63rd Annual Chancellors Conference – the Pandemic and Its Consequences


What Did We Learn? What Will Change? And What Will Stay the Same?

Individuals on a stage Copyright: © Andreas Schmitter  

The COVID 19 pandemic has profoundly changed university life. Lecture halls stand empty, teaching has switched to online learning, and many employees are working from home. All this required universities to establish and expand decentralized digital infrastructures and processes. In addition, the pandemic has called for a new way of looking at science and science policy.


At the 63rd Annual Chancellors Conference hosted by RWTH, various panel sessions with experts from science, research and politics provided the attendees with insights on how universities are changing society and how universities and science must now demonstrate their adaptability and resourcefulness. In addition, the participants discussed the key role that science played in coming to terms with the pandemic.


We as society have learned so much during the pandemic, maybe even more than we wanted to know. The pandemic has shown us in unprecedented ways how science and higher education actually work.

Professor Michael Dreher


Where does higher education see itself in 2030? What’s our new mission statement for teaching and research? And what does this entail for us, who must take a clear stance on digitalization?

Malte Persike


Opening Speeches of the Conference

NRW Science Minister Isabel Pfeiffer-Poensgen; Dieter Kaufmann, spokesperson for the Association of Chancellors of German Universities; Sybille Keupen, Lord Mayor of the City of Aachen; and representatives from RWTH Aachen University Management delivered opening addresses at the University Chancellors Conference.

Opening Speeches