And the winner is…

Future Lab_Preis_wesentlich

People who do a lot of research and make remarkable advances deserve to win prizes – and, in our opinion, everyone should hear about it!


RWTH Professor Gabriele Gramelsberger admitted to the NRW Academy

17. May 2019: The North Rhine-Westphalian Academy of Sciences, Humanities, and the Arts has recently admitted twelve new members, including RWTH Professor Gabriele Gramelsberger, holder of the Chair of Theory of Science and Technology at the RWTH Aachen University. She is also a member of the RWTH’s Human Technology Center and Vice-Dean for Research at the Faculty of Arts and Humanities.
The NRW Academy is an association of leading researchers in the State of North Rhine-Westphalia, founded in 1970 as the successor institution to the Association for Research of North Rhine-Westphalian Research Working Group. The Academy is divided into scientific classes for the humanities, sciences and medicine, engineering and economics, and a class for the arts. The Academy currently has around 230 full members and 140 corresponding members.

RWTH Aachen awards Teaching Prize in the categories “Project of the Year” and “Instructor of the Year”

15.05.2019: With the award of a prize in two categories, the RWTH Aachen has acknowledged outstanding achievements in the field of teaching and learning. Christina Büsing, Junior Professor of Robust Planning, receives recognition in the form of the title “Instructor of the Year” for her modern teaching concept, innovative use of technical media, and intensive mentoring of students. In practical projects, the mathematician encourages her students to develop new and creative ideas of their own. Discussions and final presentations also give the students opportunity to acquire relevant soft skills for their future careers.
The winner in the category “Project of the Year 2018” was the project “Applied Product Development in Process Engineering”. Under the supervision of Professor Matthias Wessling, holder of the Chair of Chemical Process Engineering and Vice-Rector for Research and Structure, Dana Kaubitzsch, Daniel Bell und Ilka Rose developed module that offers Master students the opportunity to gather experience in industry. Real-life tasks and intensive contact with in-company partners enable the students to apply in practice what they have learnt in theory in the field of product development and project management.

RWTH Professor Hermann Ney honoured for his life’s work

14.05.2019: Professor Hermann Ney, incumbent since 1933 of the Chair of Human Language Technology and Pattern Recognition at the RWTH Aachen University, has been honoured with the James L. Flanagan Speech and Audio Processing Award 2019. Professor Ney is renowned for his work on statistical methods of pattern recognition and human language technology as well as their specific applications in speech recognition, machine translation and image object recognition. He has published more than 700 conference papers and journal articles and is one of the most cited scientists in the field of machine translation. Over fifty of his former students have made names for themselves as product development drivers for market leaders like Amazon, Apple, AppTek, eBay and Nuance. Since 2002, the award has been presented annually to an individual who has made an outstanding contribution to the advancement of speech and/or audio signal processing. Only two other Europeans have so far received this award, with which Professor Ney is now a member of an elite circle of scientists from the world’s leading research establishments.

NRW Innovation Award goes to ITA Post-Doc Valentine Gesché

13. May 2019: NRW’s Minister of Economic Affairs, Andreas Pinkwart, has presented the NRW Innovation Award in the “Young Talent” category to engineer Dr Valentine Gesché from the RWTH’s Institut für Textiltechnik (ITA). The award, which is endowed with 50,000 euros, is in recognition of her development and research of patient-customised implants.
As head of the Exist research transfer project “PerAGraft”, Dr Gesché and her team are currently working towards getting their developed platform technology ready for the market. Specifically, the first patients to benefit from the technology will be those with a complex aortic aneurysm who are suffering from an increasing, pathological and permanent aneurysm of the aorta. They will be saved from the lethal threat of a rupture of the aorta by means of an individually customised implant. The innovative process will reduce the current lead time for a tailor-made implant – up to eight weeks – to less than a single week.

Innovation Award of the RWTH Aachen University

08.05.2019: This year’s Innovation Award of the RWTH Aachen has been presented to three university projects: on hearing aids, on damping systems for buildings; and on battery efficiency. First place went to Stefan Liebich, Johannes Fabry, Professor Peter Jax and Professor Peter Vary from the Institute of Communication Systems. When people wear hearing aids or headsets, their perception of their own voices is distorted and inner sounds are amplified. The team’s solution to this problem is to actively emit compensation signals by means of an integrated loudspeaker. Their binaural headset features two additional microphones on each side, an inner and an outer one, which capture data for the calculation of the compensation signals. Correctly balanced processing of the two microphone signals leads to a “digital opening of the ear” and a natural perception of the wearer’s own voice and ambient sounds.

Second place was awarded to Dr.-Ing. Okyay Altay, Senior Engineer at the Chair of Structural Analysis and Dynamics, for his “Omnidirectional Liquid Damper”. The damping systems of modern buildings are often insufficient to protect them from the dangers of structural vibrations. Such vibrations can be avoided by installing damping systems that absorb the vibrational energy. Altay’s omnidirectional liquid damper is a novel damping system for buildings that, in contrast to conventional systems, works in all horizontal directions and thus achieves a significantly greater degree of efficiency.

The winners of the third place were Francesco Maltoni, Sarah Fluchs and Christoph Lienemann from the Chair of Production Engineering of E-Mobility Components for their project “BatteReMan”. The team’s goal: to refine a suitable remanufacturing concept with which resource efficiency in lithium-ion battery production can be sustainably increased, through all stages of the life cycle. When a traction battery’s state of health falls to 80 percent of its capacity, it is no longer considered adequate for use in a vehicle. But the individual cells of a battery age at different rates, so even when this overall threshold is reached, 70 to 90 percent of the cells are actually still deployable. Maltoni and his colleagues have developed processes for recovering these still viable cells and reusing them in new batteries – without compromising their efficiency.

RWTH Aachen awards the Brigitte Gilles Prize

03.05.2019: The RWTH Aachen has awarded the Brigitte-Gilles-Prize 2018 to the project “CAMMP” (Computational and Mathematical Modeling Program): Encouraging Pupils With Education Labs for Mathematical Modeling, and to the “Aachen Forum for Female Doctoral Candidates”.
The CAMMP project has been up and running since 2011. Its objective: to promote and increase interest among female pupils for STEM courses of study. In so-called “CAMMP days” AND “CAMMP weeks”, female pupils from mid- and upper-school classes explore gender issues relating to daily life, industry and research, and use mathematical modelling and computers to seek solutions. They are mentored in this endeavour by female students, doctoral candidates and research scientists.
In operation since 2005, the interdisciplinary Aachen Forum for Female Doctoral Candidates aims to increase the proportion of doctorates successfully completed by women at the RWTH by improving the living and research conditions of female postgrad students. This self-organised network is the only initiative of its kind offering university-wide support at the RWTH specifically to female doctoral candidates. The forum’s provision of information and guidance and its potential for making contacts help the target group to deal with the challenges facing them during their doctoral studies and provide them with support on their paths to their chosen careers. Since 2017, the forum’s focus has been on the training of key qualifications and interdisciplinary skills through the pprovision of opportunities to job shadow lecturers, rehearse giving talks at conferences and attend soft skills workshops.
The prize is awarded to initiatives that improve the conditions for women studying, teaching and doing research at the university and that contribute to an increase in the number of female researchers and students in courses of study with a low proportion of women.

