April to June 2021, Issue 193


Dear Alumni,

The third coronavirus-affected semester is drawing to a close but teaching and research at RWTH are in full swing, defying the pandemic. Numerous new research projects and developments have been presented to the public in the past weeks, focusing on topics such as digitalization and sustainability.

Obviously our offerings for alumni were affected by the recent developments. Even if face-to-face encounters are always the best way for the University and its alumni to stay in touch, we made the experience digital channels have their benefits, especially when it comes to international networking.

We expect to gain valuable insights for RWTH’s future alumni activities on our digital Alumni Day in the fall. On Saturday, October 9, 2021, RWTH Rector Ulrich Rüdiger and the Rector's Delegate for Alumni Activities, Professor Bernd Markert, will open the Alumni Day, livestreamed on our website, introducing some special guests - as far as the pandemic development allows this. We will keep you updated and provide you with further details through our alumni channels.

All the best from Aachen – we hope you enjoy the rest of your summer!

The RWTH Alumni Team


Alumni News

Online Alumni Meeting: North America

Since 2006, annual alumni meetings have been held in major cities on the North American continent. Now, hosted by the alumni team, the latest meeting was held virtually via videoconferencing – with the aim of meeting old friends, establishing new contacts and, not least, learning about new developments at RWTH.

Fortunately, Rector Ulrich Rüdiger agreed to personally report on the latest news for the occasion of this event. The alumni were provided with the latest facts and figures" on student numbers, budgets, the Faculties, the Profile Areas, worldwide university partnerships, as well as the Excellence Strategy competition and the university anniversary. The alumni also had the opportunity to discuss various topics and exchange ideas about future alumni activities with Professor Rüdiger.

Agility – A Factor of Success

What should I do after completing my studies at RWTH? What options are available and which one is right for me? RWTH alumnus Harald Krüger, former Chairman of the Board of Management of BMW AG and current member of the Supervisory Board of Deutsche Telekom AG, Deutsche Lufthansa AG, and the EMEA Advisory Board of Salesforce, recently met up online with doctoral candidates in engineering to share his experiences.

After a welcome by Professor Thomas Bergs, spokesperson for RWTH’s Production Engineering Profile Area, and a brief talk by Rector Rüdiger entitled "Agility as a Success Factor," Krüger focused on three topics in his presentation: Entrepreneurship, internationalization and leadership in the digital age.

The organizers also used the event as a test: is it possible to have a lively exchange with more than one hundred participants in an online setting? The result was very positive: "The participating doctoral candidates provided ample constructive feedback when we asked them. Everyone was excited about the opportunity to tap into the wealth of experience of such a high-profile alumnus," said Professor Thomas Bergs and Dr. Sebastian Barth from the Production Engineering Profile Area.

Reminder: Alumni Meeting on Kish Island

RWTH alumnus Dipl. Geol. Ahmad Hadjisalimi would like to host an alumni reunion on Tehran University’s campus on Kish Island, Iran, in the fall of 2021. The meeting’s focus will be a cultural dialogue guided by the motto “Getting to know Rumi in his home country plus yoga and much more.”

The coral island of Kish is a popular vacation destination, where the people are hospitable, the accommodation comfortable, and the food, of course, typically Persian, also including vegan options.

For further information, please contact Ahmad Hadjisalimi via or WhatsApp at 00989121502686.

To preregister, please follow the link to the event website.

Thesis Survey by Graduate Student – Call for Support

As part of her Master's thesis in Psychology, RWTH graduate student Jennifer Klütsch is exploring the impact of the programming and design of websites on users’ first impressions and user behavior. The task for survey respondents is to visit and provide feedback to various recipe websites. The survey is anonymous, and provision of personal information is voluntary. The survey takes about 15 to 20 minutes to complete.

If you have any questions or encounter technical problems, please email .


Alumni Spotlight

ERC Advanced Grant for Research on Early-Life Infections

The physician and RWTH researcher Professor Mathias Hornef, Director of the Department of Medical Microbiology at Uniklinik RWTH Aachen, has been awarded an Advanced Grant des European Research Council (ERC), worth 2.5 million euros, for a funding period of five years. The funds of the award will largely be used to research the role of intestinal infections in early childhood and to identify mechanisms of disease susceptibility in later life through differentiation and functional changes in the intestinal epithelium.

