The Max-Planck Institute, the German Nobel factory

“The Nobel in chemistry for a Berlin woman! »Headlined, very proud, the local press of the German capital, almost omitting to specify that Emmanuelle Charpentier, winner of the 2020 Nobel Prize in chemistry, is French. “We are very proud that a scientist of such stature has chosen Berlin”, also jubilated the Social Democratic mayor Michael Müller. Believing that this distinction highlights Berlin’s “influence” as “an international leader in cutting-edge scientific research”, Michael Müller was also trying to bring the cover back to him. As for Steffen Krach, Secretary of State for Science and Research in the Senate, the Berlin government, he does not hesitate to throw flowers at each other: “Sensational! We have done everything to ensure that she comes to work in Berlin and also to stay there. “

Steffen Krach proudly recalled that a new building is in the planning phase on the north campus of Humboldt University in the Mitte district to accommodate the research center and laboratory headed by Emmanuelle Charpentier. An architectural competition has been launched which will ensure that the new building is integrated into the campus classified as a historic monument. Cost of the operation: 60 million euros. Emmanuelle Charpentier did not fail to return the compliment to her adopted city: “I think that France would have difficulty giving me the means that Germany gives me. “

Read also Emmanuelle Charpentier: “I would never find in France the conditions that I have at Max-Planck”

The crème de la crème of international scientists

Emmanuelle Charpentier left France 24 years ago. After settling in Austria and Sweden, she lives and works in Germany. In 2013, she was a professor at the Hanover Faculty of Medicine and worked at the Infectious Disease Research Institute of Brunswick. In 2014, she held the Alexander von Humboldt Chair in Berlin. From 2015 to 2018, she was the director of the Max-Planck Institute for Research in Infectious Diseases. Since 2018, in the shadow of the large Charité hospital, she has directed the Research Center for the Science of Pathogens, which she herself founded. It is to house this center that a building will be custom built.

The Max Planck Gesellschaft is a society for the development of science created in 1948 by the Nobel Prize winner in physics Max Planck. As soon as it was founded a year later, in 1949, the new Federal Republic undertook to finance this institution whose mission is to promote innovation in several disciplines ranging from natural sciences to social sciences. A vocation that requires significant funds that the German government is ready to release. A non-profit association, the Max Planck Society is therefore funded by the Federal State and by the 16 German Länder. The 86 institutes it oversees across the country welcome the crème de la crème of international scientists by offering them generous, flexible and very comfortable working conditions. With great freedom, researchers are allowed to choose their associates themselves and benefit from significant time and funds.

Minerva program for women

Faced with a shortage of young German researchers, the Max Planck Society created in 1998, in collaboration with universities around the world, a program to motivate young doctoral students to come and work on their doctorate in Germany. They are currently from 85 countries. The Minerva program targets young women by offering them excellent working conditions and, among other things, childcare services for their young children. In ten years, the number of women has doubled in the Max-Planck institutes. Six thousand foreign visitors and researchers work in one of these institutes each year. A third of the directors and half of the thesis students have a passport which is not German. When they decide to return to their country of origin, they establish partnerships with institutes there. This is the case in China, Florida, Argentina, India, Canada, Luxembourg, the Netherlands and Italy.

Proud of its international prestige and the 15,000 articles published each year by its researchers in renowned scientific journals, the Max Planck Society has no less than 20 Nobel Prize winners. Emmanuelle Charpentier and Reinhard Genzel, Nobel Prize winner in physics 2020 and director of the Max-Planck Institute in Garching near Munich, are the last of this prestigious list.

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