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Scientific research in Bonn: Max Planck to take over Caesar Research Institute

Scientific research in Bonn : Max Planck to take over Caesar Research Institute

In order to secure the long-term financing of the Center of Advanced European Studies and Research (Caesar), it is to be placed under the umbrella of the Max Planck Society. Both sides seem to be willing to make the move.

When its noon at the southern end of Ludwig-Erhard-Allee, the colorful glass building becomes even more attractive. Members of the German Armed Forces Command opposite and employees of neighboring institutions head purposefully for the Caesar Research Institute (Center of Advanced European Studies and Research) and its restaurant. But the striking office building on the edge of the Rheinaue is of course not only a place to eat, its primary function is for research. And that should remain so, if possible, but the financial situation is necessitating some changes.

Background: The financial support of the Research Center is based on an endowment model in which the interest on the endowment capital - at the start as much as 383 million euros - normally secures the operational costs. The low interest rate policy of recent years, however, has led to a dramatic drop in this type of investment income. For those responsible at Caesar, this is apparently reason enough to look around for alternatives.

One of those is integrating Caesar into the Max Planck Society, with which the Bonn research institute has been associated for almost 15 years. In this way, Caesar would become one of the nearly 90 Max Planck Institutes in Germany. Indeed, the word at the institute on Ludwig-Erhard-Allee is that talks to this effect have been initiated with the federal government, the state and the city of Bonn. The members of Bonn's city council have also been informed about the thought process. "The aim of the talks is to secure the scientific and financial future of the research center in Bonn in the long term", says Caesar press spokesman Sebastian Scherrer. The goal is to prevent the work of the research center from being impaired by the capital market situation in the future.

Max Planck Society confirms that talks have begun

The Max Planck Society (MPG) also confirms that talks have already begun. One consideration is to strengthen Caesar's link to the MPG and to transform the institution into a fully-fledged Max Planck Institute, says Christina Beck, head of communications at the Max Planck Society. The Munich-based institution is essentially prepared to assume financial responsibility for Caesar as well as the scientific responsibilities that go with it.

For the research center in Plittersdorf, this option would apparently be a good solution: "For Caesar, this would be the path to a scientifically highly attractive future that would continue to be financially viable and secure in the long run," Scherrer told the General-Anzeiger. Although talks in this direction have begun, they have not yet progressed far enough that any details can be reported. In any case, the two entities are speaking the same language when it comes to releasing information. "Such a transfer of Caesar to the MPG, however, requires extensive coordination in the respective institutes and in the Joint Science Conference (GWK) as well as the approval of other bodies and the approval of the responsible authorities," explains Beck. He called the process “complex"and said one had to wait until the talks were completed.

Orig. text: Rüdiger Franz, Stefan Thomas

Translation: ck