About us

Commitment and room for ideas

About the Max Planck Foundation

An inspiring idea will find supporters. Our founders shared this conviction when they started out in 2006. Max Planck Foundation was born as the private, independent, non-profit self-organization of supporters of top-level science. It exclusively supports the Max Planck Society and its Max Planck and affiliated institutes. The many projects supported include the work of several Nobel Laureates. And there are always new projects coming in that have the potential to broaden our understanding of the world. Thanks to our supporters today we are one of the largest science-promoting foundations in Germany, yet one thing did not change: the individual dedication to each of our Donors.

Private funding – regardless of the amount – makes an invaluable contribution to research and thus to the further development of society in Germany and worldwide. Lean structures and volunteer work in our committees ensure that 100% of your donations go to science – effectively, sustainably, and without substituting public funds. The capital of the Max Planck Foundation and its sub-foundations is professionally managed. Our asset management pursues an approach used by the big American universities with a diversified asset allocation in international investments – rigorously balancing risk-diversification and total-return-orientation.

The Max Planck Foundation is a non-profit, private foundation under civil law and not subject to income, inheritance or gift taxes. It is supervised by the Bavarian foundation and tax authorities, administrative district of Upper Bavaria. Our financial statements are fully audited by a major accounting firm.

Our statutes can be found here.

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Foundations within Max Planck Foundation

There are currently five fiduciary foundations entrusted to the Max Planck Foundation, which we professionally manage strictly according to the wishes of their founders. In addition, we manage and administer affiliated independent foundations with similar purposes.

If you think about starting your own foundation, we are happy to assist you.

Hermann Neuhaus (June 22, 1931 – May 11, 2007) was a successful entrepreneur from Westphalia. By his will, he established the Hermann- Neuhaus-Stiftung within Max Planck Foundation; until 2020, the assets will be administered by his executor. According to the founder’s instructions, the proceeds will be used to 100% for research of the Max Planck Society. The foundation also fulfills his wishes taking full care of his widow and his real and other estate.

The life of Hermann Neuhaus shows parallels to the biographies of excellent scientists. “Like them, he always strived to give his best – and to achieve the best,” said Prof. Gruss, former President of the Max Planck Society. “We are extremely proud and happy that he chose the Max Planck Society for his commitment. His legacy is both an honor and an obligation. ”
As owner-operator of his businesses, Hermann Neuhaus was committed to excellence. Although firmly rooted in Westphalia, his entrepreneurial thinking was international. His visions, his assertiveness and his critical nature have strengthened his affinity to top researchers. He always gave his best. The Max Planck Society with its unique international reputation seemed to him the best place to secure his claim to excellence on a permanent basis.

Hermann Neuhaus was awarded the highest honor of the Max Planck Society, the Harnack Medal.

The Dr. Helmut Storz-Stiftung was originally established outside the Max Planck Foundation. Since 2013, its founder entrusted its management to the Max Planck Foundation. These administrative services are not charged to his foundation. The Founder Dr. Storz is particularly interested in scientific projects that are close to application.

The funded projects are selected in close consultation with the founder and the Max Planck Society and thoroughly examined for their quality.

The Hanrieder Foundation for Excellence (HFE) is a fiduciary foundation managed by the Max Planck Foundation. Dr. Wolfgang Hanrieder set it up in 2015 for the long-term support of excellent research. His focus is on promoting highly talented junior researchers and on cooperation projects of Max Planck Society with universities and non-university research institutions.

Since his own studies of physics, Dr. Hanrieder has kept close ties to the Max Planck Society. After working for a global technology company, he got to know the positive impact of targeted investing in high-tech companies in the US and later built up the midmarket technology business in Europe for an international investment group. Returning to his home country a few years ago, he is increasingly devoting his time to accompany innovative technology companies: “The Max Planck Society, like no other institution, offers great variety and excellence in basic research. The insights gained are the most important raw material for innovation and prosperity. Making a modest contribution to the success of outstanding junior researchers is the purpose of the Hanrieder Foundation for Excellence. “

Dr. Gross and his wife have followed the work of Max Planck Society for many years. Their commitment is honored by the establishment of their own foundation within the Max Planck Foundation.

