First Ford RWTH Alliance Executive Event at RWTH


The "Ford – RWTH Aachen University Alliance“ research collaboration with Ford, the automobile manufacturer, has existed since 2013. The first Ford RWTH Aachen University Alliance Executive Event, where selected alliance projects from the alliance were presented, recently took place.

  Group of men in the SuperC Copyright: © Andreas Schmittler Pictured (from left): Edward Krause, Global Manager, External Alliances, Ford Motor Company, RWTH Rector Ernst Schmachtenberg, Dr. Ken Washington, Vice-President, Research and Advanced Engineering, Ford Motor Company, Prof. Malte Brettel, Vice-Rector

RWTH Rector Ernst Schmachtenberg and Professor Malte Brettel, Vice-Rector for Industry and Business Relations welcome the new vice-president of research and development at Ford, Dr. Ken Washington, in the SuperC. After short presentations offering an overview of the project portfolio and the current status of the strategic collaboration, participants visited two of the RWTH institutes involved. Professor Lutz Eckstein led the tour through the Institute of Automotive Engineering, ika, and Professor Stefan Pischinger showed the guests around the Institute for Combustion Engines, vka, and the Center for Mobile Propulsion, CMP. Dr. Washington came to Ford from Lockheed Martin Space Systems in 2014 and visited RWTH for the first time. He was very impressed by the institutes and their interdisciplinary, integrative collaboration.

The alliance’s research projects were selected in close collaboration between Ford and RWTH Aachen. The third round of proposals is currently taking place. 20 projects spread over a broad spectrum of topics resulted from the first two successful rounds. Four faculties: Faculty 1 Mathematics, Computer Science, and Natural Sciences; Faculty 4 Mechanical Engineering; Faculty 6 Electrical Engineering and Information Technology; and Faculty 8 School of Business and Economics, are conducting interdisciplinary research on automotive topics of the future. Each of the projects will run for two years.


The Ford-University Alliance model is already established in the USA. Aside from the American universities MIT, the University of Michigan, and Stanford, RWTH is the only university outside of the USA, which could enter this new and innovative type of collaboration with Ford Motor Global Company. Ford is providing the central project budget. This ensures planning security for the projects.

Projects oriented towards fundamental and interdisciplinary research topics are primarily being initiated. Without the Alliance progam it would be hard to initiate such projects, since they often cannot be directly assigned to a specific department within a company and thus do not have an available budget. RWTH also greatly profits from such projects, as they are application-oriented regardless of the fact that they are oriented towards basic research. The projects are also of overarching significance to the companies, because the results lead to competitive advantanges long-term that are otherwise not exhausted.

Source: Press and Communications