James W. Vaupel. The Institute is based in Rostock, a vibrant city with a rich maritime history located near the Baltic Sea coast.

Max Planck Institute for Biology of Ageing, Cologne

Copyright: Jörn Lehmann for the Max Planck Institute for Biology of Ageing

Founded in 2008, the Max Planck Institute for Biology of Ageing is one of Europe's first scientific facilities exclusively focused on ageing and holds a place at the forefront of basic biomedical science. The MPI is committed to unraveling the basic causes and processes of ageing and longevity. Scientists from over 25 nations are striving to uncover the underlying molecular, physiological and evolutionary mechanisms by using yeast, worms, flies, fish and mice as model organisms. Finding medical solutions to ageing-associated diseases in humans is the overriding goal. Using this approach, fundamental questions on the nature of ageing and longevity are addressed: why do organisms age, what biological processes determine lifespan, what are the roles of and interplay between genes and the environment, and would it be possible to ameliorate or even cure ageing-associated diseases by intervening in the ageing process?

Max Planck Institute for Molecular Genetics, Berlin

The Max Planck Institute for Molecular Genetics (MPIMG), founded in 1964, consists of four independent scientific departments, each headed by a Scientific Member (“Director”) of the Max Planck Society. The departments are complemented by the research group Development & Disease, as well as a changing number of independent junior research groups, forming the Otto Warburg Laboratory. In addition, a range of scientific service groups maintain crucial knowledge and technologies for all scientific groups of the Institute. Research at the MPIMG concentrates on genome analysis of man and other organisms to contribute to a global understanding of many of the biological processes in the organism, and to elucidate the mechanism behind many human diseases. It is the overall goal of the combined efforts of all MPIMG’s groups to gain new insights into the development of diseases on a molecular level, thus contributing to the development of cause-related new medical treatments.

Max Planck Institute for the Study of Religious and Ethnic Diversity, Göttingen

This Max Planck Institute is primarily concerned with research into various forms of diversity. In today’s societies, people of varying ethnic and religious backgrounds often live side by side. The spectrum ranges from peaceful multiculturalism to bloody conflict – but when does the one occur and when the other? Through wide-ranging empirical studies and by developing theoretical concepts, the Göttingen-based Institute seeks to broaden our understanding of these issues of human coexistence. The main focus of this work is on basic research, but in some instances it extends as far as advising on political policy.

Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, Leipzig

The Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology focuses on matters regarding the origins of humankind. The Institute’s researchers study widely-differing aspects of human evolution. They analyze the genes, cultures, languages and cognitive abilities of people living today and compare them with those of apes and extinct peoples. Scientists from various disciplines work closely together at the Institute: for example, linguists and psychologists aim to discover how languages develop and how people learn languages. Geneticists trace the genetic make-up of extinct species, such as Neanderthals. Behaviorists and ecologists, for their part, study the behavior of apes and other mammals.

Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences, Leipzig

The aim of the Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences in Leipzig is to investigate human cognitive abilities and brain processes. The main focus of the research is on the neuronal basis of higher functions of the brain such as speech, music, and action. To this end, the scientists’ primary interest focuses on how these are perceived, processed, planned, and generated, as well as how perception and generation influence each other. They also investigate the plastic changes to the brain after strokes, and how these affect different cognitive abilities. The Department of Neurophysics, which was established in early 2007, is specifically concerned with the use and development of imaging methods for the neurosciences.

Max Planck Institute for Human Development, Berlin

Copyright: Max Planck Institute for Human Development

The Max Planck Institute for Human Development is dedicated to the study of human development and education. Researchers of various disciplines – including psychology, education, sociology and medicine, as well as history, economics, computer science and mathematics – work together on interdisciplinary projects at the Berlin Institute. The research questions they examine include how people make effective decisions even under time pressure and information overload, which effects the institution of school has on students’ development and learning processes, how the interaction between behavior and brain function changes over a person’s lifespan, as well as how human emotions change in a historical context and how they have affected the course of history itself.

