On April 1, CASUS left the project phase and has become a new institute of Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR). Just one month later, the Scientific Director of the HZDR, Prof. Sebastian M. Schmidt, came to Görlitz for an introductory visit. Schmidt wanted to get to know both the science and the scientists at the easternmost location of the Dresden-based research center.

For a good two and a half years, experts from disciplines as diverse as climate and environmental research, systems biology and astrophysics have been working in Görlitz on new digital solutions and methods to develop a systematic understanding of the complex phenomena of our world. The rapid success and development of the Center for Advanced Systems Understanding (CASUS) was, from the very beginning, largely based on the interaction of the different expertise of the founding partners. The development culminated in a successful evaluation last summer resulting in a decision that grants CASUS long-term funding.

Even though CASUS is now integrated into the HZDR (as its ninth institute), the other four founding partners – the Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research in Leipzig (UFZ), the Max Planck Institute for Molecular Cell Biology and Genetics in Dresden (MPI-CBG), the Technical University of Dresden and the University of Wrocław – continue to support CASUS’ mission: To actively shape the era of data-driven research – and to do so as a novel research institution with an interdisciplinary orientation and a focus on Open Science, internationality, and an intensive exchange both within science and with society.

Pizza and posters

Schmidt’s visit in Görlitz started with presentations of scientific achievements and plans at CASUS involving Dr. Michael Bussmann from the CASUS Directorate, the CASUS research group leaders Dr. Attila Cangi and Prof. Justin Calabrese, as well as the Young Investigator Group leaders Dr. Tobias Dornheim and Dr. Artur Yakimovich. “Prof. Schmidt’s visit shows the continued strong support of CASUS by the HZDR Directorate and all of us were very happy to discuss our science with him,” said CASUS’s Scientific Head Bussmann.

The presentations were followed by a lively discussion that continued into the lunch break in the CASUS backyard were also many postdocs and PhD students took the chance to meet the HZDR representatives over a slice of pizza and a drink. In the afternoon, the CASUS PhD students presented their projects to Schmidt in a poster session.

“I was very impressed by the breadth of topics and depth of expertise I encountered here today at CASUS,” said Schmidt before heading back to Dresden. “But especially compelling is the sound team spirit. The team wants to achieve great things together. I am also convinced that CASUS, as an institute of the HZDR, will now achieve its ambitious goals much faster and that the collaborations of CASUS scientists with other HZDR research groups will lead to numerous meaningful results. I really wish the team every success and once again emphasize that I will support CASUS in every way.”