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.

Facts and Figures

2006
FOUNDING YEAR
>45
PROJECTS SUPPORTED
>€50Mio
FUNDING PROVIDED
€500Mio
CAPITAL
>10
FIDUCIARY FOUNDATIONS / FOUNDATIONFUNDS
  • Medicine & Biology
  • Physics & Technology
  • Environment & Climate
  • Culture & Society
  • others

PROJECTS BY RESEARCH AREA (in %)

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.

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.