About the MPIfG

About the MPIfG

The Max Planck Institute for the Study of Societies conducts basic research on the governance of modern societies. It aims to develop an empirically based theory of the social and political foundations of modern economies by investigating the interrelation between economic, social, and political action. Using a variety of approaches and research methods, it examines how markets and business organizations are embedded in historical, institutional, political, and cultural frameworks, how they develop, and how their social contexts change over time. The Institute seeks to build a bridge between theory and policy and to contribute to political debate on major challenges facing modern societies.

The MPIfG is one of the largest social science research institutions in Germany. It is regarded internationally as one of the top research institutes in the social sciences. The reputation of its researchers, the attractive environment the Institute offers for visiting researchers, and its ability to attract highly talented doctoral students from around the world are proof of its significant, far-reaching impact. Cooperation agreements with top research institutions in different parts of the globe play a key role for the Institute's international standing.

An Institute of the Max Planck Society (MPG)

The MPIfG was founded under the directorship of the sociologist Renate Mayntz in 1985 as an institute of the Max Planck Society (MPG). The MPG is one of the largest non-university research organizations in Germany and currently has eighty-six institutes conducting basic research in the natural, human, and social sciences. As an independent, non-profit association of research institutes, it is largely publicly funded by the federal and state governments, with additional funds coming from membership, donations, project grants, and its own revenues.

Management and Research Structure

The directors decide on the Institute's research agenda. Within the Max Planck Society's guidelines, the directors are independent and autonomous in their choice and pursuit of research interests. Some forty to fifty researchers, including research staff, doctoral students, scholarship holders, visiting researchers, and researchers in grant-funded projects, work together in what are often international teams. The researchers are involved in research planning and develop their own projects within that framework. The MPIfG does not conduct contract research.

International Cooperation

For the MPIfG, international cooperation is the most productive organizational form of innovative research. The many visiting researchers at the Institute make valuable contributions to its research. The MPIfG benefits from being part of a worldwide network of institutions and scholars in the social sciences and works closely with a number of institutes that have a similar research focus.

Supporting Early Career Researchers

An important and integral part of the MPIfG’s research environment are the doctoral students and their projects. The Institute is home to the International Max Planck Research School on the Social and Political Constitution of the Economy (IMPRS-SPCE), which is run jointly by the MPIfG, the Faculty of Management, Economics and Social Sciences at the University of Cologne, and the Faculty of Social Sciences at the University of Duisburg-Essen. The School offers outstanding graduate students from Germany and abroad excellent research conditions and a structured, interdisciplinary doctoral program focusing on economic sociology and comparative and international political economy, with a special interest in organization studies and economic and social history. While many of its alumni successfully pursue careers in academia, others go on to work in the private sector, government, associations, and international organizations.

Research Quality and Dialogue with the Public

The MPIfG's research and results are evaluated every three years by the Scientific Advisory Board. This independent commission of international scholars also advises the directors on the planning and development of new research areas. Contact between the Institute and the public is promoted by the MPIfG Board of Trustees, which is made up of representatives of government, business, associations, and the media.

On www.mpifg.de and on social media, the Institute reports on current research and presents its researchers' publications. It shares news and the results of its work with the public through its research magazine, Twitter account, public lectures and other events, and through information and resources for journalists. The MPIfG is a member of the Cologne Science Forum.

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