June to September 2020, Issue 190


Dear Alumni,

The coronavirus still has the world in its grip. RWTH has been able to adapt to the pandemic quickly and efficiently, however. Within a short period of time, all of our courses were converted to virtual formats. Employees in the technical and administrative departments could and still can continue their work remotely from home or, by following strict regulations on protective equipment, hygiene, and distance rules, on the RWTH campus. Last but not least, in the past months, the RWTH community has come together to launch aid and solidarity actions to support students, and it has developed numerous scientific projects and studies on various aspects of the coronavirus pandemic. We already reported on some of those projects in our last newsletter. In this issue, you will find more exciting examples. The #RWTHhilft initiative launched by proRWTH is also being continued.

As you all know, the year 2020 should have been chock full of anniversary celebrations for RWTH. Instead, the planned events to mark the University’s 150th anniversary had to be canceled and postponed to next year: The University Festival and Alumni Day are now scheduled for June 12, 2021. As of now, nobody can predict how the coronavirus pandemic will play out. However, RWTH is working with great optimism towards celebrating its anniversary in a worthy manner next year.

The year 2020, however, shall not go by without at least some special events to mark the anniversary. The “show” that was planned with many guests in the C.A.R.L. lecture hall complex for October 10, 2020, will now be available in a virtual format that is live-streamed via the RWTH YouTube channel at 8:15pm (CEST) on that day. We are warmly inviting you to spend a great and exciting evening together with us while keeping socially distant. Read more about it in the following paragraphs.

Best regards – and stay healthy!
Your Alumni Team


Alumni Spotlight

Technology Trailblazer Sebastian Thrun to Receive Aachen Engineering Award

Professor Sebastian Thrun is a renowned expert on artificial intelligence and was ranked fourth among the world’s one hundred most influential thinkers by the US journal Foreign Policy. It all began with his studies in computer science at the universities of Hildesheim and Bonn, where he received his doctorate in 1995. After teaching and conducting research at Carnegie Mellon University and Stanford University, he joined Google in 2011, where he was entrusted with setting up the Google X research department. This is where Google Street View, the Google Glass smart glasses and the self-driving car were developed. In light of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, RWTH and the City of Aachen recently agreed in consultation with the advisory Board of the Aachen Engineering Award to postpone the award ceremony for the robotics specialist to 2021. The exact time and date will be announced at a later date.

RWTH Professor Peter Kukla Is Leading the Development of Fraunhofer IEG at the Aachen Site

The transformation of energy supply from the large central structures of lignite and hard coal combustion to decentralized and climate-neutral systems poses major challenges. The decision to phase out coal-fired power supply will result in structural change in the affected regions and requires the use of alternative energy sources. RWTH Aachen University and the Fraunhofer Institute for Energy Infrastructures and Geothermal Energy IEG, founded in early 2020, are jointly researching the exploration and sustainable use of georesources. Besides the integration of the International Geothermal Energy Centre Bochum for short, in Bochum into the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft and the establishment of further institute units in Cottbus and Jülich, Fraunhofer IEG is also carrying out research at the branch offices in Aachen/Weisweiler and Zittau. Professor Peter Kukla, Head of the Institute of Geology and Dean of the Faculty of Georesources and Materials Engineering at RWTH Aachen University, has been given responsibility for the development of the Aachen site with the departments for georesources and storage technologies.

French-German Research Prize for RWTH Professor Walter Leitner

Professor Walter Leitner, Chair of Technical Chemistry and Petrochemistry at RWTH Aachen University, is awarded the Georg Wittig-Victor Grignard Prize This binational prize is awarded annually to excellent chemists who promote research collaboration and scientific networking between Germany and France. The Société Chimique de France and the Gesellschaft Deutscher Chemiker alternately elect the prizewinner. The Société Chimique de France nominated the chemical engineer from Aachen.


Continued Education & Career

“RWTH Alumni Job Portal” Online

On our alumni jobs portal, companies can post job offers for management positions or experienced professionals. This platform is specially designed for RWTH alumni, as our graduates – in particular those who already have work experience – are highly sought-after in the fields of business, economics, and industry. If your company is interested in posting a job offer, please send our alumni team an .

