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Programme Matter and the Universe

Local Partnerships

The Helmholtz Association with its annual budget of 3.8 billion euros is constantly optimising its structures to provide ideal conditions for its strategically oriented research and has made a significant contribution to the development of German science. An important element is the strategic collaboration with universities and other research facilities that have been established in conjunction with the Excellence Initiative. In the context of Matter and the Universe, we mention here the founding of the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT), the launch of the Jülich–Aachen Research Alliance (JARA), the Partnership for Education and Research (PIER) between DESY Hamburg and Hamburg University, and the creation of the Helmholtz Institute Mainz (HIM).


DESY Hamburg historically maintains strong ties with Hamburg University (UHH) at all levels. The recently founded Wolfgang Pauli Centre for Theoretical Physics (WPC) and the Centre for Mathematical Physics (ZMP) ("Zentrum für Mathematische Physik") are of specific relevance for this proposal. On the experimental side, DESY and UHH groups have always closely collaborated, exemplified by the fields of CMS data analysis and detector development. DESY and UHH also cooperate closely in LHC computing. The ties between DESY and the University Hamburg have been formalized with the aforementioned PIER, in which the activities in particle and astroparticle physics are particularly important. The PIER–Helmholtz Graduate School offers excellent education and training centered around the PIER research fields.


DESY Zeuthen, the Humboldt University Berlin and the University of Potsdam have formed the Berlin-Brandenburg Cluster (BBC) with common appointments and experimental and theoretical research on cosmic accelerators and gamma-ray astronomy. Activities comprise the gamma-ray experiments VERITAS, H.E.S.S. and CTA, the design and construction of telescope control and readout systems, and theoretical modelling and interpretation of gamma emission in a variety of astrophysical environments. The BBC offers an attractive combination of excellent research opportunities with outstanding education and training at the universities. The DESY IT department has direct cooperations with the universities for applied science in Berlin and in Wedel near Hamburg. Joint programs for education of bachelor and master students are in place.


KIT has assumed a unique role as a Helmholtz Centre and a university of the State of Baden-Württemberg. A multitude of synergies arises from this situation as the features of the Helmholtz and University domains become inextricably intertwined: a vivid academic and student environment meets a mission to do long-term and large-scale research projects. The immediate and obvious benefit of Matter and the Universe is the integration of researchers that originate in the University domain. KIT will strengthen the programme with new resources: a group of order ten researchers working on particle phenomenology and three on grid computing, both in the topic Fundamental Particles and Forces, and two scientists working on cosmology in the topic Matter and Radiation from the Universe. Additional increments will go into Matter and Technologies.


At Forschungszentrum Jülich (FZJ) a strong cooperation exists between the three experimental institutes of the Institut für Kernphysik (IKP), and theory, which is both in IKP and the Institute for Advanced Simulation (IAS) and is located in the Research Field "Key Technologies": the theoretical institute (IKP-3, IAS-4) is an associated partner in the topic Cosmic Matter in the Laboratory. The section JARA-FAME (Forces And Matter Experiments) of the Jülich–Aachen Research Alliance between RWTH Aachen and Forschungszentrum Jülich, which has been founded in 2012, is a strategic partner to investigate the fate of antimatter. The local and national partnership of universities and research centers working at COSY, more recently extended to the international level, is organised under the umbrella of CANU (COSY Association of Networking Universities) and comprises about 20 institutions.


GSI has been founded by the surrounding universities Darmstadt, Frankfurt, Giessen, Heidelberg and Mainz, which continue to be very strong strategic partners. The Helmholtz International Center for FAIR (HIC4FAIR) is a research alliance of universities in the state of Hesse: Darmstadt, Frankfurt, Giessen and the FIAS Institute in Frankfurt, together with GSI. It is currently funded by the state of Hesse and GSI, yielding a high-tech research & development platform creating synergy for FAIR detector and accelerator developments. It makes contributions to all FAIR experiments and includes a theory activity and developments for high performance computing for FAIR as well as for physics simulations for FAIR. The Helmholtz Graduate School HGShire provides a structured PhD curriculum for 380 PhD students centered around GSI and FAIR.


The Helmholtz Institute Mainz (HIM) was founded in June 2009 as an institutional cooperation between the Helmholtz Centre GSI and the Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz (JGU). HIM is a permanent branch office of GSI located on the JGU campus and jointly funded by Mainz university and GSI. At present it hosts 75 staff working in six research sections on nucleon spectroscopy and structure using high-energy antiprotons, atomic physics using low-energy antiprotons, synthesis of superheavy elements, accelerator physics and theory. A new laboratory building is being constructed while infrastructures are shared between HIM and JGU. JGU operates two larger-scale infrastructures on campus: the research reactor TRIGA and the 1.6 GeV electron accelerator MAMI-C.