Max Planck at 50 Seeks to Move With the Times

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Science  20 Feb 1998:
Vol. 279, Issue 5354, pp. 1126
DOI: 10.1126/science.279.5354.1126

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MUNICH-- In an interview with Science, Hubert Markl, president of the Max Planck Society, said he wants to move forward with plans to make the society more competitive and future-oriented. As a first step, Markl wants to put all Max Planck institutes through a thorough evaluation every 6 years; give the society's leadership more power to dissolve unproductive institutes and shift their resources to more cutting-edge, productive research; and increase flexibility by hiring more scientists on limited-duration contracts. But these reforms could be a tough sell among the institute directors, who receive lavish support with few strings attached, as Markl's proposals could make them more accountable; moreover, Germany's current budget constrains funding for any big new institutes.