Frequently asked questions

General Questions

What is HITS?

The Heidelberg Institute for Theoretical Studies (HITS) is a private, non-profit research institute which was established in 2010 by Klaus Tschira, one of the founders of SAP. Our research groups conduct basic research in areas where large amounts of data are produced and processed – from astrophysics to cell biology.

What is Basic Research?

Basic research deals with the principles of sciences such as natural sciences. Our researchers investigate and examine different theories on certain scientific phenomena or develop new theories. Basic research is therefore the basis for any kind of scientific work providing elementary knowledge other researchers can work with.

How is HITS structured?

Our institute comprises eleven different research groups (status: March 2018). They all do basic research in natural sciences, mathematics and computer sciences to process and structure large amounts of data (data-driven science). They use mathematic models and computer tools, similar algorithms and simulation methods. This joint approach runs like a common thread through our institute and provides the basis for a high degree of interdisciplinarity between different fields of research.

What is Data-Driven Science?

At HITS, the computer is the lab. The researchers find solutions for scientific problems through mathematic calculations and simulations. In order to do so, they deploy algorithms and write computer programs especially designed for this use. Through this they can for example calculate evolutionary trees or simulate the evolution of galaxies. Our scientists collaborate closely with experimental researchers from all over the world and compare their calculations and simulations with observations of experimental research.

How is HITS funded?

In 2014, the HITS foundation was established, which is the main sponsor of HITS. Other main funding agencies the institute receives financial support from are the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research, the German Research Foundation (DFG) and the European Union.

Questions and Answers for Students and Scientists

Can I do my PhD at HITS?

Together with the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) and Heidelberg University we offer PhD positions. For further information, please check our page „Career“.

Are there currently any vacancies at HITS?

We are always looking for new, highly motivated colleagues. For current vacancies, please check our page „Jobs” or contact us:

Is HITS Collaborating with other Institutes?

Yes, we collaborate with several other institutes, such as:

Heidelberg University

Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT)

European Southern Observatory (ESO) Garching

Max-Planck Institute for Molecular Biology and Genetics Dresden


University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign