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Engaging the Network


Max Planck Law is a network that brings together the researchers and resources of the eleven law-related Max Planck Institutes for more cooperation among the Institutes and for better reception of the Institutes’ research outcomes around the world.

It’s true that the Max Planck Law project is staffed by a small team based at the Frankfurt Institute for Legal History and Legal Theory. But that infrastructure is just a modest, facilitative hub. More significantly, more dynamically, the Max Planck Law network consists of all the members of the Max Planck Institutes’ impressive research teams — PhD candidates, Postdocs, Senior Researchers, Group Leaders, Fellows and Affiliates, and, of course, the Institutes’ Directors.

A network is a “system of interconnected people” that “has the potential to increase the value of the sum of its individual nodes exponentially” through information sharing and social-professional reinforcement. It follows that, the more networking that takes place, the greater are the additive effects of networking, as more information is shared and more initiative and capacity is reinforced. It’s tempting to paraphrase Max Planck’s quantum theory when thinking about all of this: the quantum of networking is equal to the product of the frequency of networking.

To realize the quantum potential of networking across the law-related Institutes, Max Planck Law is passionately committed to fostering and facilitating the greatest possible frequency of networking among the Institutes’ researchers — that is — among you. We have the commitment and competence needed to help networking activities thrive. We also have some resources to support your networking activities.

Cooperation of this kind might take many forms. To help coordinate those synergies, we have identified four distinct “formats of cooperation.” But like any respectable classification, the lines between these formats can become blurred. And in any case, they are not meant to discourage imagined cooperation that defies these formats altogether. First and foremost, the formats are guides and prompts that are meant to encourage you to pursue cooperation with colleagues based at other law-related Institutes and beyond. These formats of cooperation are meant to encourage you to dream.

Two of the formats are more centralized and substantial. One format involves formalized external cooperation that “enables scholarly exchange between Max Planck Law and other institutions.” The newly inaugurated Max Planck Law Exchange with Cambridge University is an example. Another format involves fora that serve as frameworks for long-term, closely-integrated inter-institutional cooperation between Directors for the scaled production of research outcomes and the enhancement of international visibility on shared research interests or agendas. The Max Planck Law Forum for Latin America is an example. Max Planck Law external cooperation agreements and fora involve extensive involvement from the Directors and centralized administration from the Max Planck Law team.

But two other formats of cooperation are meant to be decentralized and dynamic — fuelled only by the energy, vision, and inspiration of researchers in the Max Planck Law Network at every stage of their careers, including PhD candidates and Postdocs. These “grassroots” networking formats include Max Planck Law Projects and Max Planck Law Initiatives. You are enthusiastically invited to conceptualize and convene networking cooperation in these formats by completing the relevant on-line form.


Max Planck Law Projects

Discrete cooperation between two or more members from separate Institutes that deal with a research issue or question in an inter-institutional manner. Projects involve a clearly defined starting and ending point, a single event, or a single project. Projects should lead to a scholarly outcome, whether a traditional publication or contemporary forms of knowledge dissemination. Supervision of at least one Director is required.

To propose your project:


Examples of Max Planck Law Projects include:

  • a symposium or symposium series aimed at producing an edited volume or special issue
  • a single lecture or lecture series
  • a book launch event or resources to promote a new scholarly achievement
  • support for research capacity such as translations, editorial support, author-fees, or site-visits

Max Planck Law Initiatives

Long-running cooperation between two or more members from separate Institutes that deal with a research issue or question, or that promote networking and professional development in an inter-institutional manner. Supervision of at least one Director is required.

To propose your initiative:


Examples of Max Planck Law Initiatives include:

  • Max Planck Law — Law-Technology-Society
  • Max Planck Law — PhD Group
  • Max Planck Law — ADR & Arbitration Group
  • Max Planck Law — Chinese Law Research Group

Proposal Form

We warmly invite you to send us your proposal  for a Project or an Initiative via our online form.