RWTH International Academy Offers: Reduced Fees for RWTH Alumni Network Members

As a member of RWTH’s alumni network, you can benefit from reductions in course fees when you book a further education course at RWTH International Academy. You pay 5 percent less when you book a certificate course, seminar, or full-time Master’s course of study and 10 percent less when you book a part-time-program. You can book the courses and study programs on the International Academy website.International Academy Website.

WZLforum Continuing Education Offers


Science & Business

The Special Film for RWTH’s Anniversary

The first lecture was still held at the “Königliche Rheinisch-Westphälische Polytechnische Schule,” today’s RWTH Aachen University. In his speech, the founding director, August von Kaven, established the University’s claim as “rapid, wonderful progress in the application of science.” 150 years later, RWTH Aachen University will show what it stands for nowadays in a film. Actually, “The Show” at the C.A.R.L. lecture hall complex was intended to be the highlight of a series of celebrations for the anniversary. Due to the pandemic, however, RWTH has had to cancel the planned events. RWTH would now like to invite you to tune in for the anniversary movie evening, so we can celebrate together while maintaining our distance, too. The “Virtual Show” will be broadcast on the video platform YouTube at 8:15pm on October 10, 2020. Check out the invitation film for a sneak peek.

RWTH Podcast: Corona – Our Answers to the Pandemic

The Covid-19 crisis affects various scientific disciplines and operational areas, also at RWTH Aachen University. The new podcast will feature a multitude of experts voicing their opinion on these matters. Together with his team from the RWTH Chair of Sociology of Technology and Organization, or STO for short, Professor Roger Häußling is using video conferencing to conduct interviews with the RWTH staff responsible for the digitalization of teaching, virologists and physicians at the University Hospital, the Rectorate of RWTH, the AStA Students’ Committee, political scientists as well as experts from the fields of ethics, economics (including innovation research), computer science, and mechanical engineering.

SARS-CoV-2 Viruses in Wastewater

Since the beginning of the pandemic, research groups have been working on methods to detect SARS-CoV-2 viruses in wastewater to monitor the degree of COVID-19 transmission among the population. The idea is simple: Since infected people shed SARS-CoV-2 viruses in their feces, wastewater samples could give an indication of the infection numbers among all the residents connected to a wastewater treatment plant. Given sufficient sensitivity, these analyses could function as an early-warning system for authorities, allowing early detection of local case increases within a treatment plant’s catchment area.

Understanding Digital Societies

Computational Social Sciences (CSS) provide unique insights into social phenomena and the underlying mechanisms of digital societies. The potential but also existing difficulties of computational social sciences are clearly demonstrated with the COVID-19 pandemic: On the one hand, companies are making mobility data from members of the public available anonymously in warning apps, for example, providing important insights into social behavior. On the other hand, this is a particular exception. Computational social sciences generally lack sufficient data because it is fundamentally difficult to collect them or because private companies only provide them insufficiently. An international association of researchers including RWTH professor Markus Strohmaier, Chair for Methods and Theories of Computational Social Sciences and Humanities at the Human Technology Center – HumTec, has now explained the obstacles and possibilities of computational social sciences in the journal Science.

RWTH Is the Best German University in IT ranking

In the recently published international computer sciences portal Guide2Research university ranking, RWTH Aachen University was placed first among all German universities. Scoring a total of 1,152 points, RWTH is clearly well ahead of the technical universities in Munich (1,033 points) and Berlin (897 points). A total of 41 German universities made it into the ranking list, which includes around 650 of the best universities in computer science worldwide. RWTH ranks 54th overall and is thus higher placed than certain renowned institutions such as Yale University or California Institute of Technology (Caltech).US universities predominantly top the worldwide ranking.

RWTH – A Top Entrepreneurial University

According to a recent evaluation by the Federal Ministry of Education, in the funding period 2019/20, RWTH was among the top universities for receiving support for start-up projects. With 19 approved grants in the EXIST program, RWTH and Uniklinik RWTH Aachen rank second in a nationwide comparison of universities. With three funded research transfer projects and 16 approved start-up grants, RWTH with its University of Excellence status is also the only university in North Rhine-Westphalia to have made it into the top 10 most funded German universities.

