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Strategy 2030 – DESY has marked out its course for future research and innovation

Excellent outlook for the research centre

Today, the research centre DESY announced its strategy for the coming years. Following a comprehensive strategy-finding process, the centre, which is a member of the Helmholtz Association, has established the areas in science and innovation it intends to focus on, as well as the future development of its large-scale research facilities. “The outlook for this science centre is excellent: we are developing the campus in Hamburg together with partners at all levels – within the national and local governments, at the University of Hamburg and other research institutions – to become an ‘international port for science’. This could involve investments worth billions over the next 15 years, to set up new research centres and facilities,” says Helmut Dosch, the chairman of DESY’s Board of Directors. “The Zeuthen site, which we are expanding to become an international centre for astroparticle physics, is undergoing a similarly spectacular development.”

DESY’s plans for the coming years include building the world’s best 3D X-ray microscope, expanding the X-ray laser European XFEL, a new Centre for Data and Computing Science, and consolidating technology transfer and innovation. “I would like to congratulate the research centre DESY on this bold and far-sighted strategy,” says Otmar D. Wiestler, the President of the Helmholtz Association. “In order to tackle the great challenges facing society systemically and sustainably, we need a strong infrastructure and brilliant minds. DESY has made important strategic decisions in order to continue to study the components of matter and the forces acting between them at a top international level. As a result, we are going to create even more attractive research conditions for top scientists from all over the world.”

The key elements of DESY’s strategy are:

  • DESY is planning to build the ultimate 3D X-ray microscope in the form of PETRA IV. This will provide images of processes taking place in the nanocosm that will be 100 times more detailed than currently achievable, approaching the limit of what is physically possible. The detailed concept is to be presented by next year, and the Technical Design Report will be submitted in 2021. The first experiments could be carried out in 2026.
  • Together with the European XFEL, DESY is planning to comprehensively expand the European X-ray Free-Electron Laser and is continuing to develop the technology for this, among other things to increase the number of X-ray pulses from 27,000 to up to one million per second.
  • The Centre for Data and Computing Science (CDCS) is being established at the Hamburg Campus, to meet the increasing demands made by data-intensive applications in research.
  • DESY’s Zeuthen site is being expanded to become an international centre for astroparticle physics, focusing on gamma-ray and neutrino astronomy.
  • Technology transfer is to be substantially increased, in order to make DESY the starting point for further start-ups in the Hamburg and Brandenburg regions.
  • DESY is developing and testing new concepts for building compact accelerators in the future.
  • DESY is studying and developing a new generation of high-resolution detector systems, which will afford unparalleled insights into the structure of matter.
  • Together with its partners on the Hamburg Campus, DESY will consolidate its role as a leading international centre for research into the structure, dynamics and function of matter using X-rays.
  • As Germany’s most important centre for particle physics, DESY will continue to expand its leading position as a key partner in international projects and set up an attractive research and development programme for particle physics.
  • DESY will continue to expand its national and international networks and develop its Hamburg and Zeuthen sites to become attractive places for the interdisciplinary exchange of ideas, science and innovation.

As one of Germany’s largest research centres, DESY is producing new insights and new approaches every day. This is the basis for meeting the challenges facing society in the future. However, it calls for long-term thinking, sustainable solutions and new technologies,” as Dosch points out. “The strategy ‘DESY 2030’ takes these various goals into account. At the same time the centre is thereby also strengthening its leading role within the international scientific research community.”

Accelerators are some of the most important tools used by research scientists. A wide range of fields benefit from them, from medicine and biology, through physics and material science, to the history of art. Developing accelerators is therefore a field of research in its own right, and a core competency of DESY, which is one of the world’s leading accelerator centres. At DESY, scientists from some 60 different countries are studying the structure and function of matter – from the interplay of the tiniest elementary particles, through the behaviour of novel nanomaterials and vital biological molecules, to the big mysteries of the universe.

DESY is a member of the Helmholtz Association and receives 90 percent of its funding from the Federal Ministry of Education and Research and 10 percent from the states of Hamburg and Brandenburg. The Helmholtz Association is a union of 18 scientific-technical and medical-biological research centres. Its workforce of 39,000 and annual budget of 4.5 billion euros make the Helmholtz Association the largest scientific organisation in Germany.