Max Planck School Matter to Life celebrates first Master’s graduates

Nr. 36 - 19.07.2022

The Max Planck School Matter to Life has celebrated the first graduates of its Master’s program of the same name. The students from the Universities of Göttingen and Heidelberg started in 2019 and will now enter the three-year PhD phase. The celebration was part of a five-day symposium of the Max Planck School (MPS) with a focus on scientific lectures by the Fellows and students as well as opportunities to network.


The Matter to Life Master's program, as the first phase of the Master/PhD Direct Track, was newly established at the Universities of Göttingen and Heidelberg after the MPS Matter to Life 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 the early recruitment of international young talents directly after the Bachelor's degree.


The idea of a joint master's degree at sites with outstanding research in the future-oriented field of Matter to Life began in 2017 in the application process to become a Max Planck School. "It is an essential step for the School that both universities are joining the implementation of a Joint Degree,” said Professor Joachim Spatz, Director at the Max Planck Institute for Medical Research in Heidelberg and chair of the School. “We see this not only as a strong support for the Matter to Life program, but also as a clear signal for the future."


The Joint Master Degree thus incorporates the approach of the Max Planck Schools - to pool the scientific excellence distributed across locations in Germany – at a very early stage in the master's phase. Professor Bernhard 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 component of the strategic further development of the university and for the life sciences in general.


Professor Metin Tolan, President of the University of Göttingen, 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 partners involved, have such a high quality of students and candidates." In this context, he was particularly pleased to congratulate the first graduates.


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 MPS Matter to Life cross-site network, composed of Fellows from six universities and 14 nonuniversity research institutes, provides international talent 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 research infrastructure.