Summa cum laude

Passed with flying colours: After a tough selection procedure, the RWTH Aachen has been reconfirmed as a University of Excellence – a distinction which it proudly shares with only another 10 German universities.

The RWTH Aachen – as one of eleven German universities – has won the approval of the Excellence Initiative of the Federal Government and the State Governments and will receive funding as a University of Excellence for the next seven years. “This is a wonderful day for RWTH Aachen University. We have all worked hard and invested a lot of energy into our proposal. We have looked at our university with a critical eye and have drawn the right conclusions. These results give another important boost to the RWTH’s profile both at home and abroad,” explains the RWTH’s Rector, Professor Ulrich Rüdiger.

A feat of strength that has paid off
“We have invested an incredible amount of energy into our proposal here at the RWTH and we have mastered this major feat by standing shoulder to shoulder. Now we are delighted that our dedication and our efforts have actually paid off. Our sincere gratitude goes to everyone involved,” says Rector Ulrich Rüdiger, explicitly including in his thanks his predecessor Ernst Schmachtenberg and the former Vice-Rector for Research, Professor Rudolf Mathar, since they were the ones who initially set the course for the Excellence Strategy process.
With its proposal titled “The Integrated Interdisciplinary University of Science and Technology. Knowledge. Impact. Networks.” – and on the basis of the on-site visit in January of this year – the RWTH succeeded in convincing the international panel of experts appointed by the Joint Science Conference of the Federal Government and State Governments (GWK). “We were able to show them that RWTH Aachen University has considerable potential and that we have found a way to effect lasting impact for the benefit of society,” explains Professor Mathias Wesseling, Vice-Rector for Research and Structure since August 2018. “We feel that our line of thought has been validated in that the panel of experts also saw it as a groundbreaking approach for a technical university such as RWTH Aachen. This gives us enormous energy going forward,” Wesseling points out.

Strengthening knowledge networks and attracting even more excellent scientists to Aachen
At the core of RWTH’s proposal is the convergence of knowledge, methods, and insights, allowing researchers to thoroughly comprehend complex systems and then develop improved versions. In the future, RWTH will implement measures that will strengthen not only the professional depth within distinct areas of expertise but also the knowledge networks between the various disciplines. In this manner, the convergence of the life sciences and data sciences in the Aachen research environment can be promoted and accelerated.
Furthermore, excellent researchers will be identified, recruited, retained and nurtured through additional measures. Finally, the ability of the university to reorganize itself and to promote collective creativity through agile governance and strong alliances with partners – such as the collaboration with Forschungszentrum Jülich in the framework of the Jülich Aachen Research Alliance or many others – will be secured. These initiatives will establish a truly unique national and international environment for teaching, research, and knowledge transfer aided by dynamic networks that will transcend both organizational limits and those delineated by the diverse disciplines. RWTH Aachen is dedicated to tackling and overcoming the challenges the world faces today and in the future by finding lasting solutions.

In September 2018 an announcement already revealed that the RWTH Aachen was one of the twelve German universities to have won funding for more than two Clusters of Excellence in the first round of the competition. This made the RWTH one of the most successful technical universities in Germany, alongside TU Munich and TU Dresden. Funding has been granted for an initial period of seven years starting January 1 for the following Cluster proposals: “The Fuel Science Center – Adaptive Conversion Systems for Renewable Energy and Carbon Sources”; “Internet of Production”; and “ML4Q – Matter and Light for Quantum Computing” – the latter in partnership with the University of Cologne and the University of Bonn.