RWTH Professor Franziska Schoenebeck Receives 2020 Klung Wilhelmy Science Award in Chemistry

RWTH Professor Franziska Schoenebeck receives the 2020 Klung Wilhelmy Science Award in Chemistry. This prize is presented under the patronage of the German Minister of Education and Research, Anja Karliczek, and is among the most prestigious scientific awards in Germany. Every year, alternating between chemistry and physics, the award honors outstanding young German scientists in these particular fields. Schoenebeck studied chemistry in Berlin and Glasgow. After receiving her doctorate at the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow, she worked at the University of California and ETH Zurich. In 2013, she came to RWTH thanks to the federal state of North Rhine-Westphalia’s Returning Scholars Program. Since 2016, Schoenebeck has held the Chair of Organic Chemistry I at RWTH.

Professor Lutz Eckstein Appointed to the Board of Academic Advisors of the German Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure

Professor Lutz Eckstein, head of RWTH’s Institute of Automotive Engineering (ika), has been appointed to the Board of Academic Advisers of the German Ministry of Transport and Digital Infrastructure. Eckstein will support the activities of the Ministry from September 1, initially for a period of six years. The Board of Academic Advisers to the Federal Minister of Transport and Digital Infrastructure was established as a panel of independent experts as early as 1949 in order to advise the then Federal Minister of Transport and to contribute to making scientific findings available for application in the area of transportation.

Professor Christian Brecher Appointed to the North Rhine-Westphalian Academy of Sciences, Humanities and the Arts

The members of the Academy promote the exchange of scientific ideas with research and cultural institutions in Germany and abroad. Admitted to the Academy are outstanding researchers, scholars, and creative artists. Professor Brecher has been accepted to the Class of Engineering and Economics. Christian Brecher studied mechanical engineering at RWTH and completed his doctorate at the Laboratory for Machine Tools and Production Engineering (WZL). After working as a scientific consultant in the aviation industry, he became head of machine development at DS Technologie Werkzeugmaschinenbau GmbH in 2001. In 2004, he was appointed as professor of machine tools at RWTH Aachen University and became a member of the managing board of the WZL. Brecher is also member of the board of directors of the Fraunhofer Institute for Production Technology.

Professor Dirk Uwe Sauer Inducted Into the Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Sciences and Humanities

The Berlin-Brandenburg Academy of Sciences and Humanities sees itself as a learned society with a three hundred year old tradition of uniting outstanding scholars and scientists across national and disciplinary boundaries. Among others, 80 Nobel Prize winners have shaped the history of the institution. Sauer has been accepted into the Academy's Class of Technological Sciences. Sauer is holder of the Chair of Electrochemical Energy Conversion and Storage Systems at RWTH Aachen University. He studied physics at TU Darmstadt and earned his doctorate from the University of Ulm. He was appointed at RWTH in 2003, initially as a junior professor. His department is part of the Institute for Power Electronics and Electrical Drives (isea), the Institute for Power Generation and Storage Systems (PGS), and the HIMS Helmholtz Institute jointly operated by Forschungszentrum Jülich and the University of Münster.

Otto Kienzle Prize for RWTH Researcher

Alexander Gramlich, from the Institute of Mineral Metallurgy at RWTH Aachen University, has been awarded the Otto Kienzle Prize for his extensive research work on the "Modification of the Cyclic Material Behavior of an Air-Hardened, Martensitic Forged Steel With Medium Manganese Content by Optimizing the Alloy Composition (LHD forged steel 2)”. The prize, worth 2,500 euros, was awarded at the annual conference of the Industrieverband Massivumformung e.V. and honors outstanding practical results of a research project in massive forming. It is awarded to researchers who make a significant contribution to increasing the competitiveness of the industry thanks to their commitment and practical presentation of their findings. Alexander Gramlich studied materials engineering at RWTH and completed a research stay at Oxford University in the UK during his studies. Since 2017 he has been a doctoral candidate at the Chair and Institute of Mineral Engineering at RWTH.


Continued Education & Career

RWTH Alumni Job Portal Online

Companies have the opportunity to post job openings for management positions or employees with experience on our Stellenportal RWTH Alumni. This platform is also specifically oriented towards alumni, as RWTH graduates, particularly those with experience, are greatly sought after in science, business, and industry. You can find interesting offers here. If you would like to publish a job posting, please send an email to alumni@rwth-aachen.de.

The following job openings are currently posted:

  • IT Business Analyst, Full Stack Developer (REWE Systems GmbH)
  • Java Developer (DSA Daten- und Systemtechnik GmbH)
  • Software Engineer (itestra GmbH)
  • IT Architect (Platinion GmbH/BCG Platinion)

International Academy Offers: Reduced Participation Fees for Members of the RWTH Alumni Network

As a member of the RWTH Alumni Network you receive a discount for continuing education courses at RWTH International Academy. When booking a certificate course, seminar, or full-time degree programs, you receive a 5 percent discount, for part-time programs, you receive a 10 percent discount. You can book your course or degree program on the website of the International Academy.

