Max-Planck-Gesellschaft and EPFL launch a partnership in nanosciences

Patrtick Aebischer, EPFL president, and Peter Gruss, president of the Max-Planck-Gesellschaft. © Alain Herzog

Patrtick Aebischer, EPFL president, and Peter Gruss, president of the Max-Planck-Gesellschaft. © Alain Herzog

Max-Planck-Gesellschaft and EPFL signed on Monday a partnership agreement that involves creating a joint laboratory. The two institutions now combine their expertise in the field of nanosciences

Max Planck Gesellschaft (MPG) will open an International Center dedicated to nanosciences at EPFL. The German institution, renowned for its 17 Nobel Prizes and 80 institutes, has already established international research centers throughout the world, including centers at Princeton University, the National Centre for Biological Sciences in Bangalore and the Weizmann Institute in Israel. With EPFL, the institution will establish the Max Planck-EPFL Centre for Nanosciences and Molecular Technologies. The partnership includes the creation of a laboratory in Lausanne, the organization of joint summer schools and conferences, and funding for projects and theses that will be co-directed by the two institutions. The agreement was signed July 16, 2012, on the EPFL campus.

The principal objective of the partnership is to educate the next generation of scientists in the field of nanosciences. The partnership will have two main axes: fundamental nanosciences, in order to better understand and control the behavior and interactions of matter at very small scales; and bio-nanotechnological approaches that are promising in areas such as pharmacology.

The joint Max-Planck-EPFL Laboratory for Molecular Nanosciences will be the cornerstone of the partnership program. Located on the EPFL campus, it will initially include one scientist and two PhD students when it opens in early 2013.

Twenty PhD students will eventually participate in the partnership – and the two institutions are planning to fund six PhD positions on a permanent basis. The theses will be co-directed, thus preparing the next generation of scientists under ideal collaborative
conditions between Germany and Switzerland. The program will also include the same number of postdoctoral researchers.

Four Max Planck Institutes in Germany will constitute the core of the partnership with Lausanne: Max Planck Institutes for Biophysical Chemistry in Göttingen, for Solid State Research and for Intelligent Systems in Stuttgart, and the Fritz Haber Institute in Berlin.

In its first year, the program’s budget will be €960,000, and from the third year, €1.4 million. It will be co-funded in equal parts by the two institutions. The partnership will get off the ground this summer with a first call for proposals for joint projects in the nanosciences. These projects can involve a variety of research fields, such as chemistry, materials science, physics, bioengineering and electrical engineering.

Author: Lionel Pousaz

Source: EPFL