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HI-SCORE International Research School – Harvesting the Sun efficiently

Researching the next generation of solar cells to make them more efficient and establishing an international network of young scientists who probe into various aspects of solar harvesting is the goal of our HI-SCORE research school.

On 1st February 2018, the Helmholtz-Centre Berlin (HZB) has established the Helmholtz International Research School HI-SCORE in cooperation with the best Israeli universities and graduate schools in both countries in order to conduct solar energy research, and exchange PhD students while providing them with binational supervision up to their graduation.

What are the fields of research?

The research school’s name “HI-SCORE” derives from the researcher’s intention to probe into “Hybrid Integrated Systems for Conversion of Solar Energy” whereby the research themes focus on materials development, interface design, and device integration of highly efficient solar cells.

In order to move to a widespread PV-based energy supply, an increase in the efficiency of solar cells is essential in order to balance the system costs. The need for better conversion technologies is a driving force behind many recent developments in materials and the research thereof.

What is the approach?

Novel wide-bandgap materials offer a pathway to tackle these challenges. By integrating these sunlight absorbers in suitable tandem cell designs, a larger part of the solar spectrum can be harvested, and sufficiently high voltages for the electrochemical production of chemical fuels can be generated. Low-cost, highly efficient tandem concepts have now become feasible through the spectacular development of organic-inorganic metal halide perovskites in recent years, and with the help of progress in the development of chemically stable metal oxide absorbers. But more research is needed.

What does the research school have to offer?

The HI-SCORE-Helmholtz International Research School capitalizes on these developments and challenges, and it offers more than 30 places to PhD students from Israel and Germany to conduct research in a variety of themes providing them with excellent research conditions and with internationally renowned scientists as supervisors. Additionally, PhD candidates benefit from the comprehensive selection of seminars and advanced training opportunities. All of the HI-SCORE doctoral students undertake research in both countries and receive supervision from the staff at Helmholtz as well as from the Israeli partners.

What are our resources?

The HI-SCORE-Helmholtz International Research School is funded by the Helmholtz Association with a budget of 1.8 million Euros from the Initiative and Networking Fund of the President of the Helmholtz Association over a period of six years. With co-financing of the collaborating partners in Israel and Germany, the total budget will reach up to 7 million Euros.

“HZB is taking on even greater responsibility for the education of the next generation of scientists in the field of solar energy through the HI-SCORE International Research School", says Prof. Roel van de Krol, spokesperson of HI-SCORE. “The supervised research in both countries will enable them to acquire foreign experience and prepare themselves for an international career. HI-SCORE will also be working closely with the graduate schools at HZB and will thereby broaden what HZB can offer to students", adds van de Krol.