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.

Who decides what the MPIfG will investigate?

The research program is determined by the directors of the Institute. Within the guidelines of the Max Planck Society, the directors are free to choose their research projects. Some forty to fifty researchers, including research staff, doctoral students, scholarship recipients, visiting researchers and researchers in grant-funded projects work together in teams that are often international. Researchers at the Institute participate in research planning and develop their own projects in this context. The MPIfG does not do contract research.

Research is dialogue

The MPIfG considers international cooperation to be the most productive organizational form of comparative research. Many visiting researchers make valuable contributions to its research program. The MPIfG is part of a worldwide network of research institutions and researchers in the social sciences. It cooperates closely with several research institutes abroad.

Graduate training enriches research

Doctoral students are an integral part of the MPIfG’s research environment. 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 and the Department of Management, Economics and Social Sciences at the University of Cologne. Offering excellent research conditions and a structured doctoral program focusing on economic sociology and comparative and international political economy, with a special interest in organization studies and economic and social history, the School prepares outstanding German and international graduate students for a career in academia. While many alumni do successfully pursue university careers, others have gone on to work in the private sector, government, associations, and international organizations.

Who evaluates the Institute's research?

The Scientific Advisory Board of the MPIfG, an independent commission made up of scholars from different countries, convenes every three years to evaluate the methods and results of the MPIfG's research. It also advises the directors regarding the development of new research areas. The Institute's contact with the public is enhanced by its Board of Trustees, which is made up of representatives of government, business, associations, and the media.

Research results are easily accessible

The Institute uses its website, www.mpifg.de, to present its current research projects and the research staff to the general public. The website also provides news and information about events and job openings. Research results are another major part of the website. Visitors to the site have easy access to recent publications by the Institute and its researchers, publications since the MPIfG's founding and a large number of downloadable documents. The MPIfG has three publication series:
  • MPIfG Books are monographs and edited volumes aimed at the scientific community and at practitioners in government, industry and associations;
  • MPIfG Discussion Papers are articles reporting on current projects or featuring the work of a visiting researcher. They are usually subsequently published in scholarly journals;
  • The MPIfG Journal Articles series features articles by MPIfG researchers and visiting scholars published in peer-reviewed journals.

The interested public is also informed about the Institute's work through its yearbook, its biennial report, informational material, workshops for practitioners, and events and mailings aimed at journalists. Public lectures given by the research staff and visiting researchers give local residents an opportunity to come to the Institute and learn about its work.

Facts and figures

The MPIfG was founded under the directorship of Renate Mayntz in 1985. It is one of the smaller research units of the Max Planck Society (MPS), which has some eighty institutes conducting basic research in several disciplines. Most of them are devoted to research in the natural sciences, but there are also a number of institutes working in the human and social sciences. The Max Planck Society is one of the largest non-university research organizations in Germany. Some eighty percent of the Society's funds are provided publicly by federal and state governments. The annual budget of the Max Planck Institute for the Study of Societies is presently 6.3 million euros.
The Institute has 39,5 full-time positions for researchers and service staff, and some 19 positions for doctoral students and postdoctoral researchers. Another 13 doctoral researchers are currently funded by the partner universities of the IMPRS-SPCE doctoral program, the Universities of Cologne and Duisburg-Essen. Additional posts are financed by third-party funding.
The library of the Max Planck Institute for the Study of Societies has some 60,000 catalog entries including monographs, chapters from edited volumes, and journal articles. It subscribes to 425,000 e-Books and provides extensive access to online journals. The library offers online access to its own catalog and a wide range of specialized databases. A state-of-the-art infrastructure ensures optimal international connectivity for the Institute's researchers and administration. The MPIfG also provides vocational training to three apprentices working in office communication and information technology.

Media and
Public Relations Contact

Christel Schommertz
Tel. 0221 2767-130

For the Media

MPIfG - Institute | http://www.mpifg.de/institut/institut_en.asp [Last updated 23.04.2021]