Cooperation Agreement With Santander Bank

© Heike Lachmann

In addition to the agreement, which seeks to support teaching and research at RWTH, the new partner is to provide funding for a social entrepreneurship program.


RWTH Aachen University and Santander Bank have entered into a cooperation agreement with the aim of promoting research and teaching as well as scientific activities through collaboration in the areas of education and technology. The agreement was signed by the CEO of Santander Bank in Germany, Vito Volpe, the Rector of RWTH Aachen University, Professor Ulrich Rüdiger, and Santander board member Fernando Silva during a visit to the Collective Incubator, RWTH's innovation platform that brings together students, researchers, startups, and established companies.

“In many areas, RWTH relies on its excellent networks.  This agreement with a strong partner helps us create a new framework for the targeted support of our students and our research activities,” said Rector Rüdiger. “We are pleased to add another high-profile university, RWTH, to our global Santander Universities network. In particular, we would like to support social startups as part of our collaboration, which have great potential to bring innovative and progressive change for society as a whole,” explained Vito Volpe at the signing of the contract. As part of the cooperation, RWTH will become part of Santander's international network of partner universities, which includes more than 1,000 universities from 15 countries.

Additional Funding Support for Social Innovation and Social Entrepreneurship Projects

In addition, the partners concluded an agreement for the provision of funding for the Social Entrepreneurship Program. With this initiative, Santander seeks to promote the projects of students who are actively involved with the University’s Collective Incubator. Eligible to receive funding are social innovation and social entrepreneurship projects which focus on simplifying and applying technologies from the RWTH environment to serve charitable purposes both in Germany and worldwide.

Project scholarships are initially awarded for one semester to teams of four to six students, but renewal of scholarships is possible. The joint vision of RWTH and Santander is to help establish sustainable social startups by fostering talent and by simplifying technologies (so-called “downstripping”).

“Social impact projects can be highly diverse, ranging from development cooperation to climate protection, for example. We have excellent students at RWTH who want to make a difference with their dedication and committment. Breaking technologies down to their core elements has great potential for innovative projects,” explains Rector Rüdiger. More than 100 student initiatives and just as many startups in the past year alone are active in the environment of the University and, in particular, are involved in the Collective Incubator, the University’s innovation platform, which provides student projects, initiatives, and startups are provided with an ideal infrastructure for entrepreneurship and growth.

Santander also provides funding for ten Deutschlandstipendien – scholarships for outstanding students – as part of its cooperation with RWTH.


Cooperation agreement between RWTH and Santander Bank: Santander CEO Vito Volpe (right) and Rector Ulrich Rüdiger at the signing ceremony.