In 2010, the German Federal Ministry for Education and Research (BMBF) founded the National Center for Radiation Research in Oncology (NCRO), as a partnership combining: the Heidelberg Institute for Radiooncology (HIRO) and the OncoRay Center in Dresden.

Together, the complementary structures at these two centers in the NCRO combine to make up an internationally excellent infrastructure for radiation research. The partners work closely together on joint projects and clinical trials with the goal of transferring results from fundamental research into the clinic, where they can directly benefit patients. 

About half of all cancer patients receive radiation therapy at some point during their treatment. Improvements in radiotherapy could therefore have a big impact on the majority of patients affected by the disease. At NCRO, outstanding scientists work closely together across boundaries between subjects and disciplines towards achieving the greatest possible progress in this area.

HIRO is a joint initiative between the German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ), Heidelberg University Hospital, Heidelberg Ion-Beam Therapy Center (HIT) and the Medical Faculty Heidelberg of Heidelberg University. OncoRay is jointly supported by the University Hospital Carl Gustav Carus Dresden, the Carl Gustav Carus Faculty of Medicine at TU Dresden, and the Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR).