Students and members of the Max Planck School Matter to Life at Ringberg Castle

Reason to Celebrate

The Max Planck School Matter to Life celebrates its first Master's graduates

In a ceremony during the five-day Matter to Life Symposium at Ringberg Castle on Lake Tegernsee, the Max Planck School Matter to Life welcomes the first graduates of its Master's program, which is jointly awarded by Heidelberg University and the University of Göttingen. In addition to members of the School, Professor Eitel, Rector of Heidelberg University, and Professor Stratmann, President of the Max Planck Society, personally attended the ceremony.


Since the beginning of the week, the five-day symposium of the Max Planck School Matter to Life (MPS Matter to Life) is being held at Ringberg Castle. The focus lies on scientific lectures of the Fellows and students as well as opportunities to network. A particular highlight this year: the School celebrated the first Master's cohort from 2019, which will now start the three-year PhD phase. The Matter to Life Master's program, as the first phase of the Master/PhD Direct-Track, was newly established at the Universities of Heidelberg and Göttingen after the School was founded in 2018. Focusing on "Molecular Systems Chemistry and Engineering" in Heidelberg and "Complex Systems and Biological Physics" in Göttingen, the MPS Matter to Life pilots cross-locational teaching between the two universities, as well as early recruitment of international young talents directly after the Bachelor's.



Important milestone for the Max Planck School Matter to Life

The idea of such a joint master's degree at institutions with outstanding research in the future-oriented field of Matter to Life emerged in 2017 during the application process to become a Max Planck School. Mr. Spatz, Director at the Max Planck Institute for Medical Research in Heidelberg and speaker of the School, pointed this development out in his speech: "It is an essential step for the School that both universities join the implementation of a Joint Degree. We see this not only as a strong support for the Matter to Life program, but also as a definite signal for the future." The Joint Master Degree thus incorporates the approach of the Max Planck Schools - to pool the scientific excellence spread across locations in Germany - at a very early stage in the master's phase.

In his speech, Mr. Eitel, Rector of Heidelberg University, emphasized the strategic importance of the School for Heidelberg as an institution. This is one of the top pillars and thus an important element in the strategic development of the university and for life sciences in general. Mr. Tolan, President of the Georg-August University of Göttingen who joined the conference virtually, emphasized the unique aspect of the direct transition from the Bachelor to the PhD phase: "This is one of the main reasons why the Schools, and thus all the partners involved, have such a high quality of students and candidates." Building on that, he was particularly pleased to congratulate the first graduates.


Matter to Life as part of a cross-organizational graduate program

The MPS Matter to Life is one of three pilot schools in growing interdisciplinary research fields, along with the Max Planck School of Cognition and the Max Planck School of Photonics. The Max Planck Schools are a joint graduate program of German universities and institutes of non-university research organizations. The idea of the Max Planck Schools is to pool Germany's scientific excellence in future fields in order to attract ambitious and promising PhD candidates from all over the world and to qualify them in such a way that they are able to make a long-term contribution to a future worth living.

The Matter to Life cross-locational network, consisting of Fellows from six universities and 14 non-university research institutes, provides international talents with insights into synthetic chemistry and biology, the physics of complex systems, and ethics in synthetic biology. Matter to Life addresses new scientific approaches that exhibit a high degree of interdisciplinarity and encompass all natural sciences as well as molecular and systems engineering. Young scientists therefore have early access to this unique scientific environment and first-class infrastructure.

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