The Dr. Gerhard und Irmgard Gross-Stiftung supports excellent projects of the Max Planck Society in medical research, particularly on the function, disease and therapy of eyes and other organs as well as in ornithology. In addition, they also promote the the humanities and social sciences within the Max Planck Society, particularly in the Greater Rhine-Main area.

Stefan Gasz from Salzgitter-Bad founded the “Stiftung Jugendbildung Familie Gasz” at the beginning of 2012 – in memory of his wife Ivana, who died in 2008, as well as his mother Theresia Gasz. The foundation, set up in the spirit of Ivana Gasz, is intended to provide educational opportunities for young people from economically and/or socially disadvantaged family backgrounds who are willing and able to perform. It should also increase their potential for the benefit of society. In 2018, the foundation (now the “Familienstiftung Gasz”) was transferred to the MPF and expanded to include the support of excellent science and research. Stefan Gasz passed away in the fall of 2022. His wife Heidrun Gasz-Stoewer will continue the work of the Gasz Family Foundation, together with the Max Planck Foundation, in the spirit of her husband.

Werner-Heisenberg-Stiftung, founded in 2012, is a fiduciary foundation in the Max Planck Foundation with the aim of supporting the Werner Heisenberg Gesellschaft.

The Heisenberg Gesellschaft e.V. helps to keep Werner Heisenberg’s work and person alive. 65 founding members support this goal through regular meetings, lectures and a series of publications. The estate of Werner Heisenberg has become part of the Max Planck Society’s archive. Together with the Max Planck Institute for the History of Science, it is made available for research purposes.

“To give something back” – that is often the motivation of a founder. This is also the case with the QuantumLeaks Foundation.

Dr. Michael Lebert is an alumnus of the Max Planck Institute for Solid State Research in Stuttgart (MPI-FKF). He wishes to support the scientific community that inspired him during his time there. So in the summer of 2023, he founded the QuantumLeaks Foundation under the umbrella of the Max Planck Foundation (MPF), which is dedicated to research and science. The focus is on promoting and honouring the structural interpretation of quantum entanglement.


The name of the foundation is composed of ‘quantum’ for particle and ‘leaks’, in the meaning of branch. In contrast to WikiLeaks, the QuantumLeaks Foundation only publishes authorised information from the authors.

A dazzling phenomenon

Founder Michael Lebert explains quantum entanglement as follows:

“Quantum entanglement is a fundamental property of quantum mechanics. Albert Einstein, Niels Bohr and Erwin Schrödinger initially and controversially discussed this physical phenomenon in 1935. Einstein then described the effect as ‘spooky action at a distance’. Why? For example, if a photon (light particle) passes a special (nonlinear optical) crystal, then this photon can split into two half-wavelength photons that are connected, ‘entangled’, – qua one system.

No matter how far these light particles are located from each other, they are in instantaneous, direct interaction with one another, e.g. with regard to polarization. Only the measurement process then in all probality determines the opposite property. If an entangled photon is identified as clockwise, the opposite light particle is immediately determined to be counterclockwise. Even if these particles are separated by billions of kilometers. Einstein considered this ‘spooky’.

In 2022, Alan Aspect, John Clauser and Anton Zeilinger were awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics, for their contributions to quantum entanglement. Ferenc Krausz, a quantum optician from the Max Planck Society, was also honored with a Nobel Prize in 2023.

Like gravity, quantum entanglement is not structurally understood yet, both function but we don’t know how. The collapse of space and time as we are used to in classical physics seems to be an obvious reality. The foundation’s aim is to discuss interesting explanatory models.”

Who and what is funded?

Promoting excellent projects, awarding prizes or scholarships for talented young researchers or outstanding scientists from the Max Planck Society environment – this is what Michael Lebert, as a member of the MPF family, has set out to do with his foundation.

A particular concern for him is to establish a connection with the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation or the Werner Heisenberg Foundation, which has also been managed in trust at the MPF since 2012, with the focus on ‘quantum physics in schools’.