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PP PIER Helmholtz Graduate School (PHGS)
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Fascinating PhD projects in Natural Sciences

PIER Helmholtz Graduate School

Pioneering research fields & interdisciplinary networks

PIER concentrates on four pioneering research fields and two areas of expertise that form interdisciplinary networks between the research fields: Particle and Astroparticle Physics, Nanoscience, Photon Science, Infection and Structural Biology, Accelerator Research and Theoretical Physics.

Particle and Astroparticle Physics

Thanks to the collaboration between Universität Hamburg (UHH) and DESY research centre, Hamburg is internationally recognised as one of the most powerful and highly regarded sites for high-energy physics.


Hamburg is an internationally recognized location for research into nanomaterials. This research focuses on both the synthesis and the non-destructive analysis and study of new kinds of functional materials and their molecular processes under conditions of environmental, technological and industrial relevance.

Photon Science

As a research location, Hamburg boasts a globally unique constellation of complementary expertise in the following closely interrelated fields: laser physics, quantum optics, short-time physics, X-ray physics and atomic and molecular physics. All of these fields are heavily involved in photon research.

Infection and Structural Biology

Universität Hamburg and the University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf (UKE) are currently establishing an interdisciplinary research area whose focus is on "global and newly occurring infections".


The DESY research centre is one of the world's leading institutes when it comes to building and operating large particle accelerators. DESY and Universität Hamburg have been closely collaborating on accelerator research for decades. Together, the two partners develop new technologies and study accelerator physics at existing facilities.

Theoretical Physics

The Wolfgang Pauli Centre (WPC) unites the various theoretical physics research groups that are working on particle and astroparticle physics, cosmology, mathematical physics, condensed matter, quantum optics and chemical physics at Universität Hamburg and DESY.