Our Research Centres

Scientists in 18 Helmholtz Centres work on a wide range of topics, such as A for astrophysics, B for biology, C for cell research, and so on. Almost 36,000 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.

Helmholtz Centre Potsdam - GFZ German Research Centre for Geosciences

Earth in focus - Earth System Research for our Future

The GFZ German Research Centre for Geosciences is the national research centre for Earth sciences in Germany. Research at the GFZ focuses on the geosphere within the highly complex System Earth with its further subsystems, its interacting subcycles, and its wide network of cause-and-effect chains. This we do in a close interdisciplinary collaboration with the related scientific disciplines physics, mathematics, chemistry, and biology as well as with the engineering sciences disciplines of rock mechanics, engineering hydrology and seismology. We are part of the Helmholtz Association and its Research Fields „Earth and Environment“ and „Renewable Energies“.

The GFZ deals with the following research questions:

  • Earth System dynamics: How are linked processes steering the dynamics of the solid Earth and changes within the living space of Man?
  • Potential fields: What are the causes and consequences of changes within the gravity and geomagnetic fields of the Earth?
  • Earth surface processes: How is the Earth surface reacting to natural and anthropogenic impacts?
  • Natural hazards: How can we better predict and understand natural hazards, their dynamics, and their consequences?
  • Georesources: How can georesources and the geological subsurface be used in a sustainable way?

Our vision and mission

The future can only be secured by those who understand the System Earth and its interactions with Man: We develop a profound understanding of systems and processes of the solid Earth together with strategies and options for action to address global change and its regional impacts, to understand natural hazards and to minimize associated risks, as well as to assess the human impact on System Earth.

Our mission is to assess and understand relevant physical, chemical, and biological processes within the geosphere and to predict future developments. We integrate methods of Earth-observation with laboratory- and field-experiments, as well as with modelling approaches.

The GFZ German Research Centre for Geosciences



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