Helmholtz adds 19th member Center – and strengthens its expertise in the field of IT security

On January 1, 2019, Helmholtz welcomed its 19th Research Center: the “Helmholtz Center for Information Security – CISPA.” This addition enables Germany’s largest research organization to place an even stronger focus on the topic of data security in the future.

“At Helmholtz, our research aims to find solutions for the key challenges of our time,” says Otmar D. Wiestler, President of the Helmholtz Association. “In this context, handling and processing information is playing an increasingly significant role in many areas of our lives. So I am very pleased that our new ‘Center for Information Security – CISPA’ will enable us to place an even stronger focus on this topic in the future. Our cooperation with this center will be of enormous benefit to the entire association.”

According to Michael Backes, the director of the new Helmholtz Center, important research areas include the safety and reliability of autonomous transport systems, the development of robust IT infrastructures, and the security of personal data in the healthcare field. “As part of the Helmholtz Association, we now have the means to address key challenges like these with even greater focus and impact,” he says. “The association’s commitment to top-level research, long-term financing, and the necessary critical mass of outstanding researchers are an excellent fit for our own ambitious research goals.”

The Center for IT-Security, Privacy, and Accountability (CISPA) was founded in Saarbrücken in 2011 with project funding from the German Federal Government and became CISPA – Helmholtz-Zentrum i.G. GmbH at the end of 2017. It was then incorporated into the Helmholtz Association on January 1, 2019, pursuant to a September 2018 resolution by the research organization’s Members’ Assembly. Some 200 outstanding researchers now work there. The center is expected to have up to 800 employees when it is running at full capacity by 2026.

“Under Michael Backes’ leadership, CISPA has developed into a highly visible, high-performance location for IT-security research,  also on an international level,” Wiestler continues. “Thanks to our new member center, we will now be able to take decisive next steps in a highly relevant field of IT research. It perfectly complements the association’s portfolio—and also benefits Germany as a research location on the whole.”

Website CISPA

Helmholtz contributes to solving major challenges facing society, science, and the economy through top-level scientific achievements in six Research Fields: Energy, Earth and Environment, Health, Key Technologies, Matter, and Aeronautics, Space, and Transport. With more than 39,000 employees at 19 Research Centers and an annual budget of around 4.5 billion euros, Helmholtz is the largest scientific organization in Germany. Its work is rooted in the tradition of the great natural scientist Hermann von Helmholtz (1821–1894).


January 11, 2019


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