Max Planck Institute for the History of Science, Berlin

Founded in 1994, the MPIWG in Berlin is one of the more than eighty research institutes administered by the Max Planck Society. It is dedicated to the study of the history of science and aims to understand scientific thinking and practice as historical phenomena. Researchers pursue an historical epistemology in their studies of how new categories of thought, proof, and experience have emerged. The MPIWG comprises three departments under the direction of Jürgen Renn (I), Lorraine Daston (II), and Dagmar Schäfer (III). Hans-Jörg Rheinberger, who headed Department III from 1995 to 2014, will remain at the MPIWG as emeritus. The three directors administer the institute collectively; the position of executive director rotates every two to three years. Since 2012, Lorraine Daston serves as executive director. At any given moment, there are approximately 75 scholars working at the MPIWG, from pre- and post-doctoral fellows to senior visiting scholars. Their backgrounds are multidisciplinary and international.

Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods, Bonn

Collective goods are goods that the markets have some difficulty in dealing with. This becomes particularly problematic when access to such goods is hard to restrict. Examples include air, water and soil, physical and virtual networks, infrastructures and the systemic effects of financial transactions. One of the services that science can render for society is to identify precisely where the problems lie with these goods and compare the institutional rules that regulate their availability. The Max Planck Institute for Research on Collective Goods in Bonn addresses these questions from an interdisciplinary perspective that combines economics, law and psychology. Whereas in the past the researchers were primarily concerned with environmental protection issues, the most important areas of application for the work today include cartel law, regulation and the stability of the financial markets.

Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics, Nijmegen

What happens in the brain when we hear a sentence or form one? Why is it that children and adults can all learn languages, but children are usually far more successful at it? What is the genetic basis of our language abilities? Researchers at the Max Planck Institute for Psycholinguistics in the Dutch city of Nijmegen are getting to the bottom of questions such as these in the course of their project work. They are also interested in how language and thinking affect one another and what role the cultural environment plays in this. The five areas of Language Acquisition, Neurobiology of Language, Psychology of Language, Language and Cognition, and Language and Genetics define the Institute’s scientific framework.

Max Planck Institute for European Legal History, Frankfurt/Main

Copyright: Marcus Ebener

Since its foundation in 1964 the Max Planck Institute for European Legal History devotes itself to the investigation on the history of law in Europe and beyond. Its research, its specialized library with more than 400,000 media and its numerous co-operations turn it into one of the meeting points of the worldwide scientific community, a community that studies the past and present of our national and transnational legal orders.



Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology, Halle

The Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology is one of the world’s leading centres for research in socio-cultural anthropology. It was established in 1999 by Chris Hann (Resilience and Transformation in Eurasia) and Günther Schlee (Integration and Conflict) in Halle/Saale. Marie-Claire Foblets (Law & Anthropology) joined the Institute as its third Director in 2012. Common to all research projects at the Max Planck Institute is the comparative analysis of social change; it is primarily in this domain that its researchers contribute to anthropological theory, though many programs also have applied significance and political topicality. Fieldwork is an essential part of almost all projects.

Max Planck Institute for Innovation and Competition, Munich

The Max Planck Institute for Innovation and Competition was founded in Munich in 1966 as the Institute for Foreign and International Patent, Copyright and Competition Law. During the following decades, it became instrumental in the development of the areas of law that it dealt with. In 2002, in conjunction with new appointments, its scope of research was extended to include core areas of antitrust law and tax law - hence, the change of the Institute’s name to the Max Planck Institute for Intellectual Property, Competition and Tax Law. After the establishment of an additional department of Finance in 2009, in 2011 the existing Institute was split into two independent Institutes, the Max Planck Institute for Intellectual Property and Competition Law under the direction of Reto M. Hilty and Josef Drexl, and the Max Planck Institute for Tax Law and Public Finance, under the direction of Kai A. Konrad and Wolfgang Schön. In 2013, the Institute was enlarged with a new department, the Munich Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship Research (MCIER). As of January 1st 2013 Dietmar Harhoff took over the direction of the new department as third director of the Institute; in 2014 the Institute changed its name to Max Planck Institute for Innovation and Competition.

Max Planck Institute for Comparative and International Private Law, Hamburg

The researchers at the Max Planck Institute for Comparative and International Private Law analyse legal systems from throughout the world, comparing them and searching for possibilities to harmonise the law. Regardless of whether it relates to the development of the European Single Market or the inter-dependence of multinational corporations and financial institutions, the growing internationalisation of daily life demands new approaches in all areas of private law. One of the essential tasks of the Institute is to address the challenges arising from the integration and the internationalisation of economic, social and legal relations. Through its efforts, the Institute generates the knowledge that is necessary in order to understand the broad picture as well as its specific features. The Institute also makes concrete proposals for the future. Researchers in the Institute have at their disposal one of the world’s finest collections of literature on private law, totalling more than 500,000 volumes. The Institute’s library features books and periodicals on private law and business law from the approximate 200 countries around the globe.

