Activities as Founding Director
Prof. Dr.-Ing. Ernst Dieter Gilles is the founding director of the Max Planck Institute (MPI) for the Dynamics of Complex Technical Systems in Magdeburg. He was a scientific member of the Max Planck Society from 1997 to 2008. In 1999 he became an honorary professor at the University of Magdeburg. Professor Gilles was head of the System Biology Group at the MPI until 2011.
As a scientist and university lecturer Ernst Dieter Gilles helped shape and open up exciting career prospects for a generation of graduates and doctoral students. The mathematical description of chemical processes and the subsequent application of these mainly to system control problems is characteristic of his work. He is considered as a representative of the "Stuttgart School".
One of the most significant prerequisites for the establishment of Max Planck Institutes is the identification of suitably qualified scientists who have the ability to lead from the front and bring about significant advances in emerging fields of research and who also have the necessary leadership skills to build up a research institute. With the appointment of Professor Gilles in 1997, it proved possible to attract Germany's leading system and control engineer to relocate from Stuttgart to take on this role.
His outstanding scientific studies, his knack of identifying new issues and developments, and his prudence as an administrative director laid the foundations for a successful inauguration of the Max Planck Institute for the Dynamics of Complex Technical Systems in Magdeburg.
After the Senate of the Max Planck Society for the Advancement of Science had approved the establishment of the MPI for the Dynamics of Complex Technical Systems in 1996 - incidentally the first ever MPI with a technical science remit - the MPI began operations in Magdeburg in June 1998 following the appointment of twenty members of staff.
Magdeburg was chosen as the location for the institute because the Otto von Guericke University already offers a broad selection of study courses and has a major research focus in the field of engineering science.
Since then more than 200 well equipped workplaces for highly qualified personnel have been created at the MPI Magdeburg by the foundation funding provided by the Max Planck Society and multiplied through a plethora of third-party activities such as the Dynamic Systems: Biosystems Engineering research centre. Many posts have been filled by scientists from the other German federal states and from overseas, which has had a positive impact on both the city and the state. Further growth is to be expected as a result of the first spin offs from the MPI Magdeburg.
Institute Foundation Timeline
- June 1996 - The Senate of the Max Planck Society (MPG) for the Advancement of Science approves the establishment of the Max Planck Institute for the Dynamics of Complex Technical Systems, the first ever Max Planck Institute (MPI) with a technical science remit.
- 1996 - MPG Commission starts work on the foundation of an institute with a technical science remit under the leadership of Professor Aldinger (MPI for Metals Research in Stuttgart). Members of the Foundation Commission visit Magdeburg, which was selected as the location for the institute because the Otto-von-Guericke University already offers a broad selection of courses and has a major research focus in the field of engineering science.
- May 1997 – Professor Gilles accepts the offer appointment. One reason for accepting the post is the institute's "contribution to the development of the scientific topology in the newly-formed German states".
- October 1997 – Professor Gilles takes up his duties as Foundation Director.
- June 1998 - The Max Planck Institute begins operations in the laboratories and rooms in the ZENIT building.
- 16 April 1999 - Official start of operations in the ZENIT building.
- 19 October 1999 – Laying of the foundation stone at Askanischer Platz / Sandtorstrasse 1
- 19 September 2000 – Topping out ceremony for the new institute building
- September 2001 – Handover of the new research building, with a total floor space of 5700 m², following a two-year construction phase. The Max Planck Society invested a total of 29 million euro
- May 2002 – Solemn inauguration of the institute building