Franz Pischinger Receives Aachen Engineering Award


The Austrian researcher came to Aachen in 1970, when he was appointed professor of applied thermodynamics and head of the Institute of Thermodynamics of RWTH Aachen. In 1978, he founded FEV GmbH, today a globally active company with more than 4,000 employees that is headquartered in Aachen.

Mayor Marcel Philipp emphasized the outstanding role of science in the Aachen region: „The universities are the most important institutions in our city. The Aachen Engineering Award illustrates our good collaboration – we want the brightest minds to come to us. The life’s work of Professor Pischinger is admirable in every way.” For RWTH rector Ernst Schmachtenberg, the awardee’s function as a role model is particularly important. Furthremore, he explains the idea behind the Aachen Engineering Award: “Technology pervades our world, and this award is to honor the life’s work of distinguished engineers.”

Laudation by Professor Hermann Scholl

Professor Hermann Scholl, honorary chairman of the Bosch Group, recognized the life’s work of the Austrian-born researcher. As a dedicated university professor, Pischinger has supervised more than 200 doctoral dissertations and imparted his knowledge and experience in combustion engines and applied thermodynamics to about thousands of students.

The high performance level and efficiency of today’s combustion engines can be named as one of his achievements. In all of his positions – as head of research at AVL in Graz, during his time at Klöckner Humboldt Deutz in Cologne, and as director of the Institute of Thermodynamics at RWTH Aachen – he was responsible for significant development work.

As Hermann Scholl explained, due to Pischinger’s work, every second newly registered car is powered by a low-consumption diesel engine: “Otherwise we would not be able to meet the demanding climate protection goals of the European Union.”

Later in his career, as a researcher and instructor at RWTH Aachen, Pischinger was able to draw on his vast practical experience. Combining research and practice in his activities, he finally decided to apply his ideas and insights in his own company and develop combustion engines for the automotive industry.

The Importance of Lifelong Learning

Franz Pischinger describes the award as a great honor and recognition. Already as a child, he had taken a passionate interest in technology, in radio sets or the phenomenon of light. This passion has accompanied him throughout his life, in his professional roles as a researcher, university instructor and entrepreneur.

“Today, I cannot simply advise others to do what I did. I can only recommend not to forget about continuing education, about lifelong learning.” Furthermore, no one should be afraid of specialization, “but one has to be careful not to become a narrow expert.”

The Engineering Award is an honor jointly awarded by RWTH Aachen and the City of Aachen. It receives support from its main sponsor, Sparkasse Aachen, and VDI, the Association of German Engineers.

Today’s VDI president Udo Ungeheuer was one of Franz Pischinger’s students. In his speech at the award ceremony, Ungeheuer showed deep respect of Pischinger’s scientific and entrepreneurial achievement. He emphasized that the award does not only honor outstanding achievement, but also serves as an inspiration for young people, highlighting the success and social good that can be attained on the basis of an engineering education.


The rector of RWTH Aachen, Professor Ernst Schmachtenberg (left), and the Mayor of Aachen, Marcel Philipp (right), present the Aachen Engineering Award to Professor Franz Pischinger.