Brigitte Gilles Prize

  Two women standing on a stage, smiling into the camera Copyright: © Andreas Schmitter

Dr. Jana Mossanen (right) accepts the Brigitte Gilles Prize 2023 for the project Exciting, But Not Feasible for a Woman? The Appeal of Intensive Care Medicine and Surgical Specialties in Medicine, from Vice-Rector Sabine Brück.


Every year, RWTH awards the Brigitte Gilles Prize, which bears the name of the University's first women's affairs officer, Professor Brigitte Gilles. The topics are determined anew with each call for nominations, which is published in the middle of the year.


The aim is to reward innovative projects and measures that make a significant contribution to the advancement of women. The award seeks to support measures that improve the conditions for teaching, learning, and research as well as the organization of women's work. Furthermore, projects that help increase the number of women students and scientists in subjects with a low proportion of women are eligible. The successful implementation of requirements as listed in the RWTH Equal Opportunities Plan is also eligible for the prize.

The call for nominations is made both internally at University and externally at schools in order to work towards these goals early on.

The prize will be awarded in the following categories:

  Three women on a stage. Copyright: © Andreas Schmitter Professor Sabine Brück (from left), vice-rector for human resources management and development, awards Frederike Eyhoff and Dr. Birgit Schillak-Hammers the Brigitte Gilles Special Prize 2023 for the "Frauen am Reiff" project.
  • Projects, initiatives, and individuals that contribute to awakening and supporting women students' interest in the disciplines of mathematics, computer science, natural sciences, and technology (STEM subjects).
  • Measures, initiatives, and individuals that improve the living, studying, and working conditions of women at the University and encourage them on their career path.
  • Outstanding theses from all faculties that focus on a topic clearly connected to gender equality.

The prize winners will be presented with their awards during the annual "RWTHtransparent" event. The first two categories are endowed with 2,500 euros each, while the final thesis category is endowed with 500 euros.

The nominated projects should not be more than two years old and should be connected to RWTH Aachen University. The projects and measures may be in the development stage, but the implementation must be ensured. The prize can be awarded to individuals or groups of individuals.

Written nominations or applications can be submitted by until November 30, 2024. The application forms available for download on this page can be used - also as a supplement or as an aid.


History of the Award

RWTH presented this award for the promotion of women for the first time in 2000. It was renamed the Brigitte Gilles Prize in 2008. The award seeks to supported school projects that contribute to awakening and promoting girls' interest in science and technology as well as university-internal projects and measures for the advancement of women.

Brigitte Gilles

Brigitte Gilles was Full Professor of Psychology since 1980 and Dean of the Faculty of Education since 1983. After the closure of the department, she remained a professor at the RWTH Faculty of Arts and Humanities until she retired in 1994.

Brigitte Gilles has been committed to creating an equal opportunities institution since the beginning of her career, as she had been working on scientific studies on gender-specific inequalities for quite some time.

In 1991 Brigitte Gilles was elected as the first women's affairs officer of RWTH Aachen University. She formulated her goal very clearly after the election:


I want to open women's eyes to all their opportunities.

Brigitte Gilles

  Two women standing on a stage, smiling into the camera Copyright: © Andreas Schmitter Professor Sabine Brück (from left), vice-rector for human resources management and development, honors Valerie Hartmann with the Brigitte Gilles Prize 2023 for her master's thesis Antifeminism and Intersectionality: A Reflection on the History of Ideas.