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The Helmholtz Incubator

Outstanding experts from all the Helmholtz Centers come together in this think tank and promote pioneering research through innovative projects and initiatives.

The Helmholtz Association’s broad spectrum of activities ranging from big data analytics, supercomputing, the entire data lifecycle and software development, right up to artificial intelligence and robotics means that it is in an excellent position in the field of processing and analyzing large and complex quantities of data. Diverse possibilities arise in individual disciplines, as well as through their interaction.

In 2016, Helmholtz initiated the Helmholtz Information & Data Science Incubator in order to network and strengthen the Association’s expertise and enormous stores of data. This long-term, bottom-up process spanning the entirety of Helmholtz pools the Association’s diverse expertise in the pioneering field of Information & Data Science. The Incubator fleshes out the concrete aspects of the Helmholtz digitalization strategy, brings creative minds from every area of the Association into contact with each other on a regular basis, lays the foundation for innovative interdisciplinary networks, and identifies topic areas and technologies of the future.

Each Center delegates top-level scientists to the Incubator; these scientists represent an enormous range of specializations covering a wide array of innovative skill sets. They are supported by recognized experts from research enterprises, renowned research institutes, and various consultancy companies.

Over a period of three years, more than 200 scientists and twenty advisors from research enterprises and research institutes have participated in more than 35 workshops and working group meetings.

This has allowed a series of Information & Data Science research projects to be initiated, which cross the traditional boundaries between disciplines and research fields: Two rounds of calls for applications in 2017 and 2019 resulted in a diverse range of innovative research projects being initiated and receiving over 40 million euros in funding.

At the suggestion of the Incubator, the Association Directors identified five topic areas that are of particular strategic importance for all Research Centers. These have been implemented as high-tech platforms since September 2018 and create a vibrant network that is constantly developing brand new solutions to meet the challenges of cutting-edge research.

 The Incubator’s combined activities make up the Helmholtz Information & Data Science Framework which has reached a total of over 50 million euros in funding per year. Helmholtz is thus resolutely pursuing its objectives of further developing the strengths of the Association, bringing its ambitious digitalization strategy to life, ensuring that German science maintains its leading position on an international scale and offering points of reference in a highly attractive topic area for national and international partners.


Dr. Sören Wiesenfeldt

Head of Department Research
Helmholtz Association

Dr. Michael Schmuker

Head of Unit Information and Data Science
Helmholtz Association

Florian Grötsch

Manager Information and Data Science
Helmholtz Association

Nina Weisweiler

Manager Information and Data Science
Helmholtz Association

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