Archimedes Award for Physics at the RWTH Aachen

18.04.2019: An RWTH Aachen team led by Professor Christoph Stampfer and Dr. Sebastian Staacks of the 2nd Institute for Physics has received the Archimedes Award 2019 for its development of an app, called “phyphox”, which enables pupils and students in schools to conduct their own physics experiments. The app does this by utilising the sensors in modern smartphones as measuring equipment, thus allowing a greater scope for hands-on learning in science classes. Additional materials and explanatory video clips help contribute to learning success. With over 600,000 downloads around the world, “phyphox” is already a well-established part of science education.
The award is presented by the MNU, a German association for the promotion of STEM education, and carries a prize of 4,000 Euro.

Holger Heuermann receives the FH Aachen University of Applied Sciences Research Award

22.03.2019: Prof. Dr. Holger Heuermann of the FH Aachen Department of High Frequency Technology has received acknowledgement – for his innovative development of a plasma spark plug for more fuel-efficient petrol engines – in the form of the FH-Aachen’s Research Award. The award comes with a welcome 10,000 Euro for him to invest into his research projects.

Matthias Wuttig Honoured as Outstanding Researcher

21.03.2019: RWTH Professor Matthias Wuttig, a research scientist at the RWTH Aachen University and at the Jülich Research Center (FZJ) – has been elected Fellow of the Materials Research Society (MRS) Class of 2019. This is an acknowledgement of the physicist’s groundbreaking contributions in the field of Phase Change Materials.
The MRS was founded in 1973 and, today, is a growing and dynamic organisation with over 14,500 members – all material experts from the science, industrial and governmental sectors. Headquartered in Warrendale, Pennsylvania (USA), the MRS leads the field as a promoter of interdisciplinary materials research. It boasts members from 90 different countries covering the disciplines of Physics, Chemistry, Biology, Mathematics and Engineering Sciences – the entire spectrum of materials research. This award counts as only the third MRS Fellowship to be so far granted to research scientists operating in Germany.

The “Junges Kolleg” of the North Rhine-Westphalian Academy of Sciences, Humanities and the Arts takes in two researchers from the RWTH Aachen University as new members

22.01.2019: Two RWTH junior researchers have been accepted into the “Junges Kolleg” of the North Rhine-Westphalian Academy of Sciences, Humanities and the Arts. Graduate Engineer Ms Wenwen Song is a researcher at the Steel Institute and Dr. rer. nat. Malte Göttsche is Junior Professor for Experimental Physics at the 3rd Institute of Physics B and Head of Junior Research Groups at the Graduate School AICES of the RWTH Aachen.
Acceptance into the “Junges Kolleg” is one of the most significant accolades available to junior scientists in North Rhine-Westphalia.

29.11.2018: Google Focused Award for RWTH Professor Hermann Ney

Professor Dr.-Ing. Hermann Ney, holder of the RWTH’s Chair of Computer Science 6 (Human Language Technology and Pattern Recognition), has been presented the Google Focused Award for his groundbreaking work on automated speech recognition. The award is endowed with on million US dollars. The prize money will be used to finance further research endeavours at the Chair.

23.11.2018: “Excellent Places in the Land of Ideas”-award for Cybernetics Lab IMA & IfU

With its educational concept “Engineers Without Borders Challenge”, the BMBF-funded RWTH project ELLI 2 (Excellent Teaching and Learning in Engineering Education) ranks as one of the eleven innovative prize winners of the competition “Excellent Places in the Land of Ideas” 2018 from North Rhine-Westphalia.

On the educational concept “Engineers Without Borders Challenge”, students tackle real-life problems from developing regions. Not only do the students get to apply the knowledge they have acquired in their studies in a culturally sensitive environment, but they also receive training in sustainable technical design and social responsibility. In collaboration with the association Engineers Without Borders e.V., the challenge has been implemented in a range of interdisciplinary courses at the Cybernetics Lab IMA & IfU at the RWTH Aachen University since 2013, and since 2017 the TU Dortmund University is also on board. The person responsible for the educational concept project is Dr. Kathrin Schönefeld of the Cybernetics Lab of the RWTH Aachen University.

22.11.2018: Hans-Joachim Jürgens receives an award for the promotion of reading

RWTH Aachen Professor Hans-Joachim Jürgens of the German Language Pedagogy Teaching and Research Area received the “Deutsche Lesepreis” Foundation’s award in the category “Outstanding Promotion of Reading with Digital Media”. His Internet whodunnits for children about “The Palace Square Gang” came in at second place. The “Deutsche Lesepreis” has been awarded annually since 2013 by the “Stiftung Lesen” Foundation and the Commerzbank Foundation in six categories.

21.11.2018: RWTH Aachen professor receives the VDE Ring of Honour

At the VDE Tec Summit 2018 in Berlin, the “Association of Electrical Engineering, Electronic Engineering and Information Technology” awarded the VDE Ring of Honour to Professor Jens-Rainer Ohm, Dean of the RWTH’s Faculty of Electrical Engineering and Information Technology, in honour of his contributions to the efficient reduction of redundancy and irrelevance in digital video signals. The VDE Ring of Honour acknowledges his internationally relevant contributions to the digital processing and compression of video signals, and especially the role he has played in the development of the standards MPEG-7, AVC and HEVC. Professor Ohm is the fifth scientist from the Faculty of Electrical Engineering and Information Technology at the RWTH Aachen to be honoured with this prestigious award.

16.11.2018: Four RWTH Aachen graduates awarded the Otto Junker Prize

RWTH graduates Dominik Büschgens, Maximilian Rudack, Veit Langrock and Daniel Sialkowski have been awarded the Otto Junker Prize 2018 for their excellent academic achievements. The Otto Junker Prize is awarded annually to RWTH students of the Faculty of Electrical Engineering and Information Technology and also of the Division of Materials Science and Engineering and the Faculty of Georesources and Materials Engineering.

