Welcome Words from the President

Welcome Words from the President

Dear MPG staff members!

For various reasons – its autonomous association structure, its distribution over many sites, and also its bottom-up approach on which international science is based – the Max Planck Society is an organically grown and flexible construct leaving much room for grassroots initiatives and decentralized networks… principally comparable to a university. This liberal structure makes me as President always a little bit proud. It is a culture of opportunities for exchange and cooperation, in both scientific research and networking which accompanies and supports further career development.

The great number of alliances and projects and initiatives form a vital space for development. Yet, this space is not so easy to overlook if one has no guidepost. Naturally, a jungle of possibilities is something positive and exciting in the first place! But let’s be honest: New possibilities are electrifying and motivating if and only if we can perceive and enjoy them and make a contribution! In contrast: Nothing is worse than discovering, retrospectively, an opportunity having slumbered within reach for years on end without ever becoming aware of it. That is why, with the format of the MPG City Week, we aim at attracting your attention to the great number of groups and initiatives shaping life in the MPG and offering opportunities for participation (beyond the boundaries of your own Institute) – whether it be target-group-specific networks, such as the PhDNet, PostdocNet, LeadNet, MPRGLNet, or thematic networks such as MPQueer or our sustainability network and so forth…

A second aspect close to our hearts during this theme week is the imparting of the formal structure of our association as such. Perhaps you know this situation: When talking with friends and acquaintances, you regularly have to explain in the first place that “the” Max Planck Institute does not exist, but that nearly 90 Institutes of quite different disciplines constitute one society together, namely our MPG. So far so good. What is more obvious, however, is that there seems to be a need for explanation even within the MPG. Who decides on what in the MPG? Which services are there across the different sites and are available to everyone? By the MPG City Week, we intend to go on a round trip and demonstrate what the community can rely on, where there are chances and unused potentials and – to put it succinctly – “how things work”. We invite you most cordially to join us on this trip, and I promise you: You will be amazed about the myriad of winding alleys and sights to be discovered at your “MPG home”. Conquer them!

I wish you a lot of fun during your discoveries.

Martin Stratmann