Full-Time MBA at RWTH

Do you want to manage the digital transformation of your company and are ready for the next step in your career? Our Full-Time MBA in Digitalization & Industrial Change is designed to provide future leaders with the skills required to succeed in a digitalized economy. You'll learn how digital technologies are deployed in modern industries and gain personal and interpersonal skills to lead digital projects and promote solution-oriented approaches among your team. You can apply until August 31, 2021 for admission to the upcoming winter semester.

Executive MBA Technology Management

Your knowledge and experience have already taken you far – with the Executive MBA from RWTH, you can boost your career even further! Intensive modules on management and leadership provide a toolbox for making sound decisions and deriving useful recommendations for action. The focus of the program is on the opportunities presented by new technologies, digital transformation, and connectivity.

Next intake is October 2021, applications are accepted on an ongoing basis. You are also welcome to send your CV for a non-binding assessment whether you will be suited for taking this course to .

AI ENABLER: Understanding, Developing, Implementing Artificial Intelligence Technology

Have you already been discussing artificial intelligence, or AI for short, and the opportunities it presents for your organization for quite some time? Do you now want to walk the talk and leverage the potential offered by AI? Then our AI Enabler program is the right choice for you, teaching AI technologies and their management coupled with hands-on project activities. In our intensive, application oriented program, you will learn to advance the topic of AI with a view to technological fundamentals, concrete prototypical projects, and organizational requirements in your own organization. The program will starts on September 1, 2021; the application deadline is July 31.

WZLforum Continuing Education Offerings


Science & Business

RWTH Hosted a Science Evening in Berlin

Universities all over the world endeavor to constantly face new challenges. But is the historically evolved higher education system so well positioned that it can meet this demand in the short time required? And what does society expect from universities in this regard? This initial situation motivated RWTH to invite guests to the hybrid science evening at the Permanent Representation of the German State of North Rhine-Westphalia in Berlin under the title The New Fiction of a Good Science – in Need of a Paradigm Shift?! The Science Evening was initially planned as a kick-off event to mark the start of RWTH’s 150th anniversary celebrations in 2020, but the pandemic meant the University had to cancel the event. Nevertheless, RWTH stood by its intention to initiate a discussion on the central issues of good science.

CO2 Technology Among the Top Three Inventions

Covestro's CO2 technology continues to write its success story. The European Patent Office (EPO) has announced the nomination of the two German chemists, Dr. Christoph Gürtler (Covestro AG) and Professor Walter Leitner (Max Planck Institute for Chemical Energy Conversion and RWTH Aachen University), as finalists in the "Industry" category of the 2021 European Inventor Award for their role in developing a new technology for using carbon dioxide (CO2). This technology enables the harmful climate gas CO2 to be used as a valuable raw material for sustainable plastics. Their process deploys chemical catalysts to drive reactions between CO2 and a conventional raw material. This process creates so-called polymers in a more sustainable and economically viable way. CO2 is firmly incorporated in the process.

UNICARagil – First Prototype Rollout

After 3 years of intensive work, the first prototype is ready. At the rollout on Tuesday, 27 April 2021, the first UNICARagil self-driving vehicle was allowed to leave the ika workshop. In recent weeks, the driving platform has been combined with a corresponding superstructure module and the electrical on-board network and drives have been integrated. The prototype is now available for testing autonomous driving functions. Three more vehicles for other applications will follow soon. This is a crucial milestone in the UNICARagil project.

30th Aachen Machine Tool Colloquium: Securing Future Competitiveness Through Sustainable and Resilient Production

Industrial production today is only about one thing: productivity. Until now, the values behind this term have prevented to achieve zero-emission and sustainable production, even though it would already be technologically and economically feasible. However, changing requirements of the capital market, involving a shift from a mere financial orientation to a holistic view of sustainability, encourage German companies to rethink the concept of productivity. RWTH's Laboratory for Machine Tools and Production Engineering (WZL) and the Fraunhofer Institute for Production Technology IPT will discuss the question of how the Internet of Production (IoP) can support this process and contribute to making companies crisis-proof at the 30th Aachen Machine Tool Colloquium (AWK) on September 22 and 23, 2021, at Eurogress Aachen. Please note that part of the event will take place virtually.

All registered RWTH alumni who register for the event until July 31 will a receive a 20 percent discount on the conference fee. To receive the discount code, please get in touch with the alumni team or the RWTH's Marketing Staff Unit at .