26.09.2018: High school graduate can spend two week doing research at CERN

For 17-year-old Stefan Krischer from Düren, a dream has come true: From 30th September to 12th October 2018 he will be allowed to do research at CERN, the European Organisation for Nuclear Research, in Geneva. Krischer has already completed a number of courses at the RWTH Aachen for talented school pupils and, during his research stay in Geneva, will be looked after and mentored by scientists from the RWTH’s Chair for Experimental Physics III B.

26.09.2018: RWTH student receives the DAAD Award 2018

During Welcome Week for International Students, Sergio Roberto Molina Ramirez from Columbia was rewarded for his academic achievements and his outstanding intercultural engagement with the DAAD Award 2018 of the German Academic Exchange Service. The prize is endowed with 1,000 EUR. Ramirez successfully completed his studies in Electrical Engineering at the RWTH in the Summer Semester 2018. In addition, he has also been studying Biology since Winter Semester 2015/16. In spite of the double load of two courses of study, he managed to achieve a very high level of academic performance and still found time to engage in volunteer work.

28.08.2018: RWTH Students win the Schüßler Award 2018

The two RWTH students Annkathrin Sinning and Hassan Khanafer, both studying industrial engineering with a special focus on construction, have been commended with the Schüßler Award 2018. The prize was established in 1995 by Willi Schüßler, and has been awarded annually ever since. Through a scholarship to finance study abroad, it promotes students who “have distinguished themselves through their high academic achievements as well as through their convincing personal qualities”.
As a member of the organisation “Engineers Without Borders” Annkathrin Sinning has developed concepts to improve the drinking water supplies and to raise awareness of hygiene issues for a village in Cameroon. She has also done a 12-month stint as a volunteer in Rwanda.
22-year-old Hasan Khanafer is involved as a tutor on the online platform “edX”. In the context of the project “Integral2” he is working “on digital teaching and learning scenarios for refugees and facilitates “Study Weekends” for students to consolidate their grasp of the subject matter in Business Studies.

27.07.2018: FH Aachen design student wins the Aachen Automotive Design Award 2018

They only had four months to complete their designs. In the final weeks before the deadline, FH Aachen students in the faculties of Design and Aerospace Technology gathered at regular intervals to work on their ideas in four teams as part of an internal competition. The task was to conceptualise a two-seater sports car that embodied the two characteristics sustainability and attractiveness. All the work has now been rewarded with the “Aachen Automotive Design Award 2018 – sponsored by Imperia/FEV”, which was presented at the FH Aachen location in Boxgraben. The winner was Jan-Frederik Niehaus from the Faculty of Design. The award comes with an endowment to the tune of 2,750 Euro.

03.07.2018: RoboCup Logistics League – Bronze for the Carologistics team

Team Carologistics – made up of scientific staff and students of the Cybernetics Lab IMA & IfU, the Knowledge-Based Systems Group – both at the RWTH Aachen – and the MASCOR Institute at the FH Aachen, brought home the Bronze Medal in the RoboCup Logistics League in Montreal, Canada. Although the Aachen team had to struggle repeatedly with wireless network problems, they only had to concede defeat to the new World Champions from Graz. But in the 3rd place play-off, Team Carologistics prevailed and secured themselves the Bronze Medal.

21.06.2018: RWTH medical student attends the Nobel Prize Winners’ Conference

RWTH student Julia Czech has been chosen to attend the 68th Nobel Prize Winners’ Conference in Lindau. The 27-year-old was born in Aachen and successfully completed her secondary education at Aachen’s Einhard Gymnasium. Before she began to study medicine at the RWTH Aachen University, she spent a year as an au pair in the USA. In 2012, Czech was placed in the Dean`s List of the university – a distinction reserved for outstanding academic achievements – and in 2014 she was granted a scholarship by the “Studienstiftung des deutschen Volkes”. Since 2016, Czech has been writing her dissertation at the Clinic for Haematology, Oncology, Haemostaseology and Stem Cell Transplantation (Medical Clinic IV) of the University Hospital Aachen on the topic of “Interferon-alpha treatment in classical myeloproliferative neoplasms”.
A total of 600 junior scientists from 84 different countries will be gathering in Lindau. There they will have the opportunity to have discussions with 43 Nobel Prize winners, to establish networks and to gather inspiration. This year’s conference will focus on Physiology and Medicine.

25.04.2018: Plant protection research scientists receive the BioRegionen Germany Innovation Award 2018

RWTH Aachen scientists Dr. Felix Jakob, Professor Dr. Andrij Pich and Professor Dr. Ulrich Schwaneberg were presented with the award at the German Biotechnology Conference in Berlin for their project “GreenRelease for Plant Health”. The BioRegionen Germany Innovation Award acknowledges outstanding ideas and patents in the field of biotechnology and life sciences.
The aim of the GreenRelease project is to reduce the agricultural deployment of plant protection products and in this way to contribute to the sustainable production of healthy foods. The prize-winning GreenRelease technology consists of chargeable microgel containers that control the release of the active substances onto the plant surfaces, to which the microgel containers adhere well thanks to special anchor peptides.

21.03.2018: Ice researcher Bernd Dachwald receives the FH Aachen’s Research Award

Prof. Dr. Bernd Dachwald from the Faculty of Aerospace Technology at the FH Aachen University of Applied Sciences has been presented with the FH Aachen’s Research Award, which carried a prize of 10,000 Euro. His research focus has been on the development of an autonomous subsurface probe for deep ice research. In comparison to previous subsurface probes, his IceMole is not limited to movement in the direction of the pull of gravity – i.e. straight down – but can be maneuvred around in the ice.
The FH Aachen Research Award jury consisted of: Prof. Dr. Dr. h.c. Gisela Engeln-Müllges, University Council Chairperson at the FH Münster and University Council Vice Chairperson at the FH Aachen; Prof. Dr. Fritz Klocke, holder of the Chair of Manufacturing Technology at the RWTH Aachen’s Laboratory for Machine Tools and Production Engineering (WZL); Prof. Dr. Reinhart Poprawe, Director of the Fraunhofer Institute for Laser Technology (ILT), Aachen; Prof. Dr. Doris Samm, Vice Rector for Research and Innovation at the FH Aachen; Prof. Dr. Knut Schmidtke, Vice Rector for Research and Innovation at the Dresden University of Applied Sciences; and Prof. Dr. Christiane Vaeßen, CEO of the “Zweckverband Region Aachen”.

