ocular dominance (coloured) and orientation map (grey structures) in visual cortex. © Mark Huebener und Frank Brinkmann / MPI for Neurobiology

Network of the brightest minds

Top researchers from universities, Max Planck Institutes, Fraunhofer and Leibniz Institutes as well as Helmholtz Centers have teamed up to create the Max Planck Schools, representing scientific excellence in Germany at its best.

The Max Planck Schools, as a completely new form of graduate education, enable top scientists from a variety of fields to pursue pioneering interdisciplinary research together with the most talented graduates worldwide. In turn, young researchers receive their training at the forefront of science under the very best conditions.

Three Max Planck Schools have currently been established in the innovative fields of cognitive and neuroscience, photonics and life sciences. Scientists from around 20 universities and 30 institutes from non- university research organizations are expected to participate in the Max Planck Schools via the faculties, underlining the cross-institutional nature of the initiative.


A steering committee headed by the President of the Max Planck Society, and the President of the German Rectors' Conference, supports the Schools’ strategic orientation. The committee includes three representatives each from the participating universities, the Max Planck Society and the other non-university research organizations – the Fraunhofer Society, the Leibniz Association and the Helmholtz Association. The governance is completed by a task force of the speakers of the Max Planck Schools headed by Walter Rosenthal, President of the University of Jena, and Jan-Michael Rost, Director at the Max planck Institute for the Physics of Complex Sytems.

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