Aachen Expertise Provides Support to China


An RWTH expert team has now commenced its work to support the development of a university in the industrial city of Foshan.


A thriving hub of production, the Foshan region is confronted with the challenge of complementing industrial growth and prosperity with an appropriate infrastructure to support innovation, excellent staff, and sustainable development.

This is to be achieved by establishing a university of technology that provides engineering and technology education and research on site. Against this backdrop, the City of Foshan has contacted the RWTH Laboratory for Machine Tools and Production Engineering WZL with an ambitious project in mind. Now the WZL will support the etsablishment of the new university by developing an implementation strategy.

  Two men looking at the camera © WZL at RWTH Aachen University Professor Robert Schmitt from the RWTH Laboratory for Machine Tools and Production Engineering meets the Party Secretary of the Shunde province, Guo Wenhai, in Foshan.

To develop a strategy that provides the best possible preparation for the large-scale project, initial discussions between the project partners will focus on organizational questions, in particular concerning the structure of the new university. Furthermore, there will be an intensive exchange of experience on how to develop the capacity for excellent, internationally visible research.

Professor Robert Schmitt, one of the four directors of the WZL, is a sought-after expert when it comes to the transfer of engineering education expertise to other countries. “We have long-standing experience and expertise in the field of higher education development. And that’s why we are well-prepared to take on this challenge, not least with a view to promoting the internationalization of our own university,“ explains Schmitt.

He adds, “An expert team of seven of our researchers, headed by senior engineer Max Ellerich, has joined forces with the RWTH Chair for Individualized Production in Architecture led by Professor Sigrid Brell-Cokcan, to support the City of Foshan in developing a strategic plan for the University. This plan will take Chinese cultural and economic factors into account but also, as a matter of course, standards and procedures in place at RWTH.

According to Schmitt, the German higher education system cannot simply be copied by other countries – several local factors must be taken into consideration when building a university: the people in the region and their level of education as well as local cultural and economic structures. “This has been demonstrated in previous projects,” says Schmitt. Among others, these include the RWTH-led transnational educational projects Step2Go and Step2Future, which have supported RWTH’s partner university GUtech, the German University of Technology in Oman, in matters surrounding quality management, engineering research and education, as well as higher education development.

The collaboration provide tangible benefits to both partners. Moreover, the ambitious project has the potential to strengthen relations between Germany and China at the academic, economic, and cultural levels.