About us

Broad and complementary expertise of the partners

We at HIP understand Imaging as a pipeline that covers the full range of data acquisition, data preparation, data management up to data analysis. Every part of this pipeline comes with its specific scientific challenges and research software tools. The HIP core team partners focus on different parts of the pipeline corresponding to their main expertise. This joint approach across communities and research fields provides a unique opportunity to combine skills and strength of single centres for the benefit of the entire Association. All HIP core team partners are united by frontline research and extensive imaging competence, which provides an excellent starting point and competitive basis for first-class, state-of-the-art services provided by the HIP core units. For all parts of the imaging pipeline, the HIP core team will be able to systematically find and leverage synergies across modalities and research questions, thus carving out common challenges and generalizing solutions across the Helmholtz Association.

Image data acquisition (DESY)

At the beginning of the imaging pipeline, data is acquired measuring the change of an emitted signal. This change is generated by interaction with the sample and can be measured physically on the one hand and modelled mathematically on the other. For a known sample, the response of the physical system can be determined from the model. Far more often, however, one would like to infer the nature of the sample from the measured response. To do this, the mathematical model must be inverted. These so-called inverse problems are at the heart of almost any image formation process.

DESY has a long-standing experience in solving inverse problems, such as the phase problem in crystallography and coherent diffraction imaging and as the tomographic problem in many different variants. The HIP scientific unit at DESY will be a research group in applied mathematics and computer science, specialized in the field of inverse problems from a mathematical point of view. This group shall bundle the expertise in inverse problems in a generic way, thus being able to support developments of other groups involved in image formation across the Helmholtz Association.

Image data preparation & management (MDC)

The MDC will place special emphasis on the integration of image data, algorithms and visualization solutions across multiple modalities and scales in space and time. The goal is to develop and provide HIP solutions that can handle the very heterogeneous image data collected across the research fields of the Helmholtz Association without imposing restrictions on the respective image modalities. In order to lay the foundations for the implementation of HIP solutions, the MDC will focus on the following research topics:
1. Develop concepts and algorithms for handling and generic processing of high-dimensional datasets
2. Develop algorithms for large, high-dimensional image data stitching, fusion and visualization

Image data analysis (DKFZ)

The scientific unit at DKFZ will address important bottlenecks in Helmholtz imaging research concerning the annotation and analysis of imaging data:
1. The manual and semi-automatic labelling of large amounts of imaging data - a core prerequisite for performing AI-based imaging research. In-depth competencies in this area yield a large potential for overarching synergies within Helmholtz imaging sciences.
2. The automated analysis and information extraction from imaging, including semantic segmentation, detection of change, novelty of objects, and the estimation of pose and object tracking in time-resolved image series.
3. The facilitation and implementation of open benchmark competitions for the validation of findings to ensure scalability, reproducibility and applicability of the imaging methods developed in Helmholtz.



A HIP service portfolio to the Helmholtz Association


HIP Projects is an essential component of the platform. They aim to initiate cross-cutting research collaborations and identify innovative research topics in the field of imaging and data science. In addition, they underpin the launch of the HIP network.

Funds for HIP Projects are granted to cross-disciplinary research teams to promote imaging science. The first annual call for proposals for HIP Projects will be launched soon.

HIP Projects is supervised by DESY.


The HIP Helpdesk is the first point of contact for any request according to the principle “one face to the customer”. It will provide fast and non-bureaucratic help to domain scientists at Helmholtz Centres. For example, researchers with a particular and defined problem in imaging sciences can consult the HIP Core Team, which is involved in many different projects from different research domains. It serves to promote and strengthen the HIP network of experts at the Helmholtz Centres, bridging the gap to other Helmholtz platforms, and to external partners within the national and international context.

The HIP Helpdesk is operated by the service unit at DKFZ.


In order to provide a common platform for the solutions created (e.g. from the HIP Projects), the HIP Solutions framework serves the purpose of uniting and generalising software created within HIP and the Helmholtz Association. Therefore, the HIP Solutions framework will provide mechanisms that enable software developers to easily implement abstract algorithms that can subsequently be applied to a wide range of modalities (“make algorithms generalisable”). Data together with their annotations can be stored in common formats that enable easy exchange of code and results in between domains (“make image data findable following the FAIR approach”).

HIP Solutions is operated by the service unit at MDC .



The HIP Core consortium - 3 partners to foster imaging together with all Helmholtz Centres

The HIP Core consortium comprises Deutsches Elektronen-Synchrotron (DESY), Max Delbrück Center for Molecular Medicine (MDC) and German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ).

The Deutsches Elektronen Synchrotron (DESY) is one of the world’s leading accelerator centres. DESY's research infrastructures include  unique imaging facilities, featuring for example the brightest and shortest X-ray pulses and accelerated particles at record energies. Based on these new experimental capabilities, DESY develops and improves many new highly sophisticated imaging techniques and modalities, giving access to the structure and function of complex matter on all length and time scales. This diverse research environment makes DESY a magnet for more than 3000 guest researchers from over 40 countries every year. Their research covers all research fields of the Helmholtz Association.

The Max Delbrück Centre for Molecular Medicine (MDC) is an internationally renowned biomedical research centre in Berlin. MDC is devoted to collaborative and interdisciplinary research, covering an entire range of imaging methods across several scales in space and time and levels of analysis – from basic sciences to a broad range of applications across research domains. The MDC’s imaging technology platforms provide a versatile spectrum of instrumentation and methodologies and are part of numerous collaborative research projects and technology developments in and outside of the Helmholtz Association. The MDC has a strong track record in imaging sciences and offers outstanding imaging and data analysis know-how.

The German Cancer Research Centre (DKFZ) is among the world’s leading cancer research centres and the largest biomedical research institution in Germany. The centre offers the critical mass of leading scientists, excellent research infrastructures to provide a world-class environment in imaging sciences embedded in its vast network of local, national and international partners. DKFZ is recognized for its unique and broad spectrum, continuous development of imaging techniques from cells to humans, application of artificial intelligence in computational analysis and post-processing of images and application of state-of-the-art imaging techniques. The imaging research infrastructure at DKFZ imaging includes cutting-edge platforms and innovative imaging technologies, as well as several core facilities supporting data management, computation demands and software tool development.