Why Research at RWTH Aachen University?

  SuperC Building and New “Heizkraftwerk” Lecture Halls Copyright: © Martin Braun

RWTH Aachen University is a place where the future of our industrialized world is thought out. The University is proving to be a hotspot with increasing international recognition where innovative answers to global challenges are developed. Its success in Germany's Excellence Initiative reflects its outstanding reputation for research and education in the science, technology, and engineering fields.


Key Figures and Rankings

  1. In 2016, RWTH spent more than 325 million euros in external funding. That means the volume of external funding, which is primarily used for commissioned research projects, has stabilized on a high level in the last five years.
  2. The ranking lists of the “Wirtschaftswoche” magazine and others have put RWTH Aachen University once again in first place.
  3. Between 2009 and 2016, the  University is investing more than 300 million Euros in new university buildings and the renovation of old ones, without counting the investments in the RWTH Aachen Campus research park.

RWTH Aachen – Thinking the Future

Research Profile of RWTH Aachen University

Research at RWTH focuses on relevant problems arising from global challenges. The aim is to provide solutions for today’s complex and multi-faceted problems by developing an integrated interdisciplinary approach to research.

The University’s strategy ensures a comprehensive integration of outstanding fundamental and applied research. At RWTH, excellent disciplinary and interdisciplinary research go hand in hand. The interdisciplinary scope is especially important when it comes to new, large scale research projects, making major contributions to the natural sciences and engineering.

With this in mind, RWTH Aachen has identified the following key research areas:

  • Computational Science & Engineering
  • Energy, Chemical & Process Engineering
  • Information & Communication Technology
  • Material Science & Engineering
  • Medical Science & Technology
  • Molecular Science & Engineering
  • Mobility & Transport Engineering
  • Production Engineering

Some of this work is also carried out within the framework of the Jülich Aachen Research Alliance, JARA for short, between RWTH Aachen University and the nearby Forschungszentrum Jülich. Forschungszentrum Jülich is a non-university research institution of the Helmholtz Association. Within JARA, researchers that are both affiliated to RWTH and the Forschungszentrum Jülich collaborate in fields such as translational brain research, future information technology, high performance computing and sustainable energy research. JARA provides an ideal scientific environment and attracts world-class researchers.

As far as academic recognition is concerned, RWTH has twice been successful in the Excellence Initiative of the German federal and state governments and is one of the eleven excellence universities in Germany.

High-level fundamental research is funded by the German Research Foundation, DFG.

RWTH ranked third with regard to DFG awards for 2011 to 2013 and first in engineering sciences. In 2016, RWTH nationally ranked second with regard to EU project funding in HORIZON 2020. Since the beginning of HORIZON 2020, several researchers from RWTH have received grants from the European Research Council. Four researchers from Aachen are once again listed in the international ranking "Highly Cited Researchers 2016", thus belonging to the most influential researchers within their disciplines.

The University is driven by its belief that successful innovation requires research which leads to added value for industry and society – vice versa, needs from industry and society should foster new research ideas and approaches.

To achieve this goal RWTH follows a holistic approach that covers transfer activities within research and teaching from first principle to marketable solutions. Various mechanisms are in place to help researchers and industry partners nurture future innovation. As well as dedicated actions from chairs and departments directly, the technology and entrepreneurship center provides broad services for all technology transfer and entrepreneurial activities on campus.

With its geographic position, RWTH Aachen is a major driving force behind a cross-border innovative knowledge community. The RWTH Aachen Campus at the Melaten site has become one of the largest research campuses in Europe – a visible sign of the fruitful cooperation between academia and industry.