Chairperson of the Board of Directors

Website desynews DESY– Deutsches Elektronen-Synchrotron

Starting date: preferred end of 2024 | ID: GD/2023 | Deadline: 30.06.2023 | Full-time

DESY, with more than 2900 employees at its two sites in Hamburg and Zeuthen, is one of the world’s leading research centers in decoding the structure and function of matter, from the smallest particles of the universe to the building blocks of life. In this way, DESY contributes to solving the major questions and grand challenges facing science, society and industry. With its ultramodern research infrastructure, its interdisciplinary research platforms and its international networks, DESY offers a highly attractive working environment in the fields of science, technology and administration as well as for the education of highly qualified young scientists.

Firmly rooted in physics-based fundamental research, DESY has in recent years increasingly reached out towards politics, society and industry. DESY is now a key driver in the development of science and innovation eco-systems such as the Science City Hamburg Bahrenfeld or the science and technology region dahme_innovation. Innovation and technology transfer are furthermore an integral part of new cutting-edge research infrastructures, in particular at DESY’s new flagship project PETRA IV, the ultimate x-ray microscope with outstanding potential for academic and industrial users.

DESY is established as a foundation under German civil law and a Member of the Helmholtz Association. The research center is headed by a Board of Directors composed of the Chairperson of the Board of Directors, the Deputy Chairperson of the Board of Directors (Administrative Director) and four Directors representing the four DESY research divisions in accelerator science, photon science, astroparticle and particle physics. In addition, there is the delegate of the directorate for innovation (CTO).

The Board of Directors conducts the business of the research center jointly and in accordance with the applicable legislation, DESY’s foundation statutes and the decisions of the Foundation Council.

The Foundation Council of DESY has initiated an international search process for a dynamic and visionary individual to serve as the next Chairperson of the Board of Directors at DESY.

About your role:

  • You will be responsible for providing overall strategic vision, executive leadership, direction and management to the entire research center and to its staff
  • You will lead the overall strategic development and the definition of the central research goals of the research center
  • You are responsible for the implementation of the overall research program at DESY taking into account the framework conditions set by the program-oriented funding system of the Helmholtz Association and the respective research policy objectives
  • You will act in close communication and trust with the other members of the Board of Directors and chair the Directors’ meetings
  • You will act as the highest scientific representative of DESY and represent the research center in all aspects towards its stakeholders as well as the regional, national and international scientific environment
  • You will liaise closely with the committees of the research center, the funding bodies, the Helmholtz Association and the numerous regional, national and international cooperation partners in science, society and industry
  • You are the highest superior to all employees at DESY and are responsible for the lead scientists’ appointment strategy
  • You are responsible for strategic organizational departments and staff units at DESY including Innovation and Technology Transfer, the press and communication department, the European project office and the staff office of the Board of Directors
  • It is expected that you play a strategic role in shaping the research field Matter in the Helmholtz Association

DESY promotes equal opportunities and diversity. The professional development of women is very important to us and therefore we strongly encourage women to apply for the vacant position.

Applications from severely disabled persons will be given preference if they are equally qualified.

About you:

  • You are an internationally recognized scientist with profound leadership experience in science or science-related institutions
  • You have an outstanding international scientific reputation in one of the scientific disciplines relevant to DESY. You can represent the scientific spectrum of DESY in its entire breadth, both internally and externally
  • You have experience in developing scientific strategies and convince with decision-making power, strategic farsightedness, analytical thinking as well as implementation strength
  • You have experience in strategic management of large projects and outstanding organizational skills
  • You have experience in interacting with decision-makers and stakeholders from politics, science, funding agencies and industry
  • You communicate and negotiate convincingly at all levels, contribute your own ideas, are open to contributions from others, inspire people and profitably use networks
  • You act with confidence, are trustworthy and work with colleagues in a team-oriented manner. Diversity and equality-oriented leadership is a prerequisite
  • You have a profound knowledge of the international research landscape and environment

The appointment is for a period of five years. Reappointment is possible. The salary is at an internationally competitive level in accordance with the W3 salary system in Germany which includes the option of performance-related payments.

Knowledge of or commitment to learn the German language would be desirable.

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The Foundation Council of DESY has appointed a search committee for the selection process. This committee is supported by Leadership Advisors for Academia, Dr. Norbert Sack. We look forward to receiving your application at

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