RWTH Aachen University, as the name implies, is a technical university located in the beautiful town of Aachen, Germany. Aachen is Germany's westernmost city, near the borders to the Netherlands, Belgium and France, and has a population of just over 260,000. More than 37,000 of those are undergrad and grad students attending RWTH. A not very suprising fact is that RWTH is the biggest employer in Aachen. The city is very well known for its amazingly beautiful cathedral and an also really nice looking city hall in the heart of the city, and for centuries has been very popular because of its sulfur-containing hot springs.
The university was founded in 1870 as a technical school meant to educate engineers for the predominant mining industry in the area. When founded, RWTH only taught chemistry, electrical and mechanical engineering, as well as generel natural sciences and mathematics. Today RWTH has nine faculties: Mathematics, Computer Science and Natural Science, Architecture, Civil Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, Georesources and Materials Engineering, Electrical Engineering and Information Technology, Arts and Humanities, Business and Economics, and last but not least, Medicine. Overall RWTH offers 101 programs through those faculties. However, RWTH is mostly known for its excellent engineering programs, especially for the education and research done by the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering, and 49% of all students study an engineering discipline.
RWTH does not have a main campus. Instead the buildings are more or less distributed throughout the whole city. There are, though, three core areas called Campus Mitte (campus near the city centre), Campus Melaten (area in the west of the city) and Campus Hörn (area located inbetween those two). Campus Melaten is where the teaching hospital and most buildings belonging to the natural sciences are located. Currently, the university is expanding Campus Melaten by a 260,000 sq. m large science and innovation park.
In 2007 RWTH and the Jülich Research Centre formed the research cooperation Jülich-Aachen Research Alliance (JARA). Jülich Research Centre is located a 30 min. car drive away from Aachen, and is one of the largest interdisciplinary research centres in Europe. Our iGEM team supervisors are professors from RWTH as well as Jülich Research Centre.