The MPIWG comprises three departments under the direction of Jürgen Renn (I), Lorraine Daston (II), and Dagmar Schäfer (III). Hans-Jörg Rheinberger, who headed Department III from 1995 to 2014, will remain at the MPIWG as emeritus. The three directors administer the institute collectively; the position of executive director rotates every two to three years. Since 2015, Dagmar Schäfer serves as executive director.
Besides the research departments, there are seven research groups (as of May 2013), each directed by one junior research director. Various institutions, such as the Max Planck Society, the Volkswagen-Stiftung, and the German Research Fund (DFG), fund them. They are independent in their research program.
The MPIWG is advised and evaluated every two to three years by the institute’s advisory board, which consists of leading international scholars in the history of science.
All of the research units’ activities are supported by the administration (headed by Claudia Paaß), by the research coordinator and the computing unit (headed by Ohad Parnes), by the library (headed by Esther Chen), by the head of cooperations and communications (Hansjakob Ziemer), and by the digital humanities group.