This scientific area plays a significant role in fundamental research as well as in a variety of hi-tech industry sectors including oil field exploration and quantum computing. And it has become a magnet for the world’s best researchers in the field.

The world’s first "International Max Planck Partnership", established in 2013 between five Scottish Universities and five German Max Planck Institutes, supports research around the theme of ‘Measurement and Observation at the Quantum Limit’ (MOQL).

Professor Jim Hough, UK Director of the Partnership: “The MOQL Max Planck Partnership is the first such collaboration of its kind and reflects the strength of the existing research community and infrastructure within Scotland. It aims to promote new scientific collaborations at the very highest levels and raises the profile of Scottish Science, attracting some of the world’s leading physicists to our institutions. It is our aim that the research taking place within the Partnership will form the groundwork for future translational research to develop emerging technologies for market.”

Minister for Science Alasdair Allan, MSP, said: “It is great that the world’s first 'International Max Planck Partnership' was launched by Scottish Universities. This is another example of the global reputation and strength of research in Scotland and will help further boost our higher education sector.”

Professor Dr. Karsten Danzmann, Director of the Albert Einstein Institute, Hannover, said: “The strong research links between our communities provide a sustainable basis for increasing scientific knowledge. This new Max Planck Partnership is particularly exciting because it could pave the way to pioneering results in basic science and to novel technologies.”


Major boost to the future development of new quantum technologies and fundamental science

The IMPP is a major boost to the future development of new quantum technologies and fundamental science in Scotland. It significantly strengthens research links between Scotland and Germany – and enhances Scotland’s reputation as a world leader in fundamental, or ‘discovery’, science that forms the foundations of emerging and future technologies.

This new model incorporates leading physics research groups from the universities of Glasgow, Strathclyde, St Andrews, Heriot-Watt and Edinburgh with The Max Planck Institute for Gravitational Physics (Albert Einstein Institute) Hannover; the MPI for the Science of Light, Erlangen; the MPI for Quantum Optics, Garching; the MPI for Chemical Physics, Dresden; and the MPI for Solid State Physics, Stuttgart.

Scotland is already a leading centre for research in quantum technologies and this partnership complements the country’s existing world-class science and engineering research bases, including the new £10 million Centre for Sensors & Imaging Systems (CENSIS) based at the University of Glasgow, which opened in January 2014, and the Fraunhofer Centre for Applied Photonics at the University of Strathclyde.

By facilitating research collaborations and knowledge exchange between leading domestic and international institutes, Scotland is now in a position to establish itself as an international hub for the discovery and exploitation of cutting-edge science and technology – and a magnet for the world’s best researchers in the field.

The IMPP is supported by funding from the Scottish Funding Council, and a joint grant from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council and the Science & Technology Facilities Council. The Scottish universities involved also contribute to the initial £5 million funding package, which lasts five years.