Opening of the new research building of Helmholtz Institute Jena


On Thursday, November 3, the new research building of the Helmholtz Institute Jena was ceremonially opened after a construction phase of almost 2.5 years. Following a welcome by Professor Paolo Giubellino, Scientific Managing Director of GSI and FAIR, greetings were delivered during the ceremony by representatives of the State of Thuringia, State Secretary Dr. Katja Böhler for the Thuringia Ministery for Economy, Science and Digital Society, and State Secretary Professor Barbara Schönig for the Thuringia Ministery for Infrastructure and Agriculture, as well as by Ministerialdirigent Dr. Volkmar Dietz for the Federal Ministry of Education and Research. President Professor Walter Rosenthal spoke on behalf of Friedrich Schiller University, and the Helmholtz Association was represented by its President Professor Otmar Wiestler. Professor Thomas Stöhlker, Director of the Helmholtz Institute Jena, gave a closing speech thanking the guests for their celebratory words and the support for the new research building.

The new building of the Helmholtz Institute Jena, a branch of the GSI Helmholtzzentrum für Schwerionenforschung in Darmstadt, was constructed in the immediate vicinity of the existing institute building on the campus of the Friedrich Schiller University (FSU) Jena. Several floors provide additional offices, seminar and laboratory areas, which are necessary for the increased number of employees as well as for the amount of laboratory and research equipment. The new four-story building provides around 550 square meters of additional floor space. Offices and a seminar room are available on the two top floors, while the two lower floors mostly house research laboratories in addition to building technology and supply services. The basement is connected to the already existing target laboratory.

The infrastructure, which has been additionally improved by the new building, is a guarantee for the cutting-edge research that will take place at the Helmholtz Institute in the future and has been conducted since the institute was founded in 2009. The research profile of the Helmholtz Institute Jena is characterized by physics at the interface between conventional accelerator technology and the rapidly developing field of laser-based particle acceleration. The institute offers outstanding research in the areas of the coupling of intense photon fields and the supporting development of adequate instrumentation. The institute benefits from the close connection to the FSU and its scientific expertise, as well as to the large research facility GSI with the international accelerator center FAIR which is currently under construction.

About 100 employees and associated researchers in ten research groups are currently working at Helmholtz Institute Jena. Furthermore, there is a graduate school ("Research School of Advanced Photon Science") with about 60 PhD students. In addition to the successful acquisition of third-party funding, the regional networking that the Jena location brings with its specialization in the field of photonics and optical technologies is particularly important. Successful collaborations with the Fraunhofer Institute for Optics and Precision Engineering and the Leibniz Institute for Photonic Technologies are just two examples.

The Thuringian Ministry of Infrastructure had announced an architectural competition for this new research building. A regional office emerged as the winner: the jury unanimously selected the design of the office "Osterwold°Schmidt EXP!ANDER Architekten" from Weimar, which had submitted the plans together with Impuls Landschaftsarchitektur Jena. Groundbreaking for the new building, which was constructed on a hillside location on a state-owned plot of land within the university site below the Landgrafen, took place in October 2019. The €8.9 million construction cost of the research building was fully financed by state funds from the Thuringian Ministry of Infrastructure and Agriculture. (HI Jena/CP)

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