15.02.2018: Presentation of the RWTH Aachen’s Innovation Award

The first place in the Innovation Award of the RWTH Aachen University 2017 went to Jan-Dirk Reimers, Tobias Berthold, Tobias Lange and Claude Weiss from the Institute for Power Electronics and Electrical Drives (ISEA), which is chaired by Professor Rik W. De Doncker. In their project, “TorqueWerk”, they developed segmented and easily scalable electric drives with a modular design that makes them a particularly suitable and easy to service option for integration into industrial equipment. They are primarily envisaged for deployment in industrial high-torque applications, for example in the plant and machinery manufacturing sector, in tooling machines and in the field of automation technology, but also in wind energy applications and forklift trucks.
The second place went to Robert Brüll for his innovation “OrganoGlas” – a completely transparent fibre-reinforced plastic. At the RWTH’s Institut für Textiltechnik (ITA), which is headed by Professor Thomas Gries, a material has been developed that consists of a thermoplastic fibre composite of flat glass fibres and a customised matrix. OrganoGlas is transparent, high-strength, lightweight, highly malleable and recyclable. These properties make it highly suitable for deployment in road vehicles, in aircraft and even in a space probe. And thanks to its weight-saving characteristic, OrganoGlas also opens up new possibilities in high-rise construction and other fields of application.
The third place went to Tim Schröder, Dennis Bosse and Professor Georg Jacobs from the RWTH’s Chair for Wind Power Drives (CWD) for their project “FlexPad – Novel Plain Bearing Design for the Main Bearing of a Wind Power Drive”. Due to their geometry, plain bearings require less space and their parts are economical and can be easily swapped out. They increase the lifespan and thus the profitability of wind power drives.
This was the fourth time that the Innovation Award of the RWTH Aachen has been presented. Each year three university projects are rewarded for their outstanding contributions to the radiant power of the Aachen Region as an innovation location.

30.10.2017: Engineering Emmy Award for HEVC standard

The Academy of Television Arts and Sciences has awarded a prize to the Joint Collaborative Team on Video Coding (JCT-VC) for the development of the High Efficiency Video Coding (HEVC) video compression standard. A major role was played in this development by Professor Dr.-Ing. Jens-Rainer Ohm of the RWTH’s Chair of Communications engineering, one of the two leaders of the team. The prize, the Primetime Engineering Emmy Award 2017, was presented to Prof. Ohm on 25th October 2017 together with the other team leader, Dr. Gary Sullivan (Microsoft), Chaesub Lee (ITU-T), and Karen Higginbottom (ISO) in Los Angeles.

20.09.2017: Two ITA post-docs receive the Paul Schlack Prize 2017

The Paul Schlack Prize 2017 was awarded to two post-docs at the RWTH’s Institute of Textile Technology (ITA): Dr. Gisa Wortberg and Dr. Andreas De Palmenaer.
The two researchers have worked on the development of polyethylene-based carbon fibres as part of their doctoral theses and found a way to reduce the cost of carbon fibres to a degree far beyond current research targets.

01.06.2017: The Manfred Hirschvogel Prize 2017 goes to Daniel Trauth

Graduate Engineer Daniel Traut was awarded the prize for his Engineering Doctoral Thesis “Tribology of machine hammer peened tool surfaces for deep drawing”. With his dissertation, he has succeeded, using machine hammer peening, in designing customised tribological systems for metal forming which, in terms of the local sets of stress factors, minimise friction and wear during deep drawing.
The Manfred Hirschvogel Prize is awarded annually at Germany’s nine leading Universities of Technology for the best doctoral thesis in the field of Mechanical Engineering. It was inaugurated in 2007 by the Frank Hirschvogel Foundation to honour the lifetime achievements of Dr. Manfred Hirschvogel. Manfred Hirschvogel was the founder of the foundation and managing family member of the Hirschvogel Automotive Group, one of the world’s largest automotive suppliers in the field of forging and machining.

25.05.2017: Ralf Raue Innovation Prize 2017 for the Aachen-Maastricht Institute for Biobased Materials

The Aachen-Maastricht Institute for Biobased Materials, AMIBM for short, was awarded the 2017 Ralf Raue Innovation Prize 2017. This prize is awarded annually by the BIOMEDICA Foundation to individuals and institutes in recognition of their outstanding endeavours in the promotion of cross-border collaboration. It is named after Ralf Rau, who was for many years Director of the Philips Research Laboratories and later headed the International Affairs Department at the Jülich Research Centre. Until his death in June 2016, Raue had always championed the notion of cross-border collaboration. The award was formally presented at the BIOMEDICA Life Sciences Summit in Eindhoven to Dr. Richard Ramakers, Director of the AMIBM.
The AMIBM, located in Geleen, opened in January 2016 as a new form of cooperation between Maastricht University, the RWTH Aachen University and the Fraunhofer Institute for Molecular Biology and Applied Ecology in Aachen. The institute pools the participating institutions’ core competences in the fields of biology, chemistry, polymer chemistry, engineering sciences and medicine. Its focus is on research into and application of the unique properties of biobased materials for innovation and development in the field of biomedical engineering.
This bi-national institute has ultra-modern laboratories for Genetic Engineering, Chemical Physics and Polymer Physics, and is also involved in the education of students and doctoral candidates. The Scientific Director of the AMIBM is Professor Stefan Jockenhövel, holder of the NRW Special Chair of Biohybrid & Medical Textiles at the Institute of Applied Medical Engineering (AME) and at the Institute of Textile Technology (ITA) at the RWTH Aachen University.

13.12.2016: FH Aachen Motorsports Team wins Reiter Young Stars Cup 2016

Monza, Spa-Francorchamps, Pau: – any motorsports fan lucky enough to have witnessed a race at one of these legendary circuits wouldn’t think twice. And for Kai Störling, Yannic Windeln and Dennis Schäfer, it was already a huge success when they were selected to represent the FH Aachen University of Applied Sciences with their student racing team “RYS Team WP Performance” in the new GT young talents racing series “Reiter Young Stars”. Now, they have actually won the Reiter Young Stars Cup 2016.

Eight university teams lined up for the start of the European GT4 Series, along with twenty professional teams. Five races were scheduled in this season. All the student teams started with type KTM X-BOW GT4 cars developed in a collaboration between the companies KTM Sportcar GmbH and Reiter Engineering.

The winners will be on the Lamborghini Gallardo R-EX team in the Blancpain Sprint Series 2017
Kai Störling and Yannic Windeln, who are following the dual study programme Mechanical Engineering PluS, were responsible as future engineers for the technical aspects. On the race weekends they were given training by experienced engineers to enable them to implement their knowledge in the training and qualification rounds and in the races themselves.

The third member of the team, Dennis Schäfer, assumed the role of team manager, which also put him in charge of public marketing. The evaluation system of the “Reiter Young Stars” is different to those of other motorsports series. To achieve the rank of overall winner of a race weekend you need to do more than just be the first to cross the finishing line. Technical aspects – as well as marketing aspects – also flow into the evaluation. The three FH students didn’t actually sit behind the steering wheel. The organisers provided the student teams not only with mechanics but also with professional racing drivers.

