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02/22/2024 17:56

German Center for Astrophysics – Beacon of world-class astronomical research opens interim premises in Görlitz

Matthias Fejes Pressestelle
Technische Universität Dresden

    Building provides work space for approximately 100 employees

    Görlitz, February 22, 2024 – Today, the German Center for Astrophysics (DZA) officially opened its interim premises in the historic post office building at Görlitz's Postplatz. The official inaugural ceremony was attended by Federal Minister of Education and Research Bettina Stark-Watzinger, Minister President Michael Kretschmer, and TUD Rector Prof. Ursula Staudinger, who handed over the key to Prof. Günther Hasinger, the designated founding director of the DZA.

    Prof. Hasinger, who also holds a Lighthouse Professorship at TUD Dresden University of Technology, emphasized the importance of the center for the region: “The DZA will not only be an influential institution for astrophysics in Germany, it will also make a significant contribution to structural change in Upper Lusatia.”
    The official opening was attended by other prominent figures from politics, business and science, including the Saxony’s Minister of Science, Sebastian Gemkow, and the Mayor of Görlitz, Octavian Ursu. The interim premises on two floors of Görlitz’s historic post office building on Postplatz will provide work space for the Center's first 100 employees until it moves to its permanent location.

    Bettina Stark-Watzinger, Federal Minister of Education and Research:
    “The German Center for Astrophysics moves into its interim premises in the historic post office building in Görlitz today. From here, the DZA team will continue to forge ahead with the creation of the large-scale research center. The DZA will receive approximately EUR 1.1 billion in funding from the Federal Ministry of Education and Research until 2038. As we are convinced: The DZA will generate long-term prospects for cutting-edge astronomy research and give Lusatia a truly unique scientific profile. In addition, the DZA will provide a boost for Germany as a location for science and create key jobs in this region that is marked by structural change.”

    Michael Kretschmer, Minister President of the Free State of Saxony:
    “The Free State of Saxony is placing a clear focus on innovation and technology when it comes to structural change. The German Center for Astrophysics is an essential building block for structural change as well as the scientific and economic development of this region in Eastern Saxony as a whole. The new offices in the post office building offer excellent opportunities to continue developing and advancing the forward-looking DZA project. At the same time, we are also putting this historic building right in the center of Görlitz to good use and contributing to positive urban development.”

    Saxony Minister of Science Sebastian Gemkow:
    “Today brings us a significant step closer to the vision behind the establishment of the DZA. The opening of the interim office is an invaluable milestone. I am convinced that in a few years' time, Lusatia and the region of Eastern Saxony will no longer just be remembered as a former lignite mining region, but will be known worldwide for its unparalleled research and development work in the field of astrophysics. The foundations are now being laid and I am thrilled that there is such broad support for this in politics, business, science, and also in society.”

    Prof. Ursula Staudinger, Rector of TU Dresden:
    “The DZA is an international beacon of astrophysics and an outstanding example of how TUD, as a University of Excellence, is supporting and helping to shape structural change in Lusatia in keeping in the spirit of its societal responsibility. The DZA has already put Lusatia on the international science map and will provide major impetus for cutting-edge research and technology transfer, as well as testing a new model of cooperation between university and non-university cutting-edge research. TUD is currently responsible for the project leadership of the DZA. With the help of five new Chairs created in the context of the new DZA, we will establish a new Master's degree program in Astrophysics: Digital Science and Technology.”

    The highlight of the event was the podium discussion entitled “The German Center for Astrophysics: A beacon of sustainable structural change in Upper Lusatia,” which, in addition to Federal Minister Stark-Watzinger, Minister President Michael Kretschmer, Minister of Science Sebastian Gemkow, TUD Rector Prof. Staudinger, and Prof. Hasinger also participated. In his statement, Prof. Hasinger emphasized that the DZA would not only contribute to research, but also to strengthening the regional economy and education. “There are many examples which demonstrate that astronomy research brings lasting change to regions. With its unique combination of research and development in IT, sensor technology and materials research, as well as its need for production facilities, the DZA will provide an economic boost and create at least 3,000 long-term jobs at the Center and in the surrounding area,” says Prof. Hasinger.

    Another highlight was the presentation held by Prof. Uwe Cantner, Chair of the Commission of Experts for Research and Innovation (EFI), on the topic of “Structural change through research.”

    After the event, the guests were given the opportunity to visit the DZA premises currently under construction in the post office building on Postplatz. The Center will move in at the start of March 2024.

    Katharina Henjes-Kunst
    DZA Project Manager
    Tel.: +49 160 96926022

    About the DZA:
    With the German Center for Astrophysics – Research. Technology. Digitization. (DZA), we are creating a major national research center with international reach that promotes resource-saving digitalization, develops new technologies, ensures transfer, and creates new prospects for the region – firmly rooted in Lusatia, Saxony. The DZA is a joint initiative of astronomy and astroparticle physics in Germany. The initiative includes many renowned scientists, and is supported by the major German scientific organizations. It will be located in Görlitz and the Bautzen region. After the construction phase, there are plans for an annual budget of approximately EUR 170 million during the final expansion phase, and the center itself will employ more than 1,000 people.
    The DZA is currently under construction and is being funded as a project before being established as a legally independent center in 2026. In this initial phase, TU Dresden is responsible for the project with the support of Deutsches Elektronen-Synchrotron DESY.

    About TU Dresden:
    As a University of Excellence, TUD Dresden University of Technology is one of the leading and most dynamic research institutions in Germany. With around 8,300 members of staff and 29,000 students in 17 Faculties, it is one of Europe’s largest technically-oriented universities. Founded in 1828, today it is a globally oriented, regionally anchored top university, developing innovative solutions for the world's most pressing issues. In research and academic programs, the university unites the natural and engineering sciences with the humanities, social sciences and medicine. This wide range of disciplines is an outstanding feature that facilitates interdisciplinarity and transfer of science to society.


    F.l.t.r.: Science Minister Sebastian Gemkow, TUD Rector Prof Ursula Staudinger, Minister President Michael Kretschmer, Federal Research Minister Bettina Stark-Watzinger, DZA Founding Director Prof Günther Hasinger and Octavian Ursu, Mayor of Görlitz.
    F.l.t.r.: Science Minister Sebastian Gemkow, TUD Rector Prof Ursula Staudinger, Minister President M ...
    Paul Glaser
    Paul Glaser

    Criteria of this press release:
    Physics / astronomy
    transregional, national
    Organisational matters, Science policy


    F.l.t.r.: Science Minister Sebastian Gemkow, TUD Rector Prof Ursula Staudinger, Minister President Michael Kretschmer, Federal Research Minister Bettina Stark-Watzinger, DZA Founding Director Prof Günther Hasinger and Octavian Ursu, Mayor of Görlitz.

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