November/December 2017, Issue 179


Alumni News

Issue No. 64 of "keep in touch" Now Online

Renzo Vitale is not only a doctor of engineering in acoustics. He previously studied electrical engineering and piano in his native country of Italy. Science and music were never two worlds for him. He always unified his fascination for sound from both perspectives. This enthusiasm for sound is now a part of Munich's profile, where he works as a sound designer for BMW, MINI, and Rolls-Royce. Enormous posters, advertising the Bayerischer Rundfunk Symphony Orchestra's new performance dates, and the new performance schedule program include a graphic from Vitale's dissertation written at the RWTH Aachen Institute for Technical Acoustics. He, himself, is the scientific curator of the new season and fellow of the Kompetenzzentrum Kultur- und Kreativwissenschaft des Bundes or the National Cutural and Creative Science Competence Center. In an interview with keep in touch the pianist, composer, and acoustic engineer discussed his current projects and described his fascination for the differing worlds of sound. The new issue of the alumni magazine is available to read online now.


Alumni Spotlight

Four RWTH Researchers Among the Most Widely Cited Scholars Worldwide

The list of Highly Cited Researchers 2017 documents which scholars are most often cited in their disciplines. Citations serve as an idicator of the importance of a publication and the quality of the work. RWTH professors Joos van Dongen, Magnus Rueping, Karl Zilles and Björn Usadel have made it into the ranking. Rueping, Zilles and Usadel have already been included in the list of the most influential researchers in the past; this is the first time for biologist von Dongen. A total of 3,400 researchers in 21 scientific disciplines are ranked.

NRW Minister of Science Makes Inaugural Visit to University

"RWTH Aachen University is a University of Excellence in North Rhine-Westphalia, and the Federal State is obviously proud of its recent successes and achievements in research and teaching," declared Isabel Pfeiffer-Poensgen, NRW Minister of Culture and Science during her official inaugural visit to RWTH Aachen. The Aachen native had a discussion with the Rectorate about the progress made at German universities, in NRW as well as nationwide. She congratulated RWTH on the first results achieved in the new excellence strategy in the areas of research and teaching as well as on its progress with the RWTH Aachen Campus Project. "North Rhine-Westphalian universities are well positioned to succeed in the Excellence Strategy; the first decision shows how strong this location for conducting research is. RWTH Aachen is one of the flagship universities of the Federal State and it is pursuing a target-oriented strategy in order to remain in this position in the future. We will certainly support RWTH Aachen in this endeavor," said Pfeiffer-Poensgen.

RWTH Honors President of Tsinghua University

During a celebration of the 10-year anniversary of the RWTH liaison office in Beijin, RWTH awarded the title Honorary Fellow to Professor Qiu Yong, president of Tsinghua University, for the first time. In his laudatory speech, RWTH Rector Ernst Schmachtenberg highlighted Professor Qiu’s achievements in science and his contributions to society. "We wanted to honor his service with a special honor," said Schmachtenberg. The Rector’s Office awards the title of Honorary Fellow in order to strengthen the University’s ties with outstanding international scientists. Professor Qiu is the first to be awarded this recognition. The German ambassador to the People’s Republic of China, Michael Clauss, expressed his appreciation of the strong and productive relationships between China and Germany.

2017 Friedrich Wilhelm Awards

RWTH Aachen honored 24 students, doctoral candidates, and post-docs with the 2017 Friedrich Wilhem Prize. The honor is annually awarded to RWTH Aachen students and researchers for their outstanding achievements. The award ceremony took place during a celebration event at the University. Sven Aretz, Philipp Baranski, Helen Bartsch, Stephan Düber, Philipp Keuter, Anja Leckel, Patrick Schultheis and Niklas Wehbring were honored for their Master's theses. They received prize money of 500 euros each. Othman Al-Sawaf, David Bendig, Martin Claßen, Rebecca Veronika Engel, Katrin Helmbold, Andreas Georg Hofmann, Lydia Kogler, Kilian Karl Hermann Neubert, Veit Christian Nottebaum, Mehmet Öte, Lutz Helmut Pauli, Elena Pummer, Martin Senst and Thiemo Zambanini were honored for their outstanding doctoral dissertations. They received prize money of 1,000 euros each. Pascal Buskens and Georg Lurje received 2,000 euros in prize money for their excellent habilitation theses.

