RWTH Professors Honored for their Dedication to Supporting Startups and Entrepreneurship


On September 9, 2023, Federal Minister Bettina Stark-Watzinger presented RWTH professors Malte Brettel and Antonello Monti with the prestigious UNIPRENEURS award.


Spin-off companies, startup ventures, aspiring founders: RWTH has a tradition of entrepreneurial talent development and is committed to providing the best possible support for its up-and coming entrepreneurs. Professor Malte Brettel and Professor Antonello Monti have now been honored with the prestigious UNIPRENEURS award for their commitment in this area. Together with Dr. Anna Christmann, the Federal Commissioner for the Digital Economy and Startups, Federal Minister of Education and Research Bettina Stark-Watzinger presented the awards at a ceremony in Berlin.

Professor Antonello Monti established his first startup in Italy in 1994. According to the jury's statement, he subsequently founded and supported startups in both the U.S. and Germany. “Translating research into reality is always very satisfying,” said Monti, holder of the Chair of Automation of Complex Power Systems. “And now we are delighted that our commitment is recognized.”

Malte Brettel, head of the Chair of Economics for Engineers and Natural Scientists at RWTH, certainly agrees with Monti: “I am very happy that the commitment and dedication of so many professors is now honored with the UNIPRENEURS award”. According to the jury, Brettel’s department supported more than 70 members of staff and doctoral candidates in launching their companies.

Out of the 700 nominated individuals, 20 personalities were selected to receive the award. Stark-Watzinger expressed her delight with the initiative: “We want to promote startup activities at our universities. Professors play a central role in this endeavor. They make a significant contribution to the startup culture at universities and thus are important drivers of Germany's innovative capacity and future competitiveness.”

Dr. Anna Christmann, Commissioner for the Digital Economy and Startups at the German Federal Ministry of Economics and Climate Protection, also praised the achievements of the awardees: “The professors honored with the UNIPRENEURS award embody the fruitful combination of academic excellence and entrepreneurial spirit. Their services to the transfer of innovative technology to industry are invaluable for Germany as a hub of innovation and deserve the highest recognition possible.”

The award is presented in collaboration with partner organizations such as the Donors' Association for the Promotion of Sciences and Humanities in Germany and the German Startup Association.