StudyHeidelberg and Göttingen: Joint Master’s Degree “Matter to Life”

3 February 2023

Unique joint degree programme originated from the Max Planck School of the same name

The universities of Göttingen and Heidelberg will in future offer a joint master’s degree in the interdisciplinary “Matter to Life” programme. An agreement to this effect has been signed by Prof. Dr Bernhard Eitel, Rector of Heidelberg University, and Prof. Dr Metin Tolan, President of Göttingen University. The programme and degree are unique in Germany and build on the approach of the Max Planck School of the same name, from which they originated. Researchers in the interdisciplinary field “Matter to Life” work towards understanding the building blocks of living systems, in order to develop and construct new “life-like” processes and systems in the long term. To that end, they are combining approaches from physics and chemistry, engineering sciences and life sciences.

“With our new joint degree programme, we have another important instrument with which to face up to the global competition for the best scientists at an early stage in their career and, in the long term, to make top-level research in Germany even more competitive internationally,” says Prof. Eitel. For the joint master’s programme of the universities of Heidelberg and Göttingen, the course regulations and curriculum were standardised across state borders and harmonised with the respective higher education laws of Baden-Württemberg and Lower Saxony.

The connection between two leading universities in Germany within the framework of the Max Planck School Matter to Life ensures the long-term sustainability of the programme, according to its spokesperson Prof. Dr Joachim Spatz, Director at the Max Planck Institute for Medical Research in Heidelberg and a researcher at Heidelberg University. “The joint degree programme is another important step in anchoring our Max Planck School in the German science system.” The aim is to recruit the world’s best early career researchers in a rapidly developing field of the future for Germany and to integrate them into the German research network for the long term.

The total of three Max Planck Schools offer opportunities to attract outstanding young researchers with a bachelor’s degree to embark upon a structured master’s to doctoral programme, and thereby to pool scientific excellence in interdisciplinary fields of research that is scattered all over Germany across locations. Approx. 60 researchers from eight universities and 15 non-university research institutions all over the country are involved in the “Matter to Life” graduate programme; more than 50 percent of students are from abroad.

From left to right: Prof. Dr Stefan Klumpp, Prof. Dr Sarah Köster, both Faculty of Physics at the University of Göttingen, Prof. Dr Bernhard Eitel, Rector of Heidelberg University, Prof. Dr Metin Tolan, President of the University of Göttingen, and Prof. Dr Joachim Spatz, Spokesperson for the Max Planck School Matter to Life.