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Prince of Asturias Award for the Max Planck Society

On October 25, 2013, the Max Planck Society will be honoured in Oviedo, Spain, with the Prince of Asturias Award for International Cooperation.

The MPG has now decided to double the prize money of €50,000 from its own resources to provide young Spanish junior scientists with the opportunity to carry out research at a Max Planck Institute in Germany.

When the winner of the Prince of Asturias Prize for International Cooperation was announced in June 2013, the jury lauded “the European orientation of the Max Planck Society, its interdisciplinary approach and the close collaboration between the Max Planck Institutes and research institutions and universities throughout the world.”

The Max Planck Society has over 5,000 collaborative projects with almost 6,000 partners in more than 100 countries. In addition to the MPG’s scientific excellence, its international support of junior scientists also won acclaim. “The Max Planck Society has a long tradition of international commitment and this has become increasingly important in recent years.

The exchange of young junior scientists enhances our understanding of matters in the other country concerned. We are also laying the foundations for international scientific collaboration, without which we will not be able to resolve the major challenges facing mankind”, said the President of the Max Planck Society, Peter Gruss.

The Max Planck Society will double the prize money awarded by the Prince of Asturias Foundation by €50,000 from its own resources to finance a grant programme for young Spanish researchers. A total of 15 doctoral and postdoctoral students can now be invited to undertake a research residency at a Max Planck Institute for a maximum period of two months. “This way, we want to provide support for young researchers and forge stronger links within the Spanish research landscape”; explained Peter Gruss and emphasised: “Basic research primarily remains a responsibility of the public service. This is why I can understand the concerns of my Spanish colleagues about the considerable cuts in Spain’s current research budget.

Due to the financial and economic crisis, the government has cut funding for state universities as well as funds for doctoral students and postdocs for research stays abroad. “Investments in education and research are at the same time always investments into our scientific and economic competitiveness, and the competitive ability of our society”, said the President. “I can therefore only encourage the European states to further their commitment to science and research. This should be a key priority for all of us in Europe.”

The Max Planck Society has more than 200 collaborative projects with scientists in Spain. Every year, more than 200 Spanish guest scientists come to Munich. With Ignacio Cirac from the Max Planck Institute for Quantum Optics, and recipient of the Prince of Asturias Award in 2006, the Max Planck Society also counts a Spanish scientist amongst its directors.

The Prince of Asturias Award will be presented by the Spanish crown prince on 25 October at the official ceremony in Oviedo. Four Max Planck Society junior scientists from Argentina, Korea, Iran and Germany will accompany the President to the award ceremony as representatives of the around 4,000 junior scientists from 100 countries who are conducting research in the Max Planck Society.

Barbara Abrell | Max-Planck-Gesellschaft
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