RWTH Partners in EU Project on Sustainable Mining

The Institute for Advanced Mining Technologies (AMT) headed by Professor Elisabeth Clausen collaborates in the EU-sponsored NEXGEN SIMS project for carbon neutral sustainable mining. A key goal of NEXGEN SIMS is to develop autonomous carbon neutral mining processes. This includes the use of battery-electric mining equipment, full utilization of 5G for optimal connectivity and positioning, autonomous material handling, AI powered traffic and fleet control, and collaboration among machines. The project is also focusing on the mine worker of the future – ‘the modern miner’ – and safety, for example by developing autonomous mine inspection technology.

E.ON und RWTH Renew Partnership Agreement

E.ON will continue its successful collaboration with RWTH Aachen University and has extended the existing partnership agreement by another five years. A contract to this effect was signed on June 23 by E.ON Board Member Dr. Karsten Wildberger and the Rector of RWTH Aachen University, Professor Ulrich Rüdiger. Over the next five years, E.ON will fund joint research projects with a total of ten million euros. In addition, wit will use up to half a million euros annually to finance charitable projects.

Käte Hamburger International Center to Be Established at RWTH

The German Federal Ministry of Education and Research, BMBF for short, has decided to establish the Cultures of Research Käte Hamburger International Center at RWTH Aachen University. The Center, which will be headed by Professor Gabriele Gramelsberger, Chair for Theory of Science and Technology, and Professor Stefan Böschen, Chair of Society and Technology, is set to receive nine million euros in funding from the BMBF. A key research question is how research is being transformed through its increasing focus on the major societal challenges of our time, such as climate change, the energy transition, biologization, and sustainability, which results in an orientation towards complex systems research. It is the first Käte Hamburger International Center to be set up at a university of technology.

Success for RWTH Start-Up at Business Competition

A team from RWTH’s Institute für Textiltechnik (ITA) took 3rd place in the Rice University Business Plan Competition in Texas, the largest and ‘richest’ competition of its kind in the world. More than 440 student-led start-ups from around the world applied to compete in the 2021 edition of the copetition. Aachen’s FibreCoat team made it to the final round and was invited to present its business model in front of a jury of venture-capital and investor judges. In their pitch, the team succeeded in convincing the jury of their business venture and were awarded third prize, which comes with a prize money of 50,000 US dollars. At the RBPC, the start-up company from Aachen also received the TiE Houston Angel Group Investment Prize worth 100,000 US dollars and the Best Hard Tech Elevator Pitch award from the Mercury Fund, worth 500 US dollars.

First Startup Competition for European Universities

28 European universities are currently competing in Stage Two. This first startup competition for European universities is run by RWTH and HHL Leipzig Graduate School of Management. In this first edition of the competition, the startups will present innovative solutions guided by the motto For Our Beyond. They will receive direct feedback on their business idea from venture capitalists and potential pilot customers from industry and trade. From the 56 finalists – two startups per university – a jury made up of professors from the participating universities and representatives from investor groups and industry will select the winners.

RWTH Named Best University Nationally for Industrial Engineering

With its latest university ranking, the WirtschaftsWoche magazine once again confirmed RWTH’s excellent reputation among companies.With respect to engineering there is a clear consensus among HR managers: Applicants from RWTH are considered to be particularly qualified. RWTH's industrial engineering degree program was ranked first place. Every third HR manager said to favor RWTH graduates when recruiting new industrial engineering talent for their company. Coming in second place, RWTH’s programs in electrical engineering, mechanical engineering, and natural sciences also finished exceptionally well. In computer science, RWTH took a strong third place.

RWTH Among Top Universities for Biology, Chemistry, and Computer Science According to CHE Ranking

The Centre for Higher Education Development (CHE) ranking for the subjects of Biology, Chemistry, Mathematics, Physics, Computer Science, Geography, Earth Sciences, Political Science, Medicine, and Dentistry has just been published in the DIE ZEIT Student Guide. The basis of the rankings is a student survey on study conditions, university facilities, and teaching staff. The students rate their university from “1 - very good” to “6 - very poor,” and the ratings are then combined into various indicators. For each indicator, the universities are sorted into top, middle, and bottom groups. RWTH is in the top group for biology, chemistry, and computer science for all published criteria in the current ranking.



July 10 to August 15, 2021

Archimedischer Sandkasten

July 17, 2021


September 4 to 5, 2021

Graduation Celebration 2021

September 23 to 24, 2021

35th Aachen Steel Colloquium

Save the Date:
October 9, 2021 to February 22, 2022

Digital Alumni Day

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


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

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