Great Success for RWTH Aachen University




Thorsten Karbach

Head of Department – Press & Communications


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+49 241 80 94323


RWTH Aachen is excited about the success of five draft proposals for Clusters of Excellence and that it has been invited to submit the corresponding full proposals to the German Research Foundation, DFG.


“Our efforts in research and in defining their strategic direction over the last years received a very positive response,” says Professor Ernst Schmachtenberg, the Rector of RWTH Aachen University. “With its contributions to the Cluster concepts,” Schmachtenberg adds, “Forschungszentrum Jülich has played a major role in this success.” Professor Rudolf Mathar, Vice-Rector for Research and Structure, is very pleased that the first major step has been successfully accomplished: “We’ve all pulled together to achieve this goal.”

Last December, RWTH submitted a non-binding letter of intent to the DFG to participate in the proposal process for the Excellence Strategy of the federal and state governments. In April, RWTH submitted its draft proposals for Clusters of Excellence, including those jointly developed with the University of Cologne, the University of Bonn, and Forschungszentrum Jülich. Over the next few months, the focus will be on creating full proposals for the Clusters, which are to be submitted to the DFG by February 2018.

As Schmachtenberg explains, “this will be a great challenge for the researchers and administrative staff involved,” in particular as a possible later proposal for ‘University of Excellence’ status must be kept in view as well: If at least two Clusters of Excellence are approved for funding, RWTH will be invited to submit a proposal in the ‘University of Excellence’ funding line. In July 2019, the DFG will announce the winning universities, which will receive funding from the federal and state governments. Due to its success in past rounds of Germany’s Excellence Initiative, RWTH has been recognized as a ‘University of Excellence’ for ten years now.

RWTH Will Submit Full Proposals for the Following Clusters:

Four RWTH Draft Proposals

  • The Future of Scientific Computing: Predictive Hierarchical Simulation.
    Spokesperson: Professor Marek Behr, Chair for Computational Analysis of Technical Systems

The next generation of scientific computing cannot rely on further hardware improvements, but has to follow an integrated approach based on the pillars of simulation models, methods, and data. The Cluster’s approach consists of the fully dynamic and hierarchical interaction of these three pillars and results in a simulation environment for the development of fully tailored simulation processes.

  • Neuro-Inspired Computing: From Novel Materials to New Computing Paradigms
    Spokesperson: Professor Matthias Wuttig, Experimental Physics, RWTH Aachen and Forschungszentrum Jülich

The planned Cluster of Excellence seeks to develop novel computers whose structure and technology is inspired by neural networks. By contrast with traditional computers, these will be much more energy-efficient and capable of completing cognitive tasks.

  • Internet of Production
    Spokesperson: Professor Christian Brecher, Chair of Machine Tools, Laboratory for Machine Tools and Production Engineering WZL at RWTH Aachen University

The planned Cluster of Excellence seeks to significantly contribute to shaping production engineering in the era of digitalization and interconnectivity.

  • The Fuel Science Center – Adaptive Conversion Systems for Renewable Energy and Carbon Sources
    Spokesperson: Professor Stefan Pischinger, Chair for Combustion Engines and Institute of Thermodynamics

The planned Cluster investigates novel paths to convert energy and carbon, for example from biomass or carbon dioxide, into liquid energy carriers for the mobility sector. This is to be achieved with the help of adaptive production processes. Together with such novel biofuels, advanced engine concepts, which are able to exploit the potential of the new fuels, will be developed. With the help of innovative exhaust aftertreatment systems, the development of near-zero emission powertrains should become possible.

One Joint Proposal

  • ML4Q – Matter and Light for Quantum Computing
    Contributing Institutions: University of Cologne (coordinating university), University of Bonn, Forschungszentrum Jülich, RWTH Aachen University (Professor Hendrik Bluhm, Chair of Experimental Physics at RWTH Aachen and JARA Institute for Quantum Information)

Initially the laws of quantum mechanics were formulated as descriptions of atoms and molecules. Their use for communication and computing in quantum information processing opens up new possibilities such as the secure transmission of information as well as dramatic increases in performance that cannot be obtained using more traditional approaches. The planned Cluster of Excellence seeks to lay the foundations for realizing this vision.

Source: Press and Communications