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Online Annual Report 2017: Words of Welcome

Dear Readers,

HZDR-Vorstand ©Copyright: HZDR/André Wirsig

The Board of Directors at HZDR:
Prof. Roland Sauerbrey (left) 
and Dr. Ulrich Breuer

Source: HZDR/André Wirsig

2017 was a special year for us in several respects. Our Rossendorf Research Center was founded a quarter of a century ago on the site of the former Central Institute for Nuclear Research. Such an anniversary is always an occasion to look back, and this has made us all the more aware of the remarkable development we have already covered. Today, the HZDR is a state-of-the-art, broad-based research center with excellent international connections within the Helmholtz Association.

We have more than twice as many employees as in 1992, and our budget has more than quadrupled. And, to quote our honorary member Prof. Peter Fulde from the Max Planck Institute for the Physics of Complex Systems, Dresden, this is only the beginning. We are still in the midst of the growth phase, closing the year 2017 again with very positive figures: third-party funding rose by over 50 percent to more than €37 million, and our staff headcount further increased to 1,179.

Yet figures are only one side of the coin. The evaluations for the Helmholtz Association's fourth period of program-oriented funding began in the fall of 2017. All our institutes performed very well in our three research fields – Energy, Health and Matter. This Annual Report gives you an insight into the diversity of our research topics and mentions several scientific highlights of the year under review.

Scientists from more than 50 countries are engaged in research at HZDR – not least because they find excellent conditions for their work here, as well as an outstanding infrastructure. To ensure that this remains the case, we do everything we can to constantly further enhance working conditions and further develop our research infrastructures. We are particularly pleased that our new premises at the Leipzig research site were handed over in 2017. They had been modernized for a total of €10 million and now offer optimum conditions for working with radioactive substances.

The construction work on our “Projects for the Future” continued in 2017 as planned. Here, we would especially like to mention the Center for Radiopharmaceutical Tumor Research, the future European platform for dynamo experiments DRESDYN, and the Helmholtz International Beamline for Extreme Fields (HIBEF). The HIBEF contributes essential components for a novel experiment station at the European XFEL, the world's largest X-ray laser based in Schenefeld near Hamburg.

We launched a new level of international networking in April 2017. In cooperation with the Weizmann Institute of Science, Israel, we decided to set up a joint laboratory in Rechovot near Tel Aviv. The Weizmann-Helmholtz Laboratory for Laser Matter Interaction (WHELMI) aims to bridge the gap between basic and applied research. It will receive total funding of €5 million over the next five years. WHELMI is the first laboratory on the campus of a foreign partner to be co-financed by the Helmholtz Association.

We also laid the foundation for future important research enterprises in 2017 in cooperation with Technische Universität Dresden within the framework of the “DRESDEN concept” alliance: the HZDR was involved in a total of four out of six successful application outlines for clusters of excellence. Construction of the new underground particle laboratory at Felsenkeller has also made a major step forward: the accelerator tank, which was extensively converted by the HZDR for its new task, has been set up at its destination.

Furthermore, several large-scale projects were launched with substantial HZDR participation in 2017. The HZDR is coordinating the EU's CALIPSOplus project to bundle access to accelerator-based high-performance light sources throughout Europe and to make access easier for Eastern European institutions in particular. A total of 19 partners are involved in the project, which is being funded with €10 million and will run for a period of four years. The League of European Accelerator-based Photon Sources, or LEAPS for short, has a similar objective. By contrast, the EU project INFACT focuses on a completely different subject area. Scientists under the leadership of our Helmholtz Institute Freiberg for Resource Technology want to test new methods of raw-materials exploration and make Europe interesting for the mining industry again.

We hope you enjoy reading our Online Annual Report 2017. The Center's more detailed 2017 Progress Report (Zentrumsfortschrittsbericht, in German only) can also be viewed on request. .

Prof. Roland Sauerbrey (Scientific Director) & Dr. Ulrich Breuer (Administrative Director)