Throughout the season, the eight universities were pretty much neck and neck. With a lead of just 20 points, the FH Aachen team to the finale in Zandvoort, followed by the University of Saarland and the University of Hertfordshire. In the end, it was the season figures for PR work that decided the result: the FH team took first place in the Reiter Young Stars Cup 2016.
And the prize? The best students get to work on the Lamborghini Gallardo R-EX team in the Blancpain Sprint Series 2017 as paid engineers and team manager.

The final scores of the student teams:
FH Aachen / RYS Team WP / 575 points
University of Saarland / RYS Team KTM 534.8 points
University of Hertfordshire / RYS Team Holinger / 530.3 points
University of Bayreuth / RYS Team Pankl / 491.4 points
UCL Belgium / RYS Team InterNetX / 479.1 points
Tallina Tehnikakülikool / RYS Team True Racing / 474.6 points
Wroclav University of Technology / RYS Team Kiska 470.2 points
CVUT Prague / RYS Team Hohenberg Event / 431.7 points

12.12.2016: FH Aachen celebrates its best students

This year, for the first time, the FH Aachen University of Applied Sciences has honoured more than 100 graduates for their outstanding achievements during their studies by awarding them a Badge of Honour. In the academic year that has just finished, 1732 young women and men have received their degree.

At the celebration ceremony in the Coronation Hall of Aachen’s Town Hall, two special awards were also presented. Georg Wählisch received the Teaching Award – marking the first time that a specialist teacher has been honoured for outstanding dedication in the service of the students. Wählisch is the Head of the CAD laboratory in the Department of Energy Technology at the Campus Jülich; he teaches in the fields of IT/EDP, Technical Drawing, CAD and Descriptive Geometry.

The German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) Prize for outstanding achievements by a foreign student went to Arif Izzudin, who is studying Mechanical Engineering in his sixth semester. The award honours his contribution to the support of foreign students, for example in the mentoring programme and during the introductory weeks.

30.11.2016: Award of the Friedrich Wilhelm Prizes 2016 at the RWTH

At an award ceremony, 28 students, doctoral candidates and post-docs have been honoured for their outstanding academic achievements with the Friedrich Wilhelm Prize 2016. These include 14 master theses, eleven doctoral dissertations and three postdoctoral theses.

The winners are: Fabian Mies, Daniel Neuen, Dr. rer. nat. Markus Brinkmann, Dr. rer. nat. Felix Voigtlaender, private lecturer Dr. rer. nat. Michael Wibmer, Klara Bindl, Maximilian Johannes Schlechtingen, Martin van Laack, Katharina Niggemann, Rebecca Louisa Schulléri, Dr.-Ing. Wolfgang Dornisch, Linda Gesenhues, Benedikt Weber, Christoph Westerwalbesloh, Dr.-Ing. Ricardo Brugnara, Dr.-Ing. Dr. rer. pol. Wilko Rohlfs, Patrick Elison, Dr.-Ing. Adele Clausen, Dr.-Ing. Thomas Henke, Marius Geis, Robert Werner Krajewski, Dr.-Ing. Moritz Beermann, Carolin Pommeranz, Dr. rer. pol. Nikolai Alexander Jäger, private lecturer Dr. rer. pol. Tessa Christina Flatten, Dr. rer. medic. Yannick Berker, Dr. med. Pardes Habib und private lecturer Dr. med. Simone Schrading.

What is the Friedrich Wilhelm Prize?
The Friedrich Wilhelm Prize is awarded by the foundation of the same name, which was founded in 1865 by the legal predecessor of the company Generali Deutschand Holding AG (formerly the Aachener und Münchener Beteiligungsgesellschaft). Its main objective is to promote research and teaching at the RWTH Aachen University and to support students and scientists. The name of the foundation traces back to the Prussian crown prince and later emperor Friedrich Wilhelm III. In 1858, he received a donation to the tune of 5,000 talers from the insurance company Aachener und Münchener Feuerversicherungsgesellschaft, to establish a “Polytechnicum” in the Rhine Province. The donation formed the basis for the subsequent establishment of the Friedrich Wilhelm Foundation, which in turn laid the foundation for what would ultimately become the RWTH Aachen University.

10.11.2016: RWTH awards the Otto Junker Prizes 2016

At an award ceremony, the RWTH graduates Daniel Szepanski, Pawel Bittner, Charlie Paul Susai Sakkana Reddy and Stephan Prünte have been honoured for their outstanding academic achievements with the Otto Junker Prizes 2016.

Daniel Szepanski, born September 1990 in Waldbröl, studied Electrical Engineering, Computer Sciences and Computer Engineering with a special focus on Power Engineering at the RWTH Aachen. The junior scientist was awarded the STAWAG Prize on passing his Master’s examination in 2015 with a distinction, followed in 2016 by the DRIVE-E Student Award of the Federal Ministry for Education and Research and of the Fraunhofer Society. In addition, the 26-year-old is also on the Dean‘s List, which recognises students of exceptional distinction in a degree course.

Pawel Bittner, born April 1991 in Breslau, studied Materials Engineering at the RWTH Aachen. During his studies, he was able to gather initial practical experience as a student assistant at the Metal Forming Institute (IBF), at the Department for Industrial Furnaces and Heat Engineering (IOB), as well as through various internships. In the Winter Semester 2015/16, the 25-year-old also commenced a second degree at the RWTH in Mathematics.

Charlie Paul Susai Sakkana Reddy, born November 1987 in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, studied Electrical Power Engineering at the RWTH Aachen. In 2015, the electrical engineer was awarded with Springorum Medal and the Siemens Prize on passing his Master’s examination with a distinction. Today, he works as a consultant at the company Siemens AG in Erlangen.

Stephan Prünte, born January 1989 in Neuss, studied Material Sciences with a special focus on Construction Materials and Nanotechnology at the RWTH Aachen. During his studies, the junior scientist was involved in many different activities, among them acquiring know-how through a scientific internship abroad at the “Center for Materials Science and Nanotechnology” of Oslo University. In September 2015, the materials engineer began his doctorate on the subject of success in dry metal forming processes through tool-coating and surface functionalisation.

13.10.2016: Alumni in Japan: sign up!: RWTH receives funding for its first Research Alumni Conference in Tokyo 2017

Once again, the RWTH has scored a success with its Research Alumni Strategy. In a competition held by the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation for the funding of international alumni work and a research alumni conference abroad, it was one of the seven German universities to win – out of 35 competitors in all. With 40,000 Euro, provided by the Federal Ministry for Education and Research, the first alumni science conference will now take place in October 2017 in Tokyo/Japan. The topic: “The Fine Line between Humans and Machines”.

