DESY  (Deutsches Elektronen-Synchrotron) is one of the world’s leading accelerator centres. The research centre, which is a member of the Helmholtz Association, develops, builds and operates large accelerator facilities, which it uses to investigate the structure of matter. DESY’s combination of accelerator development, research with photons and particle physics is unique in Europe. All in all, more than 3,000 scientists from 40 countries come to Hamburg each year to work at DESY.

Large-scale research facilities and international projects

The centre’s research programme is not restricted to its large-scale research facilities. DESY is also actively involved in major international projects such as the European XFEL X-ray laser in Hamburg and Schleswig-Holstein, the LHC photon accelerator in Geneva, the international neutrino telescope IceCube at the South Pole and the International Linear Collider (ILC). DESY is actively involved in elementary particle physics, astroparticle physics and research with photons. This research involves the development, construction and use of accelerators and detectors. The new radiation sources, the free electron laser FLASHand its upgradeFLASH II, the synchrotron radiation source PETRA III and the European XFEL X-ray laser create unique cooperation opportunities in Hamburg for researchers from a wide variety of scientific disciplines.

For example, the Departments of Biology and Chemistry and the School of Medicine at Universität Hamburg are already using the unique possibilities offered by DESY’s large-scale research facilities. The establishment of the Centre for Structural Systems Biology (CSSB) is further expanding these possibilities, especially in the areas of infection and structural biology research. All of the doctoral candidates at the PIER Helmholtz Graduate School greatly benefit from these large-scale research facilities.

More information at

PIER Helmholtz Graduate School

Travel grants, language and soft skill courses, career training, helpdesk and more services for PhD Students of Universität Hamburg and DESY.