Four RWTH Graduates Receive Otto Junker Award

RWTH graduates Tim Haas, Michael Laumen, Sebastian Nagel, and Maximilian Schleupen have been honored with the 2017 Otto Junker Award for their oustanding academic performance. The Otto Junker Award is conferred annually to students in the Faculty of Georesources and Materials Engineering – Division of Materials Science and Engineering – and in the Faculty of Electrical Engineering and Information Technology. The Otto Junker Foundation was founded in 1970 by Dr.-Ing. h.c. Otto Junker. As a graduate of RWTH Aachen, he felt closely related to the university and valued scientific exchange. The central purpose of the foundation is to support talented researchers and numerous individual projects.

Engineering Emmy Award for HEVC Standard

The Academy of Television Arts and Sciences has honored the Joint Collaborative Team on Video Coding, JCT-VC, for developing the new High Efficiency Video Coding Standard, HEVC. As one of the two chairs of the team, Professor Jens-Rainer Ohm from the RWTH Institute for Communications Engineering has significantly contributed to the development of the new standard. The award was presented at a ceremony on October 25 in Los Angeles and accepted on behalf of the team by co-chairs Gary J. Sullivan from Microsoft and Jens-Rainer Ohm from RWTH Aachen University, together with Chaesub Lee, ITU-T, and Karen Higginbottom, ISO/IEC.

Vodafone Award for RWTH Alumnus

RWTH researcher Gholamreza Alirezaei from the RWTH Institute for Theoretical Information Technology has received the 2017 Vodafone Sponsorship Award, worth 5000 euros, for his work in the optimization of sensor networks. Dr. Gholamreza Alirezaei succeeded in modelling biological processes with the help of large-scale sensor networks. He was influenced by the exchange of information between cells and the brain and views cells as sensors, the brain as an information center, and the nerve pathways as communication paths.

"Green Talent" at Chair of Landscape Architecture

Dr. Attila Tóth, Slovak University of Agriculture in Nitra, Slovakia, recently visited the Chair of Landscape Architecture, after being selected as a "green talent" by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research. Professor Frank Lohrberg and Dr. Attila Tóth signed a partnership agreement for a research stay, during which Tóth will investigate the implementation of the international concept "Green Infrastructure" in municipalities' plans in North Rhine-Westphalia and Bavaria in collaboration with TU Munich. A German expert jury has annually awarded the Green Talents since 2009 and invites recipients to visit top institutions in sustainability research in Germany. A further component of the award is the possibility to conduct a one- to three-month research stay at a German university of the recipient's choice.


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 .

The following job openings are currently posted:

  • Architckt/Civil Engineer/Industrial Engineer at kwbau GmbH
  • M.Sc./Dipl.-Ing. Metallurgy at Fels Vertriebs und Service GmbH&Co.KG
  • Innovation Engineering at Vaillant GmbH
  • Architect at ingenhoven architects

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 course of study, you receive a 10 percent discount, and for certificate courses and seminars at 15 percent discount. You can book your course with the discount by using your RWTH email address on the RWTH Weiterbildungsplattform. This discount cannot be combined with other offers from RWTH International Academy.

Opportunities and Challenges of Industry 4.0

Digitalization can hardly be ignored in today's work environment. It is increasingly establishing itself in industrial production processes and is unearthing completely new potential. But what does this advancing digitalizing mean for the work world? What do the companies of tomorrow look like and what effects does Industry 4.0 have on the value added chain? RWTH International Academy is focusing on these and many other topics in its 2018 continuing education portfolio. Tailored to the different career stages of engineers in mechanical and electrical engineering, RWTH International Academy will offer a broad portfolio of comprehensive courses and advanced modules on concrete topics of focus:

The following extra-occupational continuing education opportunities are open to decision makers and managers:

Further information and registration: RWTH International Academy, , phone: +49 241 80 23682.

WZLforum Continuing Education Events


Science & Business

First RWTH Research Alumni Conference in Japan

In October 2017, RWTH hosted its first conference for alumni who are currently working and living in Japan. Supported by the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, the interdisciplinary conference was concerned with the “Fine Line Between Humans and Machines.” Topics under discussion included, for example, the design and development of interfaces between humans and machines to facilitate communication.

RWTH Aachen Conference on Rail Transport a Big Success

The 1st International Railway Symposium Aachen took place recently at RWTH Aachen University. It was hosted by the Research Center Railways, or RCR for short. The RCR was established earlier this year by professors Rik W. De Doncker from the Institute for Power Electronics and Electrical Drives, Nils Nießen from the Institute of Transport Science and Christian Schindler from the Institute of Rail Vehicles and Transport Systems. At the focus of the 1st International Railway Symposium in Aachen were topics from digitalization to noise reduction.

PEGASUS Research Project – How can we ensure automated driving effectively?

