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Partnership to focus on quantum materials research


Vancouver, BC – The University of British Columbia has formed a formal partnership with the Max Planck Society, Germany’s foremost basic research institution and home to 32 Nobel prizes.

UBC president Stephen Toope and Max Planck Society president Peter Gruss were joined in Munich on October 4 by Thomas Marr, Germany’s minister-counsellor of commercial and economic affairs, for the signing of a memorandum of understanding (MOU) that will establish the Max Planck-UBC Centre for Quantum Materials.

The agreement also commits both institutions to conducting joint research projects in Canada and Germany, and to increasing scholarly exchanges.

“Today’s agreement represents a joining of great strengths within both the Max Plank Society and UBC and will provide the underpinning for future research in advanced materials science,” said Professor Toope. “The knowledge and discoveries generated from these collaborations will profoundly change the lives of present and future generations.”

The Max Planck-UBC Centre for Quantum Materials is only the third Max Planck Center to be established. The others are the Indo Max Planck Center for Computer Science in India and the CSIC-MPG Research Unit in Spain, which focuses on early European culture and religion. The first and only Max Planck Institute in North America is in Florida with Florida Atlantic University and is currently under construction.

Established in 1948, the Max Planck Society for the Advancement of Science is a non-governmental, non-profit society that funds 80 institutes and research facilities in Germany and establishes strategic research partnerships with institutions around the world. Scientists from the society – and its precursor, the Kaiser-Wilhelm-Society – have earned 32 Nobel prizes since 1914.

UBC principal investigators to lead research groups in the new Max Planck-UBC Centre include four CRC’s and five Fellows of the Royal Society of Canada – two of whom are also fellows of the Royal Society of London. In addition, three of the researchers are among the 100 most cited physicists in the world. They will be led by Professor George Sawatzky, Canada Research Chair in Physics and Chemistry of Nano-structured Materials.