Strategic Partnership RWTH Aachen and Tsinghua University

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René Seyfarth

Coordinator for Strategic Partnerships


+49 241 80-92227



About the strategic partnership

RWTH Aachen University has been linked in friendship with prestigious Tsinghua University in Beijing for many years. In 1981, a collaborative agreement had already been established between the two universities, who are both recognized for their strong engineering and natural science programs. Since 2001, a Double Degree Program in mechanical engineering has been in existence, which has already produced more than 850 graduates. In 2013, Tsinghua University became RWTH Aachen University's very first strategic partner.

The fact that the special funding of this partnership through the DAAD has expired, has been offset by the wish of both universities to establish a privileged partnership. Professor Ernst Schmachtenberg, the then Rector of RWTH Aachen, and Professor Qiu Yong, President of Tsinghua University, have thus been able to assure each other of their mutual connectedness while also affirming their express wish to keep working together in the future and even further consolidate their relationship.

Rector Ulrich Rüdiger confirmed this course in 2019 and not only signed an extension of the existing partnership agreement, but also expanded the collaboration to include the Shenzhen International Graduate School (SIGS). In concrete terms, this means another double-master program (in preparation), joint top-level research, and exchange places for RWTH students in one of China's youngest and most innovative cities.

Ongoing Collaborative Projects

In the EU HORIZON 2020-Projekt MIX-UP, an international consortium – including RWTH Aachen and Tsinghua University – is researching novel and sustainable recycling methods. The project is coordinated by Professor Lars Blank.

The Institute of Power Plant Technology, Steam and Gas Turbines, IKDG for short, has kept close ties with Tsinghua University for many years. Regular joint workshops and the exchange of Master’s students and doctoral candidates have made it possible to establish a bilateral network between both institutions. In 2017, supported by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research, the Clean Energy Research Initiative (CERI) was launched, which is concerned with current and future challenges in the field of energy engineering. October 2018 saw the official opening of the CERI liaison office on the campus of Tsinghua University.

Since 2017, the Chair of Structural Analysis and Dynamics and the Department of Hydraulic Engineering have been investigating real-time hybrid simulations in their collaborative DFG research project, which is looking to determine the seismic performance of shape memory alloy dampers.

The Laboratory for Machine Tools and Production, WZL for short, is running the project StarTest in collaboration with Tsinghua University from 2018 to 2021. The aim is to standardize testing procedures for batteries used in electric-powered vehicles in Germany and China.

The Energy & Mineral Resources Group, EMR for short, has been running a research project in collarboration with the School of Aerospace at Tsinghua University since 2018, which is concerned with the permeability of rocks for gas transport. The objective of the project is to gain marked improvement in predicting effects during gas transport.

The Chair for Medical Information Technology, MedIt for short, will join up with the Department of Mechanical Engineering at Tsinghua University to conduct fundamental research on the use of exoskeletons for patients suffering from paralysis. The aim is to develop models and applications over the course of the project that will allow transfer of the concept to treating paraplegics in real life, concluding with a study with paraplegics at the end of the period allotted for the project.



What is a strategic partnership?

RWTH adopts strategic partnerships with renowned partners with similar profiles, such as the Canadian University of Alberta in Edmonton, the Indian IIT Madras in Chennai, and the Chinese Tsinghua University in Beijing. These special partnerships distinguish themselves through the sustainable expansion of collaboration at all institutional levels. This concerns teaching, research, and administration. Part of this collaboration includes developing joint structures and innovative teaching offers, establishing research associations, and solidifying synergetic collaborative formats. The objective is to sharpen the teaching and research profile and to promote the internationalization of RWTH and its partner universities.

What are the core objectives of the strategic partnership between RWTH and Tsinghua University?

The core objective of the strategic partnership is to cooperatively develop innovative solutions and cutting-edge technologies in order to meet the global challenges of our day. For this purpose, scientific partnerships are to be expanded, application-orientation, entrepreneurship and collaborations with industry are to be promoted and students are more intensively to be trained to become highly qualified and culturally sensitive staff. International visibility and mobility on all levels are to be boosted, research-oriented (and digital) teaching is to be strengthened, and common governance and administrative structures are to be established. Through optimal research opportunities and the promotion of their careers, academic talent and elite researchers are generally to be attracted.

What are the key topics of the strategic partnership between RWTH and Tsinghua University?

Tsinghua University's partnership with RWTH Aachen is characterized by a multitude of activities. Special focus areas are in Mechanical Engineering in collaboration with the Sino-German Joint Laboratory of Innovative Design and Manufacturing of Advanced Mechanical Systems, and also in the sustainable energy research conducted at the IKDG in partnership with the Clean Energy Research Initiative. The strong partnership is furthermore cultivated in the field of Management, Business and Economics – both through a special faculty partnership and through the WIN-Program.


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