Under this title the RWTH Aachen announces a conference programme with topical presentations from the fields of robotics and ethics in Japan. “In view of the developments of robotic systems in the immediate environment of humans, of new models of automation in the context of Industry 4.0, and of a massive breakthrough of artificial intelligence in all aspects of life, this topic is of crucial importance,” says RWTH Professor of Mechanical Engineering Sabina Jeschke, explaining the funded programme. “The discussion threads ensuing from the presentations will provide relevant pointers for new research alliances and mutual knowledge transfer between Germany and Japan.” The RWTH’s Human Technology Center with its nine interdisciplinary research fields, the RWTH Institute of Textile Technology (ita), the University of Tokyo, the Tokyo Institute of Technology, the Alexander von Humboldt-Foundation and the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) will also be involved and will be treating the topic from their own particular perspectives.
For this exchange of expertise and the discussions, an interdisciplinary network will be set up for former scientists at the RWTH Aachen University – “research alumni” – who live and pursue research in Japan. For the RWTH they are essential disseminators of knowledge who maintain connections to Germany as a research location and who strengthen the bond between the RWTH and Japan. “The conference is also a big reunion with our alumni, and we want to do a lot to promote their networking in their current location,’ says RWTH Professor Bernd Markert, the Rector’s Delegate for Alumni and the Director of the Institute of General Mechanics (iam), explaining the aim of this specialist research alumni conference in Tokyo. The conference is building on 60 years of positive and stable bonds between the RWTH and universities and research facilities in Japan. To the same end, the plan is also to establish an alumni association.

Register now!
Interested research alumni of the RWTH who live in Japan can register to participate by sending a mail with the catchphrase “Forscher-Alumni-Konferenz” to: Details of the programme and the exact time of the conference will be published in good time on the website:

The competition “Research Alumni Strategies” for the funding of this research alumni conference is a part of the project “International Research Marketing” – a joint undertaking of the Alexander von Humboldt Foundation, the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD), the German Research Foundation (DFG) and the Fraunhofer Society. The project is funded by the Ministry for Education and Research. It is a part of the initiative “Research in Germany”.
Further information:,

28.09.2016: RWTH student receives the “Junior Researcher Award Consumer Research“

In his Bachelor thesis “Making Individual Cloud Usage of Smartphone Users Transparent”, David Hellmanns from the RWTH’s Chair of Computer Sciences 4 (Communication and Distributed Systems) describes solutions for how to render the functions of cloud services more transparent by means of an app. In his paper, he also indicates how the privacy of the consumer can be better protected when using such external data storage options.

NRW Science Minister Svenja Schulze, NRW Minister for Consumer Protection Johannes Remmel and the Director of NRW’s Consumer Advice Centre Wolfgang Schuldzinski presented the award, which comes with 2,000 euros prize money, at the International Conference on Consumer Research (ICCR) 2016. The award is conferred annually by the project Competence Centre Consumer Research NRW for scientifically outstanding academic papers on practically relevant consumer topics.

19.08.2016: FH alumnus wins prize for cargo drone

FH alumnus Felix Finger won third prize for his concept for a cargo drone in the “Airbus Cargo Drone Challenge” (ACDC). The award comes with a prize money of 10,000 US dollars.

The Airbus Group and the crowdsourcing platform Local Motors Inc. jointly staged the competition. The challenge was to develop an unmanned, electrically powered aircraft capable of vertical takeoff and landing and of highly efficient forward flight – in other words a combination of multi-rotor and fixed-wing aircraft. Potential uses of the drone are, for example, emergency delivery of medical cargo like drugs and blood reserves into crisis zones, but also delivery of packets in densely populated urban areas. The total weight of the drone was limited to a maximum of 25 kg, and it had to be capable of transporting a payload of 5 kg over a distance 60 km (resp. 3 kg over 100 km). In fact, Felix Finger’s design, called “Minerva”, achieved a travel distance twice the size of the specified range.

10.08.2016: Bronze at the Olympic Games for Laura Vargas Koch

Admittedly, this has more to do with mats than maths, but we still would like to heartily congratulate Laura Vargas Koch, who is currently doing a post-grad degree in mathematics at the RWTH, on her Bronze Medal in Judo at the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.
A fantastic achievement, Laura!

07.07.2016: World champions: the joint RoboCup Logistics Team of the FH and the RWTH Aachen

In the world championship of intelligent robots in Leipzig, “Carologistics” – a joint team comprising members from various institutes of the RWTH and the FH Aachen – won the world champion title in the “Logistics League” for the third time in a row.

The international RoboCup, which is staged each year in a different country, took place this year from 30th June to 3rd July in Leipzig – its second time in Germany. The RoboCup competitions cover a range of different disciplines. For example, robots of various size categories compete with each other in the RoboCup Soccer. “Our team competes in the highly application-oriented RoboCup Industrial League,” explains Alexander Ferrein, Professor of Robotics and Director of the Mobile Autonomous Systems & Cognitive Robotics Institute (MASKOR) at the FH Aachen. In the categories “Production Logistics” and “Mobile Manipulation”, the focus is on the deployment of mobile robots in production scenarios of tomorrow’s “intelligent factories”. “The requirements get progressively more complex with each year. This year, the major challenge was to produce a complex, custom-made product and to assemble the individual components using our robots,” says FH student Nicolas Limpert. In the exploratory stage, the challenge was first of all to get the robots to recognise which machines they needed to go to. This was followed by the production stage, in which the team from Aachen succeeded in besting their competitors “Solidus”, a team from Switzerland. The score at the end of the competition was a clear win for Carologistics with 94 to 26 points.

In addition to the RoboCup Industrial League there is also a RoboCup Rescue League, in which rescue robots compete to find simulated victims that have been buried alive, and a RoboCup@Home League, where the aim is to develop service robots for the domestic sector.

05.07.2016: Willy Korf Award goes to RWTH doctoral candidate

Bernhard Steenken, doctoral candidate at the RWTH’s Department of Ferrous Metallurgy (IEHK), has been honoured with this year’s Korf Award for Young Excellence. The award ceremony took place at the AMM & WSD Steel Success Strategies Conference in New York. He was awarded the prize for his outstanding research on the industrial production of so-called ‘Advanced High Strength Steels’. “In his doctoral thesis, Bernhard Steenken, supervised by Professor Senk, deals with the influence of varying amounts of manganese and aluminium on solidification morphology and heat embrittlement. In doing so, he has made substantial advances in the development of innovative methods for determining the castability of these new types of steel,” Astrid Korf-Wolman – Director of the Willy Korf Foundation and daughter of Willy Korf – explained in her eulogy.

