Accelerator Fellowship and Doctoral Student Program at DESY: DESY is Germany’s largest accelerator laboratory and a member of the Helmholtz Association. The accelerator division of DESY offers a program for Post-Doctoral and Doctoral Positions in Accelerator R&D.

RESEARCH AREAS: DESY is pursuing a world-wide competitive program in accelerator research with the goal to develop and optimize some of the world’s leading particle accelerators. Opportunities in the DESY accelerator division include:

  1. Improvements of existing accelerator flagship facilities, e.g. upgrades to DESY’s synchrotron radiation facilities, seeding of free-electron lasers, atto- and femto-second electron and photon beams.
  2. Super-conducting RF technology for future accelerators and its implementation in FLASH, the European XFEL and other modern high power accelerators.
  3. Compact accelerator technology with high accelerating fields, e.g. plasma accelerators, dielectric structures, beam or laser drivers for accelerators, cost-efficient technologies.
  4. New accelerator facilities for R&D, photon science and particle physics, e.g. future free-electron lasers (XFEL upgrades, PETRA IV), the SINBAD facility at DESY, future colliders (e.g. FCC at CERN).


The program stays open all year long without fixed application deadlines. Every 2-3 months a committee will review the applications received and decide on filling the open positions.


The application procedure is as follows:

  1. Inform yourself about DESY and the work we are doing. If interested send the following material to
    (a) Letter of motivation, giving also type of position you apply for and the intended/required start date.
    (b) Curriculum Vitae.
    (c) Copy of relevant degrees.
    (d) Publication list.
    (e) Names of two reference persons (including e-mail address).
  2. We will acknowledge the receipt of the information and write you, whether we will consider you as a candidate and when the next selection committee is foreseen.
  3. Pre-selected candidates will be invited for an interview to Hamburg in Germany or wil be interviewed remotely.
  4. We will tell you about the decision. If selected, we will offer you a contract and agree with you on a starting date.


We perform accelerator R&D in several projects funded by the federal German government, the State of Hamburg, the European Commission and the Betty and Gordon Moore foundation:

