History of the Research Site Dresden-Rossendorf
Today’s Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf was founded as the Forschungszentrum Rossendorf in 1992. The research site actually looks back on more than 50 years of history.
Permission was granted for the civil use of nuclear research in Germany by the Allied Control Council.
Treaty between the USSR and the GDR for the delivery of a 2 MW reactor and a 25 MeV cyclotron on April 18, 1955
Resolution of the GDR’s Council of Ministers on the peaceful use of nuclear power and the establishment of the Central Institute for Nuclear Physics (ZfK) Rossendorf on November 10, 1955
Approval of the development plan for the ZfK on December 30, 1955
January 1, 1956 marked the founding of the Central Institute for Nuclear Physics (ZfK) – renamed later: Central Institute for Nuclear Research – as the largest nuclear research institute in the GDR. Its provisional headquarters were located in Dresden.
Training and instruction of the operating teams for the reactor in Moscow and for the cyclotron in Leningrad until February 12, 1956
Start of construction at the research site Rossendorf in the spring of 1956
1957 - 1962
Official inauguration of the Rossendorf Research Reactor (RFR) as the GDR’s first nuclear reactor with a thermal output of 2 MW on December 16, 1957
Completion of the cyclotron on August 1, 1958
Isotope production began with the delivery of the first radioactive compound ethyl bromide on November 6, 1958. The growing demand for radioactive isotopes called for subsequent increases in the RFR output.
Commissioning of the Rossendorf Ring Core Reactor (RRR) as a zero output reactor for basic research in reactor physics in 1962
1965 - 1969
The output of the Rossendorf Ring Core Reactor was increased to 5 MW with roughened fuel rods on May 6, 1965
Additional increase of the output to 10 MW with innovative fuel rods on October 31, 1967
Construction of the “Rossendorf Assembly for Critical Experiments” (RAKE) as the second zero output reactor in 1969
1972 - 1991
Completion of the tandem generator in 1972
1989 - 1991 Comprehensive reconstruction of the research reactor due to changed requirements, but no restart
All reactors were decommissioned in 1991, and the ZfK Rossendorf was shut down on December 31, 1991
A New Beginning: FZR » FZD » HZDR
January 1, 1992
The research center Forschungszentrum Rossendorf e. V. (FZR) and the VKTA – Nuclear Engineering and Analytics Inc. were founded at the research site. The VKTA is responsible for dismantling all existing nuclear facilities.
Since its founding, the FZR has been evaluated three times by the German Science Council, the advisory body of the federal government and the federal states – with success. The Science Council’s recommendations resulted in, for example, the installation of such new research infrastructures as the radiation source ELBE, the Center for Positron Emission Tomography (PET), the TOPFLOW facility, the Rossendorf Beamline ROBL at the ESRF in France as well as the Dresden High Magnetic Field Laboratory (HLD). The existing Ion Beam Center was expanded considerably and modernized.
The positron emission tomograph Positome lllp produced the first image at the FZR.
A 3 megavolt tandetron accelerator was put into operation at the Ion Beam Center.
Commencement of the patient program at the PET Center (PET = Positron Emission Tomography) Rossendorf with a cyclotron (new circular accelerator as of 1996) to research and apply radioactive substances in medical diagnostics and therapy
1996 - 1997
Construction of the Rossendorf Beamline at the European Synchrotron Radiation Facility (ESRF) in Grenoble, France
Official inauguration of the PET Center (1997)
1998 - 2000
Completion of the dismantling of the “Rossendorf Assembly for Critical Experiments” and the Ring Core Reactor (2000);
Decommissioning and demolition of the Uranium Lab (UT)
Official inauguration of the Rossendorf Beamline ROBL (1998)
Official inauguration of the radiation source ELBE (electron linear accelerator for beams with high brilliance and low emittance)
Completion of the thermohydraulic large-scale test facility TOPFLOW for the investigation of two-phase flows
Start of construction of the High Magnetic Field Laboratory where the highest pulsed magnetic fields have been generated since 2007
The TOPFLOW facility was equipped with a pressure tank which permits experiments up to an operating pressure of five megapascals.