Kunsthistorisches Institut in Florenz - Max Planck Institute

The Kunsthistorisches Institut in Florenz is one of the oldest research institutions dedicated to the History of Art and Architecture in Italy, where facets of European, Mediterranean and global history are subject to close scrutiny. Founded in 1897 on the private initiative of a group of independent scholars, it has been under the auspices of the Max Planck Society since 2002. Approximately sixty scholars are currently employed at the Institute, which is run by two directors, and the promotion of international young scientists and academics is high on its internal agenda. In addition to numerous individual research projects, those funded by third parties and a multiplicity of international collaboration with universities, museums and research institutes, Kunsthistorisches Institut in Florenz provides a platform for larger long- and medium-term projects whose subject matter ranges from Late Antiquity to the Modern Age.

Max Planck Institute for Tax Law and Public Finance, Munich

The Max Planck Institute for Tax Law and Public Finance was founded as of 1st January 2011. It carries on legal and economic research in the area of taxation and adjacent fields in public economics and business law. Exemplary is the work on international tax competition, fiscal crises or taxation of multinational enterprises. It consists of the department for business and tax law and the department of public economics which have originally been part of the former Max Planck Institute for Intellectual Property, Competition and Tax Law.


Max Planck Institute for Social Law and Social Policy, Munich

Copyright: Max Planck Institute for Social Law and Social Policy

In accordance with its interdisciplinary orientation the Institute examines socio-political issues from a legal and economic perspective. The Department of Foreign and International Social Law investigates, mainly by way of comparative research, the particular features of social law as an instrument for the implementation of social policy measures and as a special field of administrative law. With its orientation towards the economic side of social policy, the research of the Institute’s second department focuses on those socio-political issues that are associated with demographic change and the aging of the population. It is therefore called Munich Center for the Economics of Aging. Both departments are reliant on each other’s genuine disciplinary interest in mutual exchange, i.e. legal interest in the investigation of the conditions as to the impact of law, as well as economic interest in law as the key element of the institutional framework, particularly with regard to the incentives exerted by regulations in the different socio-political fields. These interests find expression in joint research projects and seminars which focus on the understanding of the institutional framework and their impacts on individual and collective action.

Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Biology, Plön

The Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Biology exists in its current form since March 2007. Its previous name was Max Planck Institute for Limnology. It was founded by Emil Otto Zacharias in 1891 as "Biologische Station zu Plön" and was integrated into the Kaiser Wilhelm Gesellschaft in 1917 as "Hydrobiologische Anstalt", headed by August Thienemann. In 1948, the institute became part of the Max Planck Society. The Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Biology consists of the three departments Evolutionary Ecology, Evolutionary Genetics and Evolutionary Theory. It is focused on basic research to unravel general evolutionary processes, such as ecological adaptations, benefits of sexual reproduction or evolution of cooperation. The scope of the work includes ecological, organismic, molecular and theoretical approaches.

Max Planck Institute for Foreign and International Criminal Law, Freiburg

Photographer: Baschi Bender

The Max Planck Institute for Foreign and International Criminal Law in Freiburg adopts an interdisciplinary approach that combines criminal law and criminology in the interests of advancing criminal law theory and its application as a form of social control. The Department of Criminal Law therefore studies the theory of criminal law and bases its analyses primarily on a normative and comparative approach. The Department of Criminology uses both empirical, as well as theoretical methods to shed light on the causes and forms of criminality and the options for social control. Issues common to both departments include risk, hazard and prevention, globalization, internationalization and networking, and the information society and information technology.

Max Planck Institute for the Study of Societies, Cologne

The interrelation between economic, social and political action is the focus of work at the Max Planck Institute for the Study of Societies in Cologne. The Institute conducts advanced basic research aimed at developing an empirically based theory of the social and political foundations of modern economies. The researchers at the Institute are particularly interested in investigating how markets and business organizations are embedded in historic-institutional, political and cultural frameworks, how they develop and how their social contexts change over time.

Max Planck Institute for Metabolism Research, Cologne

Max Planck Institute for History and the Sciences, Jena