Excellence in science and education on the example of Max Planck Society

Paweł M. Rowiński, Piotr Olszówka, Michael Giersig


This paper is a presentation of a success story of building a premier, non-university research organization dedicated to basic research and to supporting and developing early career researchers. This story comes back to establishing of the Kaiser Wilhelm Society, predecessor of the Max Planck Society. Both those organizations were based upon so-called principle of Adolph von Harnack, the first president of the Kaiser Wilhelm Society. It consists in creating the research institutes around the leading – on a world scale – researchers, providing them the best possible working conditions and giving them freedom to build their research teams. This paper shows the way how the entire Max Planck Society is set up, what is its impartial position on a map of world leading research institutions and what are the reasons of the success of this organization.  An outcome of research led in the Max Planck Institutes is shortly given.


Max Planck Society; Kaiser Wilhelm Society; autonomy; excellence in science; non-university research organization

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