International Max Planck Research Schools (IMPRS)
Beginning in 1999 the Max Planck Society initiated the implementation of so called International Max Planck Research Schools (IMPRS) as a new way to cooperate with partner universities in Germany.
The intention of this ambitious plan is threefold. On the one hand, it aims to intensify the collaboration between the Max Planck Institutes and university affiliated research groups. Secondly, the doctoral education should be improved and standardized by offering a structured programme. Thirdly, the IMPRS should contribute to an increased international recruitment of doctoral students. It seemed reasonable to combine scientific leadership and technical expertise on a local scale by jointly offering this new way to train promising scientists from around the world.
The doctoral program provides a true interdisciplinary approach for highly motivated students to receive a Dr. rer. nat. degree and to participate in cutting edge research. Major changes and adjustments were necessary to put this idea into reality. First, because of the international character, teaching and practical training had to be offered in English to make the program attractive for foreign students. Second, the training should target a very specific area of research for which the existing faculty is internationally known. Third, the research schools are intended to represent centres of excellence.
The IMPRS at the Max Planck Institute of Plant Breeding Research together with the Universities of Cologne and Düsseldorf represent such a centre of excellence in the area of molecular plant science, and was formed in 2001. Currently, this IMPRS has about 40 doctoral students, where half come from countries outside of Germany. Admission is entirely linked to scientific merit and achievement.
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