Mission and guiding principles


Mission and guiding principles of DESY

DESY has committed itself to fundamental research into the structure and functioning of matter, preparing the knowledge base necessary for the world of tomorrow. The research centre is thus making a unique and important contribution to the development of our society’s future. This mandate is included in DESY’s mission. Our responsibility, however, is not just to keep sight of our mission, but also to remain continuously aware of the values and work ethos we seek to pursue in the fulfillment of these goals and obligations.


We conduct top-level international research into the fundamental relationships of matter – its structure and function. We are creating the knowledge base that is needed in order to solve the huge and urgent challenges that are facing society, science and the economy. The research facilities we develop and operate for this purpose are open to scientists from all over the world.

We are expanding knowledge in the research fields of photon science, particle and astroparticle physics, and accelerator physics. We gain our results from synchrotron radiation sources, X-ray lasers, particle accelerators, detectors, and observatories, and we conduct related research and development work.

We offer young researchers an international and interdisciplinary setting for ambitious scientific projects, and we provide the appropriate training and working environment for a variety of technical and administrative professions.

Guiding principles

Research at the highest level

We stand for top-level research on an international level. As we develop our facilities and instruments, we are continually pushing back the boundaries of what is technically possible. We provide all of the necessary services and support for optimal scientific work. Our motivation and our outstanding capabilities are the foundation of our success.

Making an impact on society

We engage in dialogue with representatives of society, the scientific community, and the business community concerning future-oriented issues. Our research centre is open to all. The results of our research and development work are published and made available to the general public. We promote the application of our findings by means of active technology transfer projects. Our research pursues goals that are peaceful and serve civil society.

Strength through partnership

As a member of the Helmholtz Association of German Research Centres, we cooperate closely with universities and non-university research institutes. We are embedded in the regional, national and international research communities, and we foster close relationships with partners from society, the scientific community and the business community.

Liberty and responsibility

The freedom to pursue our research means that we bear a special degree of social responsibility. Most of the work we do is publicly funded. We handle our financial resources prudently.

Joint operations

Our successful cooperation benefits from the diverse personalities who work together at DESY, and from their different nationalities and variety of educational backgrounds. In our interactions we practise fairness, mutual appreciation and respect for the achievements and intellectual property of others. Our decisions concerning internal and external issues are transparent and reliable.

Quality and continuing education

We promote top quality and strive to continually improve our work. Recognition and objective criticism strengthen our self-confidence, promote our independence and encourage us to develop our own ideas. As highly motivated and achievement-oriented colleagues, we set great store by our professional and personal development and share our knowledge with others.

Promoting young people

We support young scientists and training programmes for young people. We are particularly committed to nurturing their enthusiasm for the natural sciences and technology.

Work and private life

We strive to achieve a balanced relationship between our work at DESY and our private lives, and we promote equal opportunity and a healthy balance between professional and family life.

Safety and health

Our colleagues are our most important potential when it comes to ensuring the successful future of DESY. We have the highest standards for workplace quality and health protection, and we maintain a high standard of safety both for our staff and for external visitors. We promote the physical, mental and social well-being of our colleagues and their ability to devote themselves to their jobs in a healthy, motivated and creative manner.


Our behaviour follows social, ecological and ethical standards. As far as the structure of our research is concerned, we commit ourselves to the development of sustainable concepts. We advocate the responsible handling of natural resources.