Helmholtz International Research Schools support young top-level researchers

“For young scientists, experience abroad and international networks are important factors for a successful career,” says Otmar D. Wiestler, President of the Helmholtz Association. “We want to provide young talents from all over the world with even better support in their efforts to take this step in the future. This is why we support the Helmholtz International Research Schools for talented young scientists. These schools allow us to create even more diverse doctorate opportunities for international top talents and offer an optimal international research environment.”

Doctoral students do not apply for the funding themselves, but through the research and higher education institutions. Several partners join forces to form a “Helmholtz International Research School”: a Helmholtz Center as well as at least one German and one foreign university. They will each receive a total of 1.8 million euros from the Initiative and Networking Fund of the President of the Helmholtz Association over a six-year period. Additionally, the institutions offer their own funds, bringing the total budget per partnership to three to five million euros. At the end of September, three partnerships were chosen for the first time as the future “Helmholtz International Research Schools“.

In the Health research field, the German Cancer Research Centre (DKFZ) was selected along with the University of Heidelberg and the Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel. During the coming months, these partners will set out on a global search for suitable candidates to receive funding for their doctorate studies and early post-doctorate research. This will allow around 25 young academic talents to pursue their dissertation in the area of cancer research in Heidelberg as well as Rehovot, just outside Tel Aviv, over the next few years.

In the Matter research field, the Helmholtz Association research university Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) and the National University of San Martin in Buenos Aires were selected from among the candidates. Some 20 young scientists from the field of astroparticle physics will be able to study cosmic rays at the renowned Pierre Auger Observatory in Argentina, among other things, as part of their doctoral studies.

In the Energy research field, the choice fell to a partnership of several participating institutions: the Helmholtz-Zentrum Berlin für Materialien und Energie (HZB), Freie Universität Berlin, Technische Universität Berlin, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, and the University of Potsdam. Five institutes and universities from Israel will also participate as foreign partners. A total of 27 aspiring doctoral students will be presented with the opportunity to pursue their studies in the area of solar energy research in Berlin and at various sites in Israel.

“We will continue to expand out international partnerships and tap into promising new research areas through the Helmholtz International Research Schools,” says Otmar D. Wiestler. “This makes the schools an important building block in our new internationalization strategy.” Two similar calls for applications are planned for the next few years.

The Helmholtz Association contributes to solving major challenges facing society, science, and the economy through top-level scientific achievements in six research areas: Energy, Earth and Environment, Health, Key Technologies, Matter, and Aeronautics, Space, and Transport. With approximately 38,000 employees at 18 research centers and an annual budget of more than four billion euros, the Helmholtz Association is the largest scientific organization in Germany. Its work is rooted in the tradition of the great natural scientist Hermann von Helmholtz (1821-1894).

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