All irradiated fuel elements of the research reactors operated at the former Central Institute for Nuclear Research were transported in 18 Castor containers to the interim storage site Ahaus.
The TU Dresden [Dresden University of Technology], the University Hospital Carl Gustav Carus Dresden, and the research center Rossendorf established the jointly supported Center for Innovation Competence OncoRay; it focuses on radiation research in oncology.
February: Official inauguration of the world’s largest capacitor bank at the Dresden High Magnetic Field Laboratory
Renewed support of the Ion Beam Center as a user lab through EU funds
November: The FZR was renamed FZD – Forschungszentrum Dresden-Rossendorf
May: Start of the user program at the Dresden High Magnetic Field Laboratory
In addition, the second free electron laser was put into operation at the radiation source ELBE along with the superconducting high frequency photo source and the neutron lab at ELBE.
May: Commissioning of a 150 TW high intensity laser
July: The Science Council recommended the FZD’s integration into the Helmholtz Association of German Research Centres. This was preceded by the FZD’s evaluation in November 2007. (Prior evaluations: 1993, 2000/01)
The world’s fastest X-ray computer tomograph ROFEX was used for the first time ever at the TOPFLOW facility.
January: The first protons were accelerated at the high intensity laser “Draco.”
February: With 87.2 teslas, the highest magnetic field achieved so far was generated at the High Magnetic Field Laboratory – which also set a new European record.
March: The research center’s new entrance and logistics building was officially inaugurated.
June: Germany’s Federal Minister of Research, Prof. Annette Schavan, and Saxony’s Minister President Stanislaw Tillich signed a contract that paved the way for the FZD’s membership in the Helmholtz Association as of January 1, 2011.
October: The new continuous casting facility (LIMMCAST) for the simulation of steel casting processes was introduced for the first time ever at a conference in Dresden.
December: A new 6 megavolt ion accelerator was officially inaugurated at the Institute of Ion Beam Physics and Materials Research.
January: The former Institute of Interdisciplinary Isotope Research in Leipzig was integrated into the FZD.
May: Work began at the radiation source ELBE to expand it into a center for high power radiation sources.
September: The first PET/MRI system approved for patients in Germany was installed in Rossendorf.
On September 21, 2010, Dresden’s OncoRay research center and its partner institute HIRO in Heidelberg joined forces to become the National Center for Radiation Research in Oncology.
December: Together with the TU Bergakademie Freiberg [Freiberg University of Mining and Technology], the research center was granted permission to establish a national institute for resource technology in Freiberg.
January 1: The FZD joined the Helmholtz Association of German Research Centres; since then, its name has been Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR).
July: Starting signal for the expansion of the High Magnetic Field Laboratory to twice its size.
August: The Federal Minister of Research, Prof. Schavan, founded the Helmholtz Institute Freiberg for Resource Technology (HIF) together with Saxony’s Minister President Tillich – a cooperation between the TU Bergakademie Freiberg and the HZDR.
October: The School Lab DeltaX was officially inaugurated at the HZDR in the presence of the Helmholtz President, Prof. Jürgen Mlynek.
November: New or significantly improved research infrastructures were officially inaugurated at the Research Site Leipzig (a new cyclotron) and at the Rossendorf Beamline ROBL in Grenoble (major overhaul of the X-ray optics as well as modernization of the material-scientific and radiochemical experimental station).
The new Guest House opened its doors for visiting scientists at the three user facilities of the radiation source ELBE, the Ion Beam Center (IBC), and the Dresden High Magnetic Field Laboratory (HLD).
May: Official topping off ceremony to commemorate the completion of the first construction phase – Dresden’s OncoRay - Center for Radiation Research in Oncology is building a facility for proton beam therapy on the premises of the University Hospital Carl Gustav Carus Dresden.
