JOBS: Fellowship and Doctoral Program

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.




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, PITZ, future colliders (e.g. FCC at CERN).



The program is open to all interested candidates regardless of nationality, gender or race. We are looking for physicists, engineers and IT specialists who think beyond convention and have one or several of the following qualifications:

  • Knowledge of basic electrodynamics or willingness to learn this
  • Experience in the construction and performance of precision experiments, in development and
    usage of computer programs for simulation of complex processes and possibly experience
    in accelerator construction and theory.
  • Enthusiasm for research, for the invention of new technical solutions and for the construction of
    science machines is required and replaces missing expertise in accelerators.
  • The work will be performed in strong international collaboration with world-class research centers
    in the UK, Italy and the US. The use of English is required.
  • Post-Doc positons require a PhD in physics or engineering
  • Doctoral students in the fields of physics or engineering may stay enrolled in their home university
    or enroll at the University of Hamburg or the Technical University Hamburg-Harburg
    (acceptance criteria must be met).



The program stays open all year long without fixed application deadlines. Please apply only once for the position you are interested in.


The application procedure is as follows: Inform yourself about DESY and the work we are doing. If you are interested please send your application to

  1. Letter of motivation, giving also type of position you apply for and your possible start date
  2. Curriculum Vitae
  3. Copy of relevant degrees
  4. Publication list
  5. Names of two reference persons (including e-mail address)

Our recruitement department will confirm the receipt of your application and take care of any further processes. For your application you can also use the step by step guide in our electronic online application system.


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 SINBAD project has established an advanced design and is presently in its construction phase.
    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 is one of two accelerator-related EU design studies that have been funded
    in the EU research program Horizon2020 (2014 to 2020). The project is structured into 14 working
    groups dealing with simulations of high gradient laser plasma accelerator structures, design and
    optimization of lasers and electron beams, research into alternative and hybrid techniques,
    Free Electron Lasers (FEL), high-energy physics, and radiation source applications.

    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.




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.