Erasmus+ Policy Statement: Strategic Program as of May 2013


The selection of international university partners is based on the definition of key partner countries as provided in the RWTH Internationalization Plan. Selection criteria include scientific and research reputation, reliability, and willingness to define adequate forms of student and staff mobility in writing.



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Outside of Europe, there are the following key partner countries: USA and Canada, China, India, Korea, Japan, Russia, and Brazil.

For each key partner country, the Rector appoints an RWTH professor as a delegate. As a prerequisite for appointment, the delegate must have sufficient experience with the country in question. In close collaboration with the International Office, the delegates develop tailored strategies and suitable mobility initiatives for the target countries.

There are different strategies and measures for different countries; mobility initiatives for the US must be – and are – different in character from those for India, for example. Each Rector’s Delegate has a budget for effective measures such as Contact Scholarships, Research Ambassador Fellowships, or Research Fellowships. The delegates are also intermediaries between the International Office, the faculties, and the international partner institutions.

RWTH seeks to provide mobility programs at all levels of study and make study abroad possible for a large number of students.

University Networks

RWTH Aachen participates in several university networks in Europe and seeks to intensify its collaboration with the best institutions in these networks. In Europe, the University’s most important strategic networks include the IDEA League, CESAER, T.I.M.E., and UNITECH. As part of the T.I.M.E. cooperation, joint master’s degree programs are being developed and extended.

Educational and research institutions in the key partner countries as defined in the RWTH Internationalization Plan are privileged partners when it comes to the initiation of new partnerships and the conclusion of new university agreements.

Mobility measures must meet certain quality criteria at all levels of study. In order to give most of our students the chance to participate in a study abroad program, RWTH Aachen seeks to continually extend its already comprehensive network of partner universities. These partnerships to enhance student mobility, quality of studies, and diversity at our University.

What Does Mobility Mean for RWTH Aachen?

Mobility is to

  • strengthen European integration and European contacts and relations with selected non-EU target regions.
  • enhance quality in research, teaching and learning
  • give our students and staff the opportunity to gain cultural, language, and professional qualifications abroad
  • deepen relations with other nations and to act as ambassadors of Germany and of Europe
  • make studies at RWTH an international experience by welcoming a large number of international students. RWTH has programs in place to enhance the recruitment and integration of internationals.
  • give our students the opportunity to gain intercultural competencies at home, e.g. through participation in the BeBuddy program, which makes it possible for students to get in close contact with international students.
  • enhance employability and career opportunities for participants in mobility programs

Working Group

In 2011, RWTH Aachen has established the Internationalization working group, which is to raise awareness of the need for internationalization at all levels of the university, including the administration, and to offer continuing education opportunities to enhance English language and intercultural competencies. It is the aim of the group to improve the international outlook of the administration so that all documentation and information material will also be made available in English.

For the conclusion of contracts and agreements, RWTH Aachen has put in place certain standards, including contract templates for university and faculty agreements, a criteria catalog for the selection of possible international partners, and guidelines for the faculties.

RWTH has established an international degree program in Applied Geophysics, which originated in the Erasmus program.

Partner University/Program Areas of Study
Dual Master's Programs
Tsinghua University Mechanical Engineering
T.I.M.E - in cooperation with the Group of Grandes Ecoles, France Mechanical Engineering and Electrical Engineering
Keio University Mechanical Engineering and Electrical Engineering
KTH Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm Electrical Engineering
CTU Prague Electrical Engineering

Strategic Partnerships

RWTH Aachen is an integrated interdisciplinary university of technology. In selecting partners abroad, the University looks for institutions that fit this profile. RWTH is involved in several European university networks and seeks to enhance its activities through collaborations with the best universities in these networks.

Important for the University’s strategic focus in Europe are the IDEA League universities, the Conference of European Schools for Advanced Engineering Education and Research, CESAER for short, as well as the T.I.M.E. consortium and the UNITECH group of European universities and industry. Based on its experience with these networks, RWTH has developed its idea of a strategic partnership, which it was able to successfully implement together with Tsinghua University, Beijing. This strategic partnership takes its cue from the goals of the Institutional strategy RWTH 2020 – Meeting Global Challenges , the Internationalization Plan, and the Strategy for China as directed by the Rector’s Office. Both universities consider the further development of this partnership as a complement to their individual strengths. This cooperation, in its optimized form, shall be a model for similar partnerships with other important research and educational institutions.

Furthermore, RWTH Aachen has initiated a research and education network with the University of California at Berkeley as its major partner. The aim of this network is to further improve the quality of research and teaching through internationally oriented measures and also to enhance the national and international visibility of RWTH Aachen. Other partners include the University of California at Santa Barbara, Duke University, Yale University, and the University of California at Los Angeles. In the collaborative project, the core disciplines from the natural and engineering sciences are to be interlinked.

Improving Education to Meet Europe’s Need for Academics and Researchers

The mobility programs, including Erasmus as the largest of its kind, allow participants a certain leeway in choosing the moment and level of their studies abroad, depending on their individual needs. In this way mobility opens up higher education opportunities.

Learning from best practice examples within European university partnerships as well as benchmarking activities contribute to improving the quality of teaching and learning. Students at all stages of their studies with mobility experience are in a position to assess and compare the quality of studies at their home institution and thus are able to point to areas with room for improvement.

Improving Quality Through Mobility and Cross-Border Collaboration

Mobility, benchmarking and year-long involvement in strategic alliances such as the IDEA League have triggered learning processes at the academic and administrative levels. RWTH seeks to establish European mobility programs in such a way that they are readily available for all RWTH members who wish to develop their soft skills, improve their foreign language skills, and make international contacts, with the aim to enhance their professional lives and/or academic careers. Mobility programs also make it possible to represent the University abroad and to make it more visible as a brand. Incoming students are seen as an asset and are very welcome, not least to provide our students with an international experience.

Interlinking Higher Education, Research and Business to Enhance Regional Development

With the new RWTH Aachen Campus research park, the University aims to become one of the leading universities of technology worldwide, offering outstanding opportunities for cooperation between research, industry, and academia. With 19 research clusters on an 800,000 sqm site, RWTH Aachen Campus will be one of the largest technology-oriented research landscapes in Europe, apt to provide students with a unique learning experience. The University expects that the new campus will give a further economic boost to the City of Aachen as well as the entire Rhine-Meuse Euroregion.

Improvement of Governance and Funding

Europe-wide competition and inter-university comparisons contribute to improving the performance of universities. The indicator-based multirank evaluation process of universities makes it possible better to control processes and their financing. Multirank uses internationalization of the faculties an indicator which has an impact on governance: tom a certain extent, funds are to be distributed to the faculties in proportion to their degree of internationalization, as indicated, for example, by the number of internationals students in the faculty or the number of degree programs taught in English.