August: For the first time ever, the HZDR hosted an international Summer Student Program.
October: The research center was awarded the title “exemplary educational institution” for its 20 year commitment in vocational training.
December: The supercomputer Hypnos, one of the most powerful computers in Saxony, was put into operation at the modernized HZDR Computing Center.
January: On January 1, 2013, the new Institute of Radiooncology was founded at the HZDR. Director of this institute is Dresden’s cancer researcher Prof. Michael Baumann who also heads the Clinic for Radiation Therapy and Radiooncology at the University Hospital Carl Gustav Carus Dresden and who acts as the spokesperson of Dresden’s OncoRay center.
February: Minister President Stanislaw Tillich officially inaugurated Saxony’s largest research facility: The ELBE – Center for High-Power Radiation Sources.
May: HZDR Innovation GmbH wins a special award in the nationwide technology transfer contest "wissen.schafft.arbeit".
September: German Minister for Education and Research, Prof. Johanna Wanka, inaugurates newly constructed domicile of „National Center for Radiation Research in Oncology – OncoRay“ on the campus of the University Hospital Dresden.
December: Saxony’s Minister for Science and the Arts, Prof. Sabine von Schorlemer, opens HLD's new extension building – the lab's size was doubled since 2011.
February: On February 13, 2014, the HZDR Board of Directors and the Director-General of the European Synchrotron Radiation Facility (ESRF) signed a contract for a new five-year research collaboration. With the Rossendorf Beamline (ROBL) at the research site in Grenoble the HZDR will continue to provide two measuring stations for international users, and for in-house research.
June: The world's largest international accelerator conference IPAC 2014 took place in Dresden from June 15 to 20. The HZDR was the local organizer of this conference.
August: Federal Research Minister Prof. Johanna Wanka and Stanislaw Tillich, Prime Minister of Saxony, opened the University Proton Therapy Dresden on August 22. The HZDR, the University Hospital Carl Gustav Carus and the Medical Faculty of the Technical University of Dresden are forming a consortium together and extend their long lasting cooperation. Funded with millions each year, Dresden will also be built up as a partner site of the already established National Center for Tumor Diseases Heidelberg (NCT).
November: On November 27, 2014 an agreement was signed that marked the founding of the European Magnetic Field Laboratory (EMFL) as an official organization. The EMFL founding organizations, the HZDR, the French CNRS (Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique) and the RU and the FOM in the Netherlands (Radboud Universität Nijmegen and Foundation for Fundamental Research on Matter) will thus continue the successful collaboration of their high-field magnet labs.
December: The HZDR will be key coordinating partner of EIT Raw Materials, the largest network for science and technology in Europe – this was announced on December 9 by the European Institute of Innovation and Technologie (EIT). The network connects more than 100 European institutions and is funded with 410 million euros for a period of seven years by the EU.
January: The European Magnetic Field Laboratory (EMFL) is founded in Brussels. The four organizations launching the EMFL – the HZDR, the French Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, the Radboud University Nijmegen, and the Foundation for Fundamental Research on Matter from the Netherlands – offer users extremely powerful magnetic fields and unique possibilities for experiments.
February: The relocation of the PET/MRI scanner for full-body examinations to the University Hospital Dresden marks the end of an era in patient care at the HZDR's Center for Positron Emission Tomography (PET). More than 14,000 patients have been examined at the Rossendorf location over the last 20 years using three generations of PET devices.
November: 60 participants from science and industry present the results of the Helmholtz Energy Alliance entitled "Energy-efficient Chemical Multi-phase Processes" at a final symposium. Over the past three and a half years, the network of seven partners with coordinator HZDR have been studying how the efficiency of chemical engineering processes can be improved.
