Research Europe vom 29.06.2015
Research Europe online 23 Jun 15, 10:06
By Martyn Jones
Think nationally to boost research, says Max Planck head
Martin Stratmann, the president of the Max Planck Society, has said that national networks
should be set up to unite Max Planck researchers with the country’s top university
Speaking at the society’s 66th annual gathering in Berlin on 18 June, Stratmann said that the
creation of such networks would help to strengthen the international visibility and
attractiveness of the nation’s top-level research.
Stratmann said that, unlike in other countries including the UK and the United States, subjectspecific
excellence in Germany was spread throughout the nation rather than concentrated in
particular regions. Therefore, the existing local networks of excellence were not bringing out
the full potential of German research. “If we really want to create clusters of the best, to
attract international attention, we need to think nationally,” he said.
His recommendation is for Max Planck Schools to be set up throughout the country, each
focusing on a different theme and bringing together the best researchers from Max Planck
institutes and universities nationwide. As support for this idea, he claimed that he had
analysed Germany's research performance and found that, of the 164 researchers in Germany
who are in the top 1 per cent of most cited researchers worldwide, half are at universities and
one third are at Max Planck institutes.
Bringing the country’s best researchers together in this way would add value to the country’s
research system as a whole and create a stable environment for successful appointments from
abroad, Stratmann said. The Max Planck Schools would offer tenure track to attract and retain
the best young researchers from Germany and abroad.
In his address, Stratmann also called for the Excellence Initiative to be continued, as it
promotes top-level research at German universities.
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