The Max Planck Institute for Metals Research was founded in Berlin-Neubabelsberg in 1920 as one of the first Kaiser Wilhelm Institutes. In 1934 it moved to Stuttgart and in 1949 it was renamed "Max-Planck-Institut für Metallforschung" (MPI-MF).
With the new building completed in 2002, the Institute is since then fully established on the Max Planck Campus Stuttgart-Büsnau, being in close interaction with the Max Planck Institute for Solid State Research, as well as the University of Stuttgart and the Fraunhofer campus which are close by.
In the early days of the MPI-MF its main research areas were physical metallurgy and metal physics. In the 70s, new areas like engineering ceramics, intermetallics and composites were added. During the last decade, the MPI-MF once again shifted its research focus to include new materials like organics, soft matter, liquids and biomaterials and by implementing new analytical techniques and synthesis concepts. Hence, today the name "Metals Research" is only half the story. The limits between the classical subjects physics, chemistry and engineering sciences became blurred.
The Institute has been governed by the Board of Directors which usually elects from among its members a Managing Director for a period of two years. It operated six Central Scientific Facilities (ZWEs) and the Stuttgart Center for Electronmicroscopy (StEM) providing scientific and technical service to all scientific groups and which also collaborated with Universities and neighboring research institutes. Each Central Scientific Facilities has been closely affiliated with one Department.
During the past four years the Institute has increased its efforts to establish Independent Scientific Groups on the campus. At the time of scientific reorientation, the Institute hosted four young scientists which were either successful via the open call of the Max Planck Society for Independent Scientific Junior Groups (Dr. Sylvie Roke) or via external calls (Dr. Ana Garcia-Saez, Dr. Raquel Martin, Dr. Ralf Richter). Furthermore, the research group of a Max Planck Fellow (Professor Bechinger) could be established in 2007.