The Willy Korf Foundation
The foundation, which commemorates the steel industrialist Willy Korf († 1990), is run by his daughter Astrid Korf-Wolman and, each year, presents two awards for outstanding achievements in the steel sector. The Willy Korf Steel Vision Award and the Korf Award for Young Excellence are traditionally presented at the AMM & WSD Steel Success Strategies Conference in New York, the North American steel industry’s premier event.

11.05.2016: Leif Kobbelt admitted to the North Rhine-Westphalian Academy of Sciences, Humanities and the Arts

Leif Kobbelt had been admitted to the North Rhine-Westphalian Academy of Sciences, Humanities and the Arts as a full member of the class for engineering and economic sciences. “I’m very much looking forward to participating in the work of the Academy,” said Leif Kobbelt, commenting on the honour, which is awarded to persons who have distinguished themselves through outstanding scientific achievements.

Leif Kobbelt is hailed as Germany’s premier computer graphics expert in the field of geometry processing and as one of the world’s most innovative and most prolific representatives of his field of research. After graduating and attaining his PhD in computer sciences at Karlsruhe University, his academic career took him to the University of Wisconsin in Madison (USA), the University of Erlangen-Nuremberg and the Max Planck Institute of Computer Science in Saarbrücken before he finally came to the RWTH Aachen University in 2001. Here, he holds the Chair of Computer Graphics and Multimedia and is a co-founder of the Visual Computing Institute.

Leif Kobbelt has received numerous national and international prizes and awards for his outstanding achievements in the field of research, including the coveted Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz Prize 2014, Germany’s most prestigious research prize, which is awarded annually by the German Research Foundation (DFG).

30.04.2016: European Union awards grant to RWTH Professor Klaus Wehrle

RWTH-Professor Klaus Wehrle, holder of the Chair of Communication and Distributed Systems (COMSYS, Informatik 4), is to receive an ERC Consolidator Grant. This grant is awarded by the European Research Council to outstanding researchers with at least seven and up to 12 years of experience after PhD. Wehrle will now receive funding to the tune of two million euros for his work in the research project SYMBIOSYS.

07.04.2016: Five researchers at the RWTH to receive ERC grants

Professor Heinz Pitsch, Head of the RWTH’s Institute for Combustion Technology, Professor Hermann Ney, Head of the Chair for Computer Science 6, and Professors Martin Möller and Matthias Wessling, Scientific Director and Deputy Scientific Director of the DWI – Leibniz Institute for Interactive Materials, are each to receive an Advanced Grant from the European Research Council (ERC). Professor Barbara Terhal of the Department of Theoretical Physics will receive an ERC Consolidator Grant. Furthermore, the RWTH, represented by Professor Jörg Pretz of the Institute of Experimental Physics III B, will be participating in the ERC Advanced Grant awarded to Professor Hans Ströher, Director of the Jülich Institute of Nuclear Physics.

With its Advanced Grants, the European Research Council funds outstanding and established researchers with grants of up to 3.5 million euro over a maximum of five years. Consolidator Grants worth up to 2.75 million euro are awarded to researchers with seven to twelve years experience since completion of their PhDs. ERC awards rank as one of Europe’s most prestigious funding instruments. Close to 2,000 researchers had applied for this year’s ERC Advanced Grants.

01.04.2016: Winners of the two JARA Awards

For the first time, the two JARA prizes “JARA Best Master” and “JARA Excellent Junior” have been awarded. With its JARA Awards for early-career scientists, the Jülich Aachen Research Alliance acknowledges the scientific achievements of junior researchers.

The JARA Best Master is a poster prize for students who have just completed their Master’s dissertations. This year, it was awarded to two winners for their excellent posters relating to the JARA research fields JARA BRAIN and JARA ENERGY. Miriam Menzel convinced the jury with her work on “Simulation and Modeling for the Reconstruction of Nerve Fibers in the Brain by 3D Polarized Light Imaging”; Eran Schweitzer with his outstanding poster “A Matlab GUI for the Generation of Distribution Grid Models”.

The JARA Excellent Junior award is aimed at PhD students and postdocs who completed their doctoral degrees within the last six years. And the two winners are: Marcel Rosenthal for his work on “Spin Tracking Studies towards Electric Dipole Moment Measurements in Storage Rings”; and the consortium Luca Felix Banszerus, Stephan Engels and Michael Schmitz for their excellent joint work on “Ultrahigh-mobility graphene devices from chemical vapor deposition on reusable copper – Graphene off the production line”.

30.03.2016: NRW funding for two RWTH Aachen “Fortschrittskollegs”, “ACCESS!” and “VERBUND.NRW”

Along with four other projects in German Universities, the RWTH Aachen University’s two so-called “Fortschrittskollegs” (postgraduate schools), “ACCESS!” and “VERBUND.NRW”, will each receive funding over the next four and a half years from the State of North Rhine-Westphalia (NRW) to the tune of 2.72 million euro.

“ACCESS!”, under the leadership of Professor Grit Walther of the Department of Operations Management at the RWTH, will be working on the topic: “What sort of mobility can we afford in the future?” The postgraduate scientists will be scrutinising future technical and infrastructural options in relation to social demands and global environmental targets. Two field projects will focus on the challenges facing big cities (MetropoleRuhr) and rural areas (District of Heinsberg).

The focus of “VERBUND.NRW”, led by Professor Peter Quicker of the RWTH’s Unit of Technology of Fuels (TEER), will be on analysis and advancement of the value-added chain for composite materials and composite structures in the construction sector. The researchers will be looking in particular at ways to increase resource efficiency and recovery of raw materials. In addition to five faculties at the RWTH Aachen University, three departments at the Münster University of Applied Sciences will also be participating in “VERBUND.NRW”.

21.03.2016: RWTH postgrad students receive fellowships from Google

Eugen Beck and Tamer Alkhouli belong to the exclusive circle of 40 postgrads from North America, Europe and the Middle East who will be supported in their research for three years through the “Google PhD Fellowship”. The fields of research of the two young scientists fall in the categories “machine learning” and, in the widest sense of the word, “artificial intelligence”. Eugen Beck is researching automatic speech recognition, while Tamer Alkhouli’s main focus is on automatic translation. In both cases, computers will learn on the basis of sample material like voice recordings and translations under deployment of artificial neural networks.

18.03.2016: RWTH PhD student receives the Carl Roth Sponsorship Prize

David Fabry, postgrad student at the RWTH’s Institute of Organic Chemistry, was awarded the Carl Roth Sponsorship Prize of the Society of German Chemists (GDCh) at the Spring Meeting of its Young Chemists’ Forum in Kiel. The 29-year-old won the award for his comprehensive and innovative work on photoredox catalysis, in particular the development of a novel oxidative C-H bond activation using visible light.

