The Max Planck Society for the Advancement of Science (German: Max-Planck-Gesellschaft zur Förderung der Wissenschaften e. V.; abbreviated MPG) is a formally independent non-governmental and non-profit association of German research institutes founded in 1911 as the Kaiser Wilhelm Society and renamed the Max Planck Society in 1948 in honor of its former president, theoretical physicist Max Planck. The society is funded by the federal and state governments of Germany.
According to its primary goal, the Max Planck Society supports fundamental research in the natural, life and social sciences, the arts and humanities in its 84 (as of December 2017) Max Planck Institutes. The society has a total staff of approximately 17,000 permanent employees, including 5,470 scientists, plus around 4,600 non-tenured scientists and guests. The society's budget for 2015 was about €1.7 billion. As of December 31, 2016, the Max Planck Society employed a total of 22,995 staff, of whom 14,036 were scientists, which represents nearly 61 percent of the total number of employees. 44.3% were female employees and 27% of all of the employees were foreign nationals.
The Max Planck Society has a world-leading reputation as a science and technology research organization, with 33 Nobel Prizes awarded to their scientists, and is widely regarded as one of the foremost basic research organizations in the world. In 2018, the Nature Publishing Index placed the Max Planck institutes third worldwide in terms of research published in Nature journals (after the Chinese Academy of Sciences and Harvard University). In terms of total research volume (unweighted by citations or impact), the Max Planck Society is only outranked by the Chinese Academy of Sciences, the Russian Academy of Sciences and Harvard University in the Times Higher Education institutional rankings. The Thomson Reuters-Science Watch website placed the Max Planck Society as the second leading research organization worldwide following Harvard University in terms of the impact of the produced research over science fields.
The Max Planck Society and its predecessor Kaiser Wilhelm Society hosted several renowned scientists in their fields, including luminaries such as Otto Hahn, Werner Heisenberg, and Albert Einstein.