When the president of the Helmholtz Association contacted me in December 2016 to jointly explore the foundation of a new Helmholtz Center for Information Security, I was both overwhelmed and flattered. Several weeks needed to pass until I started to understand the true dimension of what was being envisioned here: building up a world-class research center with truly comprehensive base funding for more than 500 researchers, committed to scientific excellence and cutting-edge research, and dedicated to targeting the grand cybersecurity challenges that we face in our age of digitalization. I learned that the foundation of a new Helmholtz center is an exceptionally rare, far-reaching decision that is taken with the objective of assuming a global lead in a research topic that is of sovereign importance. I was thrilled by the ability to build up such a center, and I felt that this is a journey I for sure want to be part of.
We are currently focusing on attracting some of the best national and international researchers to the CISPA – Helmholtz-Zentrum (i.G.) We know that we cannot compete with the long-standing traditions and renowned reputations of the top American and European universities. Yet we believe that we can offer an inspiring working place that is defined by our commitment to excellence and our blue-sky ambitions. We provide comprehensive sustained resources that enable freedom of research and the ability to tackle some of the grand, long-term cybersecurity research challenges. I am convinced that this situation offers unique opportunities for outstanding researchers at all stages of their career, and I will do everything in my power to evolve CISPA into one of the leading cybersecurity research centers in the world.
I sincerely hope that this website conveys the spirit that animates this new research center, and, most of all, I hope that you will soon have the occasion to visit us here in the beautiful state of Saarland, right in the heart of Europe to renew old acquaintances or to create new ones. We are looking forward to welcoming you here.
Michael Backes - Founding Director and Chairman of the CISPA – Helmholtz-Zentrum (i.G.)