The GDCh awards the 5000-euro Carl Roth Sponsorship Prize to young chemists who develop resource-efficient ways of synthesis or find innovative uses for chemicals.

15.02.2016: Brigitte Gilles Prize goes to the projects “go4IT!” and “Promotions-CAFÉ”

The two projects, “go4IT!” of the RWTH’s Department of Computer Science 9 and “Promotions-CAFÉ” of the Gender Team of the postgrad research training group AlgoSyn and the Department of Computer Science, have been awarded the RWTH’s Brigitte Gilles Prize, each of them receiving 2,500 euro.

In “Go4IT!”, girls from 11 to 13 build and programme robots on their own initiative in two-day courses. The climax of the event is the final presentation, where the participants demonstrate how their robots accomplish the agreed motion sequences. An advanced workshop is already up and running, too, where the girls develop smart-phone apps. “We’re going to use the prize money first of all to set up an advanced course on clothing design with technical enhancements,” says course instructor Dr. Nadine Bergner of the Department of Computer Science 9.

“Promotions-CAFÉ” is a programme of events that serves as a platform for all postgrad students in “MINT” disciplines (Mathematics, Computer Science, Natural Sciences and Technology). Talks form the starting points for controversial group discussions that question established mindsets and societal traditions and explore alternative models of family and working life in an endeavour to improve the working conditions of women. The prize money will be used to secure continuation of the event programme.

The prize, named after Brigitte Gilles, the first RWTH Aachen Delegate for Women, is awarded in acknowledgement of projects that promote girls’ interest in “MINT” disciplines. But the prize also rewards measures which improve the conditions of living, studying and working of women at university and encourage them on their career paths. In addition to a relevance to higher education, the eligibility criteria are the innovative strength and the sustainability of the submitted entries.

03.02.2016: Innovation Award for CarboBat, Cardiac Help and the Fedorov Project

Together with the Research Centre Jülich (FZJ), the RWTH Aachen University has rewarded three outstanding projects for their special contributions to the radiant power of the Aachen Region.

This year’s first prize, worth 5,000 euro, went to the CarboBat team led by Professor Dr. Richard Dronskowski of the Chair of Solid State and Quantum Chemistry and the Institute of Anorganic Chemistry. The team has succeeded in applying, for the first time, a novel material class of anorganic compounds, so-called carbodiimides, as anodes in rechargeable batteries. The excellent properties of some members of this class of compounds were discovered in collaboration with the Research Centre Jülich and the University of Montpellier. The technology paves the way for a new type of enormously powerful, inexpensive and – above all – non-toxic battery.

The Cardiac Help team from the Research Centre Jülich, led by Professor Dr. Andreas Offenhäusser and Dr. Svetlana Vitusevich, won the second prize. The technology indicates a highly promising development for cardiac point-of-care diagnosis for near-patient diagnostics. Diagnosis has to take place within two hours of the occurrence of an acute myocardial infarction. It is only during this period of time that molecules of the protein complex troponin are released. Troponin is seen as an indicator of heart diseases. For this reason, there is an urgent need for the development of fast, reliable and extremely accurate measurement options.

The third prize was awarded to the Fedorov Project team, also from the Research Centre Jülich, under the leadership of Dr. Alexey Yakushenko. The focus here is on printable sensors on the basis of nanomaterials. Various chemosensitive and biosensitive materials together with conductive elements, like gold, for measurement components can be directly printed on. The objective is to produce printable, disposable biosensors and chemosensors at very low costs.

01.02.2016: Max Kerner awarded the von Kaven Ring

Professor Dr. Max Kerner is one of those representatives of the RWTH Aachen who, not only within the university but also ouside in the city and the region, are famous for their dedication. Throughout his whole career, this historian remained actively involved in the self-administration of the RWTH. As a renowned scientist he published countless works, one example being his “Charlemagne – The Unveiling of a Myth” from the year 2000. Now, the RWTH Aachen University has honoured him with the von Kaven Ring. This accolade has only been awarded twice before: in 2005 to the former Rector of the RWTH, Professor Dr. Roland Walter, and in 2006 to Dr. Jürgen Linden, at that time Lord Mayor of the City of Aachen.

August von Kaven was the founding Rector of the Polytechnic University which opened in Aachen in 1870, the forerunner of today’s RWTH Aachen. Von Kaven played an important role in its initial organisation and its later expansion into a modern university. In addition, as a proponent of liberal positions he campaigned for the establishment of an accompanying programme of studies in the Humanities. As a historian, one of Max Kerner’s main priorities was also to integrate an enlightened humanism into the technology-oriented university, as RWTH Rector Ernst Schmachtenberg pointed out in his proposal for the award to Kerner. One example he cited was the Leonardo-Project that Kerner had initiated. “Here, students learn to work in interdisciplinary teams and to develop a range of approaches to a solution to the challenges facing society, like climate change or globalisation,” said Schmachtenberg.

Kerner was born in 1940 in Geilenkirchen and studied History and Latin in Cologne. In 1980, he was appointed to the RWTH Aachen’s Chair of Medieval and Modern History, and in 2002 became holder of the Chair of Medieval History and Director of the Historical Institute. He was Dean of the Faculty of Philosophy from 1982 to 1984, Vice Rector for Academic Affairs from 1986 to 1991. Among other things, he also acted for many years as Representative of the Rectorate for the cooperation with Technion in Haifa and as Spokesman of the “Forum Technology and Society”. As Chairman of the Institute of External Affairs, the forerunner of today’s citizen’s forum “RWTHextern”, he passed on his knowledge in many talks not only to students but also to the citizens of the region.

The scientist was already a member of the Senate of the RWTH Aachen University in 1996. New higher education legislation in 2000 stipulated that the Rector was no longer ex officio the Chairman of the Senate, but that this position had to be filled by someone elected by the circle of Senators. As a result, Kerner was first elected Senate Chairman in 2002 and, during his period in office, gave an impressive demonstration of which this committee can contribute to the management of a university. “It was during that time that the foundation stone was laid for a culture of constructive coexistence at the RWTH,” the RWTH Rector emphasised as a particular service rendered by his professorial colleague, who, for the good of the university but also in scientific matters, could often be a thoroughly disputatious character. However, the Senators of the RWTH certainly also benefited from his great rhetorical talent in the sometimes lengthy sessions and verbal debates, as he knew exactly how to spice things up with a perfect blend of humour and wit. For reasons of age, Kerner retired from service at the university, although that did not stop him from continuing his involvement in the RWTH’s Leonardo Project.