A Virtual Sneak Peek at the 30th Aachen Machine Tool Colloquium

Due to the worldwide restrictions caused by the coronavirus (CoVid-19) pandemic, the 30th Aachen Machine Tool Colloquium planned for this year had to be postponed to 2021. The colloquium is organized every three years by the Fraunhofer Institute for Production Technology IPT and the RWTH Laboratory for Machine Tools and Production Engineering WZL. The new AWKonline website already offers some first insights into the relevant questions of production technology, which will be further examined and explained with an eye towards practical applications at the AWK'21 on June 10 and 11, 2021 at the Aachen Eurogress. Interested parties can download the AWK conference proceedings and view presentations and exclusive video interviews with experts from science and business. The planned lecture program is intended to show which approaches employed in the Internet of Production are valuable tools for companies to strengthen their resilience and thus enable them to deal with drastic crises.

RWTH Is Researching the Remote Control of Inland Vessels

Inland navigation in Germany is struggling with high price pressure, low water periods, and a shortage of skippers. The Institute of Automatic Control at RWTH Aachen University is therefore developing methods and algorithms in the joint project “FernBin” to guide inland waterway vessels safely and efficiently by remote control. FernBin has been funded by the German Ministry of Economic Affairs and Energy since July 1, 2020. Project partners are the Development Center for Ship Technology and Transport Systems in Duisburg, the University of Duisburg-Essen, Argonics GmbH, Ingenieurbüro Kauppert GmbH, in-innovative navigation GmbH, and the Federal Waterways Engineering and Research Institute.

Alliance of Universities of Technology to Receive Funding from the European Universities Initiative

ENHANCE, the European Universities of Technology Alliance, a network of seven technical universities including RWTH, is set to receive funding from the European Commission. This was announced by the Commission in July 2020. Over the next three years, the alliance, coordinated by Technische Universität Berlin, will receive five million euros in the second funding phase of the “European Universities - Alliances of European Universities” initiative to establish structures that facilitate the seamless mobility of students and university employees. The seven participants in ENHANCE are Chalmers University of Technology, Sweden; Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Norway; Politecnico di Milano, Italy; RWTH Aachen University, Germany; Technische Universität Berlin, Germany; Universitat Politècnica de València, Spain; and Warsaw University of Technology, Poland.

RWTH Aachen and University of Cape Town Cooperating in VaReeWa Project

The German Ministry of Education and Research is fincancing the VaReeW project: Development of a combined thermal pre-treatment and hydrometallurgical process route for Value Recovery from e-Waste through small-scale recyclers in Africa. As part of the German-African Innovation Incentive Award, the cooperation between Professor Bernd Friedrich from the RWTH Institute for Metallurgical Process Technology and Metal Recycling and Professor Jochen Petersen from the University of Cape Town in South Africa will be funded with 150,000 euros over a 24-month period.

RWTH Aachen to Collaborate with Georgian Universities

The Georgian ambassador to Germany, Professor Levan Izoria, and the Georgian consul general, Levan Diasamidze, visited RWTH on September 22, 2020, where the delegation was received by RWTH Rector Ulrich Rüdiger. The visit took place in the context of a visit to Forschungszentrum Jülich, which has been collaborating with various Georgian universities since 2004 via the “Georgian German Science Bridge.” The visit to RWTH was organized by Professor Achim Stahl from the Physics Institute III B in cooperation with the RWTH International Office.

EIT Health MACH Project Wins 2020 Horizon Impact Award

The Mobile Autonomy for Children in End stage Heart Failure project, MACH for short, has won the 2020 Horizon Impact Award. The project is a collaboration between Uniklinik RWTH Aachen, RWTH Aachen University, the Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, and Berlin Heart GmbH. The aim was to develop and bring to market a mobile driving unit for the EXCOR ventricular assist device, with which children awaiting a heart transplant can play or move around more freely while in hospital.



October 4 and 10, 2020

RWTH Anniversary Bicycle Tours

October 5 to 7, 2020

Aachener Kolloquium Fahrzeug- und Motorentechnik: „Aachen Colloquium Sustainable Mobility“

October 27 and 28, 2020

7th mobilEM Colloquium

October 28, 2020

Talk: „Graphen, das Wundermaterial Made in Europe“

November 11, 2020

Talk: „5G-Mobilfunktechnologie“

November 16 to 19, 2020

High Performance Mining Conference


This represents just a handful of events happening in the city. Take a look at more upcoming events organized by RWTH, the city of Aachen, and the aachen convention.


Publisher on behalf of the Rector: Staff Unit: Relationship Management
Editor: Dietrich Hunold
Responsibility assumed by: Marlen Gorin

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