Helmholtz Association

The Helmholtz Association is Germany’s largest scientific organisation. Around 45,000 people work in its 18 centres. Its annual budget is about 5 billion euros. The Helmholtz Association’s mission is research that contributes to answering pressing questions of science, society and the economy. The Helmholtz Association opened a foreign office in Tel Aviv in 2018. Helmholtz Innovation Summits were held in Tel Aviv in 2022 and 2023.

A large number of Helmholtz research centres maintain close cooperation with Israeli research institutions. The Helmholtz Association registered a total of 23 visiting scientists from Israel at its centres in 2021.

The German Cancer Research Center DKFZ has been cooperating with Israel since 1976. The Max Delbrück Center for Molecular Medicine in Berlin-Buch also has a long tradition of collaborating with the Israeli universities Technion in Haifa and the Hebrew University in Jerusalem. It has also initiated the joint German-Israeli Research School ‘Frontiers in Cell Signaling & Gene Regulation’ (SignGene), which brings together 17 research teams from Berlin and 15 from Israel, including the team of 2004 Nobel Prize winner Aaron Ciechanover from the Technion.

The long-standing cooperation in cancer research (the 11th German-Israeli Cancer Research School took place in March 2023) forms the foundation for the structured cooperation in the Helmholtz-Israel Programme in Personalised Medicine. The Helmholtz Centres with a focus on medical and health sciences are involved.

The Helmholtz Centre for Geosciences (GFZ) in Potsdam maintains relations with the Israel Academy of Sciences and Humanities, the Hebrew University in Jerusalem and the Geophysical Institute of Israel in Lod, among others. The Helmholz Centre for Ocean Research Kiel (GEOMAR) is also cooperating with Israel. Currently, there are approaches for a trilateral cooperation of GEOMAR with partners from Israel and the United Arab Emirates.

The University of Haifa is home to the ‘Eastern Mediterranean Sea Center’ (EMS-FORE). The project uses the Eastern Mediterranean from the coast to the deep sea as a natural laboratory, which serves as an early warning and model system.

As part of the 12th International Ilan Ramon Space Conference in Israel, the German Aerospace Center (DLR) agreed on 31 January 2017 to cooperate with the Israeli Space Agency (ISA). The subject of the declaration of intent is cooperation in the field of radiation protection for astronauts. In 2023, there were around 25 joint DLR projects with Israeli institutions.

In addition, the Helmholtz Association has been funding an International Graduate School for ‘Multimessenger Astronomy’ since 2019, which DESY (Deutsches Elektronen-Synchrotron) is hosting together with the Humboldt-University Berlin, the University of Potsdam and the Israeli Weizmann Institute of Science.

The current cooperation priorities of Forschungszentrum Jülich (FZJ) with Israeli institutions are in the research areas of information (computing, neuroscience and computational biomedicine), materials sciences and renewable energy. In agricultural research, the FZJ cooperates closely with the Israeli VOLCANI Agricultural Research Centre.

Together with te RWTH Aachen, the FZJ has established the ‘Umbrella Cooperation’ with the Technion (Haifa) since 1983. In 2018 the ‘Umbrella Award’ was presented for the first time. The target group comprises excellent young scientists from the three participating institutions. ‘Umbrella Summer and Winter Schools’ complement the cooperation.The Schools take up the key topics of the annual Umbrella symposia, and therefore offers participating researchers the chance to stay in touch with their colleagues. In June 2023, the 36th joint Symposium was held on ‘Life Science & Engineering’. The next symposium will take place at Forschungszentrum Jülich in 2024.

The German-Israeli Helmholtz International Laboratory ‘Impact of Aerosols on Human Health’ (aeroHEALTH) is a partnership between Helmholtz Center Munich, Research Center Jülich, and the Weizmann Institute of Science. It researches the effects of atmospheric air pollutants on human health.

The opening of the ‘Weizman-Helmholtz Laboratory for Laser Matter Interaction’ WHELMI (cooperation between the Weizmann Institute and the Helmholtz Centre Dresden Rossendorf) in April 2017, where high-intensity lasers are developed, underlines the intensive current scientific relations.