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DESY-Gelände in Hamburg-Bahrenfeld © DESY/R. Schaaf

Helmholtz-Lund Graduate School to push top scientists

HELIOS to train photon and nano science post-graduates

The Helmholtz Association of German Research Institutes as well as 22 graduate colleges and Hamburg’s Ministry of Science, Research and Equality (BWFG) is putting EUR 8 million towards the Helmholtz-Lund International Graduate School (HELIOS). Research in the photon and nano sciences is becoming increasingly complex, as researchers are required to master ever larger quantities of data and to cope with highly complex instruments. The new graduate school aims to teach its post-graduates an intelligent approach to experiments on photon sources and particle accelerators and will run for two three-year periods. The universities of Hamburg and Lund and DESY are also involved in the project.

Theory of systems and methodology

Free-electron laser FLASH © DESY/Heiner Müller-Elsner

Hopes are now high that post-graduates in both institutes will acquire the skills and methodology needed for planning, conducting and evaluating complex experiments. To this end, different approaches from molecular physics, particle physics and photon research are to be combined. DESY, the universities in Hamburg and Lund and the Helmholtz Association, will provide courses for the science pioneers of tomorrow geared to the demands of this highly technical field of research. “The free-electron lasers FLASH and European XFEL as well as the synchrotron radiation source PETRA III are three of the world-best facilities and are located in Hamburg. The Science City Hamburg Bahrenfeld will be built around this infrastructure and will become a separate district dedicated to science in future,” said Katharina Fegebank, Senator for Science, Research and Equality.

Preparation for increasing complexity

The post-graduates will be supervised by a three-person German-Swedish team drawn from the participating institutes. The post-graduates can expect a comprehensive qualification programme and a stay of at least three months in the partner country. “We aim to prepare the next generation of scientists for mastering the rising complexity of our highly technical experiments and the rapid increase in data volumes, and to develop innovative methods for data capture and analysis including by means of AI,” said Professor Helmut Dosch, Directorate Chairman of DESY.

Baltic Science Network

The programme marks “another success for the Baltic Science Network, which is pivotal for closer networking between European research institutions in the Baltic Sea region”, Fegebank added. HELIOS could serve as a model for other research projects in the Baltic Sea region. The project will also boost scientific co-operation between Hamburg and Lund in Sweden. The hope is that HELIOS will serve as an example for other research programmes in the Baltic Science Network (BSN). The Baltic, as one of world’s most competitive and innovative science regions with its outstanding university and research infrastructure, is of great significance to northern Germany. The BSN provides a networking structure to develop and implement science policy across the Baltic countries. In late 2018, a EUR 3.6 million EU project funded by the Hanseatic League of Science (HALOS) was approved.

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