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Max Planck Institute to create opportunities for collaboration with FAU

As the Max Planck Florida Institute settles in at Florida Atlantic University's Jupiter campus, administrators are working to establish collaborations with FAU and other researchers in Palm Beach County.

“So far our relationship with FAU was very good. The faculty was very helpful and we look forward to continue working with them in the future,” said Claudia Hillinger, the vice president for institute development.

Hillinger said it is too early to specify what student internships will be available, but the screening process is to begin next year. Summer research internships also be available in the near future for those in high school, while educational scholarships will develop over time as scientific research expands, she said.

Much of the hiring at Max Planck still is to come. Already, though, Dr. Bert Sakmann, a Nobel laureate, has been named scientific director. He is leading a study of the arrangement of nerves in the brain, to help understand brain degenerative diseases.

Sakmann came from Germany accompanied by two young scientists who had been working with him.

The Max Planck Institute does not grant the doctoral degrees the way Scripps Florida, a biomedical research facility also located on the MacArthur campus, does through its own Kellogg School of Science and Technology.

Max Planck will, however, collaborate with FAU to create programs in which students can work at there and have those efforts count toward their degrees, Hillinger said.

Palm Beach County will provide $87 million to Max Planck over the next 10 years. That is in addition to the $94 million that will be provided by Florida.

The fledgling Florida Institute is operating at a 40,000-square-foot temporary location while awaiting the completion of its permanent complex on campus by fall 2011.

The planned 100,000-square-foot research facility will be on six acres of land adjacent to Scripps Florida. The land was donated by FAU as part of the incentive package to bring the Max Planck to Jupiter.

The research organization is contracted to create135 jobs by 2015. There are currently 10 employees, four from Germany including two guest researchers. Three more employees are to be hired before the end of 2009, and hiring will continue in the first quarter of 2010 – including an international search to fill two senior research positions, officials said.

For information about employment and internship opportunities, Hillinger suggested checking institute's Web site regularly www.Maxplanckflorida.org.




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