What is a Max Planck Research Group?

2 July 2014

I have recently been appointed by the President of the Max Planck Society to lead a new research group, which is located at the Max Planck Institute (MPI) for Terrestrial Microbiology in Marburg, Germany. This research group is independent of the departments in the MPI, but can take full advantage of the facilities that the MPI has to offer. The research group is formally a "Max Planck Research Group", which is somewhat similar to a non-tenured W2-professorship at a German university, or an assistant professorship in the USA. MPIs have a slightly different organizational and funding structure from universities, which gives us lots of flexibility.

A call for open-topic Max Planck Research Groups is announced annually in the autumn/fall. In the year I applied, the Biology and Medicine Section of the Max Planck Society awarded 3 such research groups. The awardees can then choose at which Max Planck Institute they would like to locate the Max Planck Research Group.