The Max Planck Florida Institute is the first Institute the German-based Max Planck Society has established in the United States. In July 2008, the Palm Beach County Board of County Commissioners unanimously approved the allocation of $86.9 million to build and operate the Max Planck Florida Institute. The total amount of the investment by the county and its partners in the deal, which includes Florida Atlantic University (FAU), is $94 million. This amount matches the agreement signed in March, 2008 by the Florida Governor's Office of Tourism, Trade and Economic Development to allocate $94 million from the state's Innovation Incentive Fund to bring the research institute to Florida.
Research at the Max Planck Florida Institute will focus on brain function and neural circuits, using the most advanced techniques to visualize microscopic molecular processes. Understanding the functional organization of the nervous system, its capacity to produce perception, thought, language, memory, emotion, and action, remains the ultimate challenge for biology. Neural circuits, the complex synaptic networks of the brain, hold the key to understanding who we are, why we behave the way we do, and how the debilitating effects of neurological and psychiatric disorders can be ameliorated. Meeting this challenge requires forging links between different levels of analysis—genetic, molecular, cellular, circuit, and behavioral—and developing new technologies that make cutting edge scientific discoveries possible. The Max Planck Florida Institute brings together outstanding scientists with a broad range of expertise in a cohesive, collaborative environment designed to stimulate the development of novel approaches to understanding the structure, function, and development of neural circuits.
A study conducted by Enterprise Florida anticipates that the research organization will support the creation of more than 1,800 jobs, both directly and indirectly, over the next two decades, and generate more than $2 billion in economic activity. The Max Planck Florida Institute adds a strong international component to Palm Beach County's life sciences cluster and to the general economic base. Located at Florida Atlantic University's McArthur Campus it establishes an important, sustainable foundation for an expanded, knowledge-based economy in the area that will create high-salaried jobs and pay unparalleled educational and social dividends to the community.
Enriching science programs is an important component of the Max Planck Society philosophy around the world. In order to enhance and advance bioscience programs at all levels of education the Max Planck Florida Institute has established relationships with universities and schools around the state, as well as with the Palm Beach County School District. Max Planck Florida Institute launched new joint "Integrative Biology and Neuroscience" (IBAN) graduate program with FAU last fall. As the Florida Institute grows its presence, it will provide internship programs to high school students, and other educational opportunities.
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