Cooperation agreements signed for Max Planck Schools

The Max Planck School Matter for Life, will be coordinated from Heidelberg as an academic center.

December 14, 2018

The Max Planck Schools are international centers for postgraduate training. The cooperation agreements for launching three new Max Planck Schools have now been signed by the responsible organizations at a meeting in Berlin. The Schools are collaborative associations between university and non-university research organizations nationwide and are designed to attract the best international graduates to do master and doctoral work. One of these pilot schools, the Max Planck School Matter for Life, will be coordinated from Heidelberg as an academic centre. Heidelberg University will play a central role. Speaker of the initiative is Prof. Joachim Spatz, director at the Max Planck Institute for Medical Research in Heidelberg and Professor at the Institute of Physical Chemistry at the Heidelberg University.

Meeting of all project partners in Berlin.

The Max Planck School Matter to Life is a joint initiative of the Heidelberg University, Göttingen University, the Technical University in Munich and the DWI Leibniz Institute for Interactive Materials in Aachen, and several Max Planck institutes, including the Heidelberg MPI for Medical Research. In addition to the scientists from non-university institutions, outstanding colleagues from other universities and research organizations in Germany will be involved in the work of this research and training network. The Max Planck School Matter to Life will link excellence from many areas to form an innovative research area: building “life-like” processes and systems.

How can molecules and materials be used to build living systems, such as cells, cell networks and organisms? Indeed, what is life from the physico-chemical perspective? Can “life-like” processes, functions and objects be simulated in the laboratory? In what ways can living systems be synthetically modified? These basic questions are addressed in the training program of the Max Planck School Matter to Life, which is open to bachelor graduates from the areas of chemistry, physics, biology, biochemistry, biotechnology and materials science. Each year 30 places will be offered. Bachelor students who would like to proceed to a master degree will take first of all a welcome course, followed by university courses and lab practicals. In addition, summer schools will be organized, to include interdisciplinary courses and research presentations. Students who successfully complete a master thesis can continue their lab work in a doctoral course.

The Max Planck Schools were selected in September 2017 for support as a new form of cooperative graduate training. In addition to the Heidelberg-based Max Planck School Matter to Life, there are the Schools in the areas of photonics research and cognition research. Together they will receive support to the extent of 9 million Euros per year from the federal ministry of education and research, for a pilot phase of 5 years. Following the signing of the cooperation contracts, the three training and research networks will open next year and accept the first students.

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