December: In order to assure scientists easy access to lasers across national borders, 30 institutions from 16 countries are joining forces in the EU-funded Laserlab-Europe project under the coordination of Lund University in Sweden. The HZDR is represented by the director of the Institute of Radiation Physics, Prof. Ulrich Schramm. The aim is for Europe to take on a leading global role in the areas of bio- and nano-photonics and materials analysis
March: The European Strategy Forum on Research Infrastructures (ESFRI) includes the European Magnetic Field Laboratory (EMFL) as a landmark in its roadmap. The ESFRI thus regards it as one of the 29 European infrastructures that offer scientists world-class research. The HZDR's Dresden High Magnetic Field Laboratory is one of the four founding members.
April: Five years after it was founded, the HZDR School Lab DeltaX welcomes its 10,000th visitor at the end of April. The laboratory offers "experiment days" on magnetism, light and color, radioactivity and radiation. Teachers, too, can receive further training on current developments in research at the DeltaX.
June: Saxony's Minister of Science Dr. Eva-Maria Stange inaugurates the new location of the Helmholtz Institute Freiberg for Resource Technology. Since the spring of 2014, the listed building had been refurbished with funds from the Federal Government, the Free State of Saxony and the City of Freiberg. The HZDR and TU Bergakademie Freiberg [Freiberg University of Mining and Technology] founded the Institute jointly in 2011.
July: Together with the International BioMetals Society, the HZDR organizes a conference on the interaction of metals in biological systems. The behavior of radionuclides – one of the HZDR's main areas of research – is another particular focus.
November: The EU supports the TRANSPIRE (Terahertz RAdio communication using high aNistropy SPIn torque Resonators) development project with €4.4 million as part of the technology-of-the-future program "Future and Emerging Technologies – Open" (FET Open). HZDR researchers plan to develop novel transmitters for faster data transmission together with colleagues from Dublin, Trondheim and Lausanne.
2017: 25th anniversary of Research Center
April: The Weizmann-Helmholtz Laboratory for Laser Matter Interaction (WHELMI), a new research laboratory designed to bridge basic research with applied research, was inaugurated in the Israeli city of Rehovot in April 2017. This joint project between the Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf and Israel's Weizmann Institute of Science aims to develop high-performance lasers.
May: Saxony's Minister President Stanislaw Tillich lays the foundation stone for the new National Center for Tumor Diseases (NCT), Dresden, on May 24. The Free State is investing €22 million in the groundbreaking building in which patients will benefit from the latest methods in cancer diagnosis and therapy. The NCT partner location Dresden is run jointly by the Deutsches Krebsforschungszentrum (DKFZ), the University Hospital Carl Gustav Carus, Dresden, the TU Dresden's Faculty of Medicine Carl Gustav Carus, and the HZDR.
May: The aim of the CALIPSOplus project is to remove barriers for access to world-class accelerator-based light sources in Europe and in the Middle East. The project started in May 2017 and is coordinated by the HZDR.
October: The Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf stages its annual reception on October 12 reviewing its 25-year history as a research center. Scientists for whom the Center has been an important stage in their careers give insights into their current research work at the Scientific Symposium on October 13.
November: 16 organizations representing 19 light sources facilities across Europe gathered to launch the LEAPS initiative (League of European Accelerator-based Photon Sources) in November 2017. HZDR is one of the members of this new initiative.
September: Europe’s most powerful preclinical center for the development and production of radioactive and radioimmunological drugs is launched through the construction of the Center for Radiopharmaceutical Tumor Research, costing 36 million euros. The new building is inaugurated by State Secretary Dr. Georg Schütte of the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research, Saxon Research Minister Dr. Eva-Maria Stange, Dresden Mayor Dirk Hilbert, and Helmholtz President Prof. Otmar Wiestler.
The broad spectrum from fundamental research to the transfer to clinical application benefits patients directly through close cooperation with the Faculty of Medicine at the TU Dresden, the University Hospital Carl Gustav Carus as well as the German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ).
