Our Research Centers

Scientists in 18 Helmholtz Centers work on a wide range of topics, such as A for astrophysics, B for biology, C for cell research, and so on. Almost 42,000 staff use the most modern scientific infrastructure, including, in particular, large-scale facilities and instrumentation, which are also open to use by members of the international scientific community. Working on behalf of the state, Helmholtz scientists pursue an ambitious goal: To make an essential contribution to solving the grand challenges which society faces.

Deutsches Elektronen-Synchrotron DESY

 Deutsches Elektronen-Synchrotron DESY

DESY is one of the world’s leading accelerator centres. DESY develops, builds and operates large accelerator facilities, which are used to investigate the structure of matter. The combination of photon science and particle physics at DESY is unique in Europe. DESY carries out fundamental research in a range of scientific fields and focuses on three principal areas:


DESY develops, builds and operates large facilities that accelerate particles to extremely high energies.

Photon science

Physicists, chemists, geologists, biologists, medical researchers and materials scientists use the special light from DESY’s accelerators to observe structures and processes in the microcosm.

Particle physics

Scientists from around the world use DESY’s accelerators to investigate the fundamental building blocks and forces of the universe.

The spectrum of research at DESY is correspondingly diverse – as is the cooperation with partners both national and international. All in all, more than 3000 scientists from approximately 40 countries come to Hamburg each year to work at DESY. The research programme is not restricted to the facilities in Hamburg and Zeuthen. Indeed, DESY is closely involved in a number of major international projects, including the European X-ray free-electron laser XFEL in Hamburg, the Large Hadron Collider LHC in Geneva, the neutrino telescope IceCube at the South Pole and the International Linear Collider ILC.

Deutsches Elektronen-Synchrotron DESY

  • A Research Centre of the Helmholtz Association
  • A publicly funded national research centre
  • Established in Hamburg on 18 December 1959
  • Locations: Hamburg and Zeuthen (Brandenburg)
  • Budget: 230 million euros (Hamburg: 211 million euros; Zeuthen: 19 million euros)
  • Financing: 90% on the national level (Federal Ministry of Education and Research); 10% on the state level (the city of Hamburg and the federal state of Brandenburg)
  • Employees: 2300, including 650 scientists, who work in the fields of accelerator operation, research and development
  • Guest scientists: more than 3000 from 40 countries each year
  • Training: more than100 young people in commercial and technical vocations­
  • Young scientists: more than 700 diploma students, doctoral candidates and postdocs



    • Deutsches Elektronen-Synchrotron DESY
    • Notkestraße 85
      22607 Hamburg
    • Postal address:
      22603 Hamburg GERMANY
    • +49 40 8998-0
    • +49 40 8998-3282
    • desyinfo(at)desy.de
    • https://www.desy.de
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Helmholtz annual report 2020

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