  • European XFEL: The European XFEL is a research facility currently under construction in the Hamburg area, Germany. From 2017 on, it will generate extremely intense X-ray flashes to be used by researchers from all over the world. The DESY accelerator division is responsible for its operation and R&D for certain future developments.
    Post-doctoral and PhD projects are performed on XFEL commissioning and on the development of super-conducting RF technology with high gradients, high Q and CW operation.
  • FLASH: FLASH is DESY’s linear accelerator with a soft X-Ray Free Electron Laser. Accelerator R&D activities at FLASH include seeding.
    Post-doctoral and PhD projects are performed on schemes and experiments towards seeded free-electron lasers.
  • PETRAIII: PETRAIII is DESY’s circular storage ring producing brilliant synchrtron light.
    Post-doctoral and PhD projects are performed on the extension of PETRAIII towards an ultimate storage ring.
  • SINBAD: The SINBAD project implements the future facility for accelerator R&D at DESY in Hamburg. The acronym SINBAD stands for “Short and INnovative Bunches and Accelerator at Desy”. SINBAD converts an old particle physics collider into a dedicated accelerator R&D facility that includes 250 meters of shielded beamline, a central hall with a command stand, several user laboratories and support labs. Scientific goals include:
    (a) the generation of world-record atto-second electron bunches at around 100 MeV from short conventional accelerators
    (b) tests on atto-second radiation generation with these pulses and
    (c) injection of the short electrons bunches into ultra-high gradient advanced acceleration schemes, where the electron bunches are further accelerated into the GeV regime.
    The SINBAD project has established an advanced design and is presently in its construction phase. It is proceeding towards completion with first beam operation in early 2018.
    Post-doctoral and PhD projects are performed on schemes for producing ultra-short electron bunches, construction and commissioning of SINBAD, conventional RF technologies, diagnostics of ultra-short electron bunches, precise synchronization/timing and injection of the produced electron beams into ultra-high gradient acceleration technology.
  • AXSIS: The AXSIS project is the only accelerator-related ERC synergy grant in Europe and is funded with 13 M€ by the European Research Council. AXSIS aims at building an apparatus that produces and accelerates electron bunches with THz laser pulses that drive advanced photo-cathodes and dielectric waveguides for particle acceleration. The accelerating gradients will reach 1 GV/m and electron bunches in the atto-second regime shall be produced for radiation generation through Inverse Compton Scattering (ICS). The produced atto-second X-ray pulses will be used for atto-second science on the photo-system II. Primary Investigators are F. Kärtner (DESY), R. Aßmann (DESY), H. Chapman (DESY) and P. Fromme (Arizon State University). The project runs from 2014 to 2020.
    Accelerator-related post-doctoral and PhD projects are performed on beam transport in dielectric structures, impact of imperfections, correction/optimization schemes and diagnostics of the produced electron bunches.
  • EuPRAXIA: EuPRAXIA stands for “European Plasma Research Accalerator with eXcellence In Applications” and is one of two accelerator-related EU design studies that have been funded in the EU research program Horizon2020 (2014 to 2020). The EuPRAXIA project is funded from Nov. 2015 to Oct. 2019, it is coordinated by DESY and it involves 16 partner labs in EU countries and 18 associated partners from all over the world, including leading labs in China, Japan and the United States. The EuPRAXIA project will develop a design for a 5 GeV plasma accelerator for electron beams that will serve pilot user areas for particle physics, photon science and other fields. It shall demonstrate for the first time the user readiness of an advanced accelerator technology and its potential for ultra-compact accelerators with improved cost efficiency. The project involves high power lasers from industry for driving the accelerating wakefields in the plasma. In addition it involves compact conventional electron accelerators for producing electron beams that can be injected into plasma accelerators or can even drive plasma wakefields. The project aims at producing a conceptual design report by the end of 2019, including the estimated cost and a study on possible European sites. The study will be supported by experimental and technical developments and tests.
  • Accelerator-related post-doctoral and PhD projects are performed on start-to-end simulation of a 5 GeV laser-driven plasma accelerator, on required improvement/optimization schemes for laser/plasma/beam with industrial quality, on the investigation of alternative or hybrid driver schemes, on the development of use cases for particle physics/photon science/other fields, on the design of user areas, on studies of possible sites and costs.
  • Accelerator on a Chip“: This is a project funded by the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, a private foundation in the United States. The project includes researchers and facilities at Stanford University, SLAC, UCLA, University Erlangen, DESY, University Hamburg, EPFL, PSI, Technical University Darmstadt and CST. It’s goal is the further development of tiny particle accelerators that are made of nanostructured glass chips smaller than a grain of rice. These micro-accelerators are powered with optical lasers and can accelerate electrons with up to 1 GV/m.
    Accelerator-related post-doctoral and PhD projects are performed on beam transport in a chip-based accelerators, on the impact of imperfections, on preapring beam tests at SINBAD and and on the participation to experimental studies at the various facilities.
  • AWAKE experiment: DESY is a member of the AWAKE collaboration on a proton-driven plasma wakefield acceleration experiment at CERN. Our fellows and doctoral students can participate to this experiment and can take responsibilities in data taking, beam setup, simulation and data analysis.
  • Future Circular Collider (FCC): CERN is studying a future circular collider for 2030’s. Presently the design for a 100 km particle collider is being developed. DESY contributes to this work and there are two PhD positions available for a 25% stay at Hamburg and a 75% stay in Geneva, Switzerland. Interested candidates should contact R. Assmann (DESY) and/or H. Burkhardt (CERN) and afterwards apply through the CERN doctoral student program.


Please find a list of some job descirptions HERE (this is not necessary up to date or complete).


The detailed conditions of your position will be discussed during the hiring process. General information about the German public service have been put together by the German Minister of Interior (BMI) and can be found in the linked document titled “The federal public service – An attractive and modern employer”.

The DESY international office will provide assistance to prospective employees who are not German citizens. DESY offers various programs for optimizing work and life. The DESY housing office can help with finding an appartment or a house.


Please send email to if you have additional questions or require more information.

More information: click here

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