At the midterm event of the BMWi-funded project at the Institute for Automotive Engineering in Aachen, 17 project partners in the PEGASUS research project presented the interim results of their comprehensive research work. The goal of the project is to define new criteria and standards for approving highly-automated driving functions, to then define generally accepted methods and tools for ensuring such functions, and to then implement them using a autobahn chaufeur (automatization level 3) as an example.

Medical Information Technology Initiative

The Federal Ministry of Eudcation and Research has approved funding for the large project "Smart Medical Information Technology for Healthcare," SMITH. The project will get new IT solutions off the ground to improve the link between data from patient care and medical research. On November 16, 2017, Thomas Rachel, parliamentary state secretary at the BMBF, presented the three funding grants for the project totally approximately 12 million euros.

Corals Indicate Warming Pattern

"Over the course of the 20th century, the western Indian Ocean has warmed faster than any of the other tropical oceans. This immensely contributes to the global rise of the sea temperature," says Dr. Miriam Pfeiffer from the RWTH Aachen Institute of Geology. In her work she focuses on man-induced global warming of the 20th century. "However the temporal pattern of this warming is not well documented. It depends a great deal on the respective historical temperature reconstruction," explains the scientist. For ten years the 45-year-old has researched tropical corals to learn about climate change. She has published her most recent research results in Scientific Reports.

Financial Support for Bilateral Technology Transfer Experiments (TTX)

TETRAMAX is a new European project that provides access to latest technology and services in the area of customized low-energy computing for cyber-physical systems and the Internet of Things. Investing in this domain will have impact on production efficiency, performance and energy savings. Therefore, TETRAMAX offers funding to SMEs and academics to experiment with new digitization technologies while minimizing the financial risk of a new investment. Financial support is awarded for bilateral technology transfer experiments (TTX) between SMEs and academics. The symbiosis of SMEs and academics results in creating cutting-edge technology to create added value for the company.

The TETRAMAX coordinator, Prof. Rainer Leupers, Institute for Communication Technologies and Embedded Systems at RWTH Aachen University, is pleased to announce the 1st open call for TTX. Read out the call details and submit your innovative TTX proposal by February 28, 2018!



RWTH Receives Award for Excellent Teaching

RWTH Aachen University received the Genius Loci Prize for Excellence in teaching, a newly established award from Stifterverband, the Donors' Association for the Promotion of the Humanities and Sciences in Germany. RWTH was selected from a pool of three nominated universities. According to the jury, RWTH has a comprehensive institutional teaching strategy in place, which is being successfully implemented in the curricular design of courses of study and the qualification of teachers.

10-Year-Anniversary of Liaison Office in Beijing

In 2007, RWTH Aachen University opened its liaison office in Beijing, China, which provides advisory services for Chinese students who are interested in studying at RWTH. Today, about 1,600 students from China are enrolled at the University, making up the largest group of international students at RWTH. Furthermore, the liaison office seeks to promote the partnerships between RWTH and selected Chinese universities, focusing on Tsinghua University in particular, which is one of the most renowned research and educational institutions in China. In October, RWTH celebrated the ten-year anniversary of the liaison office at the German Embassy in Beijing with over 100 guests.

RWTH Again Received "TOTAL E-QUALITY" Award

For the fifth time now, RWTH Aachen University has received the TOTAL E-QUALITY award. The award is valid for a period of three years. Institutions have the opportunity to reapply for the award; in the process, they must provide evidence that they are making further progress towards achieving equal opportunities. RWTH won the award for the first time in 2005. Currently, it is one of 64 institutions recognized for their successful equal opportunities initiatives.



January 17, 2018 Terrorism from a Forensic-Psychiatric Perspective
January 18 and 21, 2018 Conference: Aachen Student Orchestra
January 20, 2018 Einstein's Music Box

This is just a small selection of events. Further events in September as well as in the subsequent months can be found on the webpages of RWTH Aachen, of the city of Aachen (de) and at Aachen Congress (de).


The Alumni Newsletter Editorial Team thanks all its readers for their attention and loyalty. The Alumni Team wishes all RWTH alumni happy holidays and a successful and peaceful 2018!
Fröhliche Weihnachten und ein Frohes Neues Jahr! - Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! - Joyeux Noel et Bonne Année! - Vrolijk Kerstfest en Gelukkig Nieuwjaar! – Feliz Navidad y Próspero Ano Nuevo


Publisher on behalf of the Rector: Staff Unit: Fundraising and Alumni
Editor: Dietrich Hunold
Responsibility assumed by: Angela Poth
Published monthly

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