Interview with Professor Ulrich Rüdiger


"Objectives are Developed in Collaboration with Others"

Professor Rüdiger, what attracts you to becoming rector of RWTH Aachen University?

I find it exciting to contribute to the further development of a leading university of technology that develops solutions to the global technological and societal challenges within an interdisciplinary research culture. RWTH offers a wide range of disciplines, including medicine, the natural sciences, computer science, and the engineering sciences, but also economics, the social sciences and the humanities, which, taken together, provide an ideal basis for developing solutions that gain broad societal acceptance.

What perspectives do you see for RWTH?

RWTH has the capacity to address major challenges in an open system involving society, business and industry – from the scientific fundamentals through to the marketable product. RWTH has all the necessary prerequisites to do so, unlike the smaller University of Konstanz, even though we have been very successful there. Looking back, this is also the reason why I went to study at RWTH and did not choose the next closest university in Lower Saxony. Back then, I was already looking for a basic research oriented physics that is relevant to the engineering sciences.

What will your concrete objectives be as rector of RWTH Aachen? What are the most important projects?

It would be presumptuous of me as an outsider to come and as the new rector say: Look! These are my goals! I know what awaits me. I cannot emphasize enough how important it is to quickly come together as a team to successfully draft projects like the Excellence Strategy and here, particularly, the second funding line. We should also take advantage of every opportunity in the second round of the pact to promote early-career researchers. However, everything we want to achieve and will achieve at RWTH is a team effort. Objectives arise out of our togetherness and are only achieved together. RWTH has clearly already defined its primary goals, for instance in the Excellence Strategy.

You have an Aachen past. What do you remember about RWTH that you might have missed while away?

Looking at the RWTH Aachen now, the University has experienced an impressive boost in the past ten to 15 years. I recently visited the physics center on Melaten and was positively surprised by how the environment has grown with the new Campus. It is an exciting project with great potential. RWTH has developed enormously since I left Aachen for Konstanz. However, I did miss the Aachen specialities Streuselbrötchen and Reisfladen.

Is there something you will definitely bring with you to Aachen from Konstanz?

An almost unwavering good mood and my ever-present optimism.