October: With a symbolic groundbreaking ceremony, the Helmholtz Institute Freiberg for Resource Technology (HIF) celebrates the start of construction for a new technical center. The institute, which is part of the HZDR and cooperates closely with the TU Bergakademie Freiberg, thus further expands its research into sustainable mining and recycling of strategic resources. The Free State of Saxony finances the new construction with a total of 10.2 million euros.
November: A team led by medical physicist Dr. Aswin Hoffmann from the HZDR’s Institute of Radiooncology – OncoRay combines magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) with a proton beam for the first time globally. The scientists thus demonstrate that this widely used imaging method can in principle work in combination with cancer treatment using particle beams. This opens up entirely new possibilities for targeted cancer therapy while also protecting tissue.
April: For the first time globally, a new procedure is used in routine care of cancer patients at the Universitäts Protonentherapie Dresden (UPTD), which increases the precision, safety and likely the tolerability of proton therapy. The calculation method was developed and extensively validated by medical physicists from the Dresden OncoRay Center, the Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf as well as from the Heidelberg-based German Cancer Research Center. With the method called “DirectSPR”, the proton range in human tissue can be predicted with more precision and on a more individual basis. The Dresden researchers were able to show that this can reduce the volume of the healthy irradiated tissue directly adjacent to the tumor by approximately thirty-five to forty percent.
June: At the invitation of the Helmholtz Association and the Federal Ministry of Education and Research, more than three hundred leading and junior researchers from Central Europe meet in Dresden. European Research Council (ERC) stipend recipients from the Czech Republic, Poland and Saxony present the latest findings from their projects at the European Forum for Science, Research and Innovation. The distinguished conference is dedicated to the future fields of “health”, “materials sciences”, “environment” and “data and information”. The core idea is to strengthen the central European research area and initiate new collaborations between scientists in the tri-border region of Germany, Poland and the Czech Republic.
July: Physics Nobel Prize laureate Prof. Takaaki Kajita of Tokyo University opens the particle accelerator in the Dresden Felsenkeller. After two years of construction, inauguration takes place of the word’s third research facility dedicated to scientific study of processes within the sun and other countless stars in the universe.
August: The handover of a symbolic key by Federal Research Minister Anja Karliczek, Saxony's Prime Minister Michael Kretschmer, and Science Minister Dr. Eva-Maria Stange, marks the official launch of the “CASUS – Center for Advanced Systems Understanding” research facility in Görlitz. CASUS is to establish itself as an internationally known center for data-intensive systems research. Across disciplines and borders, research here is undertaken into developing faster computers, new codes and innovative software methods. The focus lies in new digital methods and technologies that are intended to help us better understand our real world.
April: On April 1, 2020, Prof. Sebastian M. Schmidt takes over as Scientific Director at the Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR). He comes from the Forschungszentrum Jülich, where he was a member of the Board of Directors and had been responsible for the research areas “Matter” and “Key Technologies / Information” in the Scientific Business Area I since November 2007. The previous scientific director of the HZDR, Prof. Roland Sauerbrey, retires after fourteen years in office.
September: The new building for the National Center for Tumor Diseases Dresden (NCT/UCC) is opened, attended by Saxon Prime Minister Michael Kretschmer, and the Parliamentary State Secretary at the Federal Ministry of Education and Research, Thomas Rachel. The ultra-modern building on the premises of the University Hospital Carl Gustav Carus Dresden combines research and treatment under one roof. With a unique research platform that includes an experimental operating room, state-of-the-art imaging and radiotherapy units, as well as molecular and cell biology laboratories, the new building offers optimal conditions for clinically-oriented cancer research at the highest international level.
December: Science Manager Dr. Diana Stiller takes over the position of Administrative Director at the HZDR on December 1, 2020. Together with the Scientific Director, Prof. Sebastian M. Schmidt, she is responsible for the future of the HZDR, which is one of the largest non-university research institutions in eastern Germany with approximately 1,400 employees and an annual budget of approximately 157 million euros.