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Programme Matter and the Universe

Participating Centres

Four Helmholtz Centers contribute to the programme Matter and the Universe: Deutsches Elektronen-Synchrotron (DESY) in Hamburg and Zeuthen, Forschungszentrum Jülich GmbH (FZJ), Helmholtzzentrum für Schwerionenforschung GmbH (GSI) in Darmstadt with its Helmholtz Institute in Mainz (HIM), and the Karlsruher Institut für Technologie (KIT).





Deutsches Elektronen-Synchrotron (DESY)

Prof. Dr. Dr. h.c. Helmut Dosch
Notkestr. 85
22607 Hamburg
Phone: ++49 40 8998 3000
Fax: ++49 40 8998 4303
Email: desy-director∂


DESY is a leading centre for accelerator research and development and for the exploration of the structure of matter. At its two locations in Hamburg and Zeuthen, DESY pursues a focused research programme in accelerator development, photon science, and particle and astroparticle physics; the laboratory is thus well represented in all programmes within the Research Field Matter. DESY has long experience in the construction and operation of large-scale research facilities like HERA, the synchrotron radiation source PETRA-III or the free electron laser FLASH. DESY is the coordinator of the consortium building the superconducting linear accelerator for the European X-ray Free Electron Laser (XFEL) currently under construction in Hamburg. DESY and its infrastructure attract more than 3,000 scientists from over 40 countries per year.


In the programme Matter and the Universe, DESY is a major stakeholder in the topics Fundamental Particles and Forces and Matter and Radiation from the Universe. DESY is a key partner in many international projects such as the LHC (experiments ATLAS and CMS), SuperKEKB (experiment Belle II), CTA and IceCube, and has been a central player in the preparatory work towards the next large-scale facility of particle physics, an e+e linear collider. DESY's excellent facilities and broad expertise make it a prime candidate for substantial contributions to international collaborations.




Forschungszentrum Jülich (FZJ)


Prof. Dr. Sebastian M. Schmidt
52428 Jülich
Phone: ++49 2461 61 3901
Fax: ++49 2461 61 2640


FZJ is one of Europe's largest interdisciplinary research centres, aiming to identify comprehensive solutions to the grand challenges facing society. Research comprises the fields of health, energy and environment, and information technology with a strong basis in the physical sciences. World-class tools such as supercomputers, analytical equipment, imaging instrumentation and accelerators are employed to generate results with direct benefits for society.


Within the programme Matter and the Universe of the Research Field Matter, Jülich exploits its equipment and experience, and takes on a leading role in hadron physics at FAIR, e.g. the construction of HESR and contributions to PANDA. Jülich operates and develops the Cooler Synchrotron (COSY) and pursues plans for advanced accelerator-based future research infrastructures. In this context, the direct access and close cooperation with the Jülich Supercomputer Center (JSC) and with the Central Institute for Engineering, Electronics and Analytics (ZEA) comprising the divisions Engineering and Technology (ZEA-1) and Electronic Systems (ZEA-2) is an invaluable asset.




GSI Helmholtzzentrum für Schwerionenforschung (GSI)


Prof. Dr. Dr. h.c. mult. Horst Stöcker
Planckstr. 1
64291 Darmstadt
Phone: ++49 6159 71 2648
Fax: ++49 6159 71 2991
Email: h.stoecker∂


Founded in 1969 in Darmstadt, GSI is the German centre for heavy ion research operating a large accelerator infrastructure with about 1,150 employees. The unique combination of the heavy-ion accelerator facilities UNILAC, SIS, and ESR enables the acceleration, storage, and cooling of all ion species from protons up to uranium in virtually any charge state up to relativistic energies of 1-2 GeV per nucleon. In the past three decades the GSI accelerator infrastructure has attracted a broad user community of over 1,500 researchers (50% from German research institutions). The mission of GSI at the main Darmstadt site during the third period of the Programme-oriented Funding (PoF 3) is the construction and commissioning of the Facility for Antiproton and Ion Research (FAIR) in collaboration with national and international FAIR partners. GSI has therefore been exempted from the current PoF evaluation process. Since 2009, research at GSI has been complemented and considerably strengthened by the foundation of the two Helmholtz Institutes Jena and Mainz located as branch oces of GSI on the campus of the respective universities. Starting with this PoF-period, both Helmholtz Institutes will take part in the Programme-oriented Funding of the Helmholtz Association. HI Mainz will participate in the programmes Matter and the Universe and Matter and Technologies, and HI Jena in the programmes From Matter to Materials and Life and Matter and Technologies, respectively.




Karlsruher Institut für Technologie (KIT)


Prof. Dr. Holger Hanselka
Hermann-von-Helmholtz-Platz 1
76344 Eggenstein-Leopoldshafen
Phone: ++49 721 608 22000
Fax: ++49 721 608 26123
Email: holger.hanselka∂


KIT is a university of the State of Baden-Württemberg and the second-largest Helmholtz Research Centre. It makes multi-disciplinary contributions to the Helmholtz Research Fields Key Technologies, Earth and Environment, Energy and Matter. With 9,400 employees, 370 professors, 3,200 doctoral researchers, and an annual budget of about 790 million euros, KIT is one of the biggest research and education institutions in Europe.


KIT delivers important shares to all three programmes of the Research Field Matter. In Matter and the Universe, this includes the phenomenology of particle physics, the LK II Tier-1 computing center GridKa, neutrino physics (notably with the KATRIN experiment), search for Dark Matter and cosmic ray research. KIT operates the synchrotron-radiation source ANKA, an LK II facility of the programme From Matter to Materials and Life. Finally, KIT contributes accelerator research and advanced detector developments to the newly created programme Matter and Technologies.


KIT actively links the university domain with the Helmholtz programmes. In particular, Matter and the Universe is strengthened by experts originating from the university domain working on elementary particle theory, grid computing, cosmology and Dark Matter.