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The expansion of the cutting-edge, international research endeavors of the University Alliance Ruhr (UA Ruhr) can now get underway: Yesterday, the three presidents/rectors of Ruhr Universität Bochum, TU Dortmund University and the University of Duisburg-Essen signed a cooperation agreement for the establishment of the Research Alliance Ruhr in the presence of the State Minister of Culture and Science, Isabel Pfeiffer-Poensgen. This means the four research centers and the college can now begin recruiting top international scientists for their future-oriented research projects. The Alliance already has 75 million euros of funding from the Ruhr Conference at its disposal for the four-year development phase.
“With the establishment of the Research Alliance Ruhr, we are pooling the top university research of the universities of Bochum, Dortmund and Duisburg-Essen in future-oriented research fields. In the 1960s, the founding of the Ruhr universities was a major driving force behind the structural transformation of the Ruhr Area. The cooperation that has now been concluded will create a new, highly innovative university association that meets the highest scientific excellence criteria. In this way, we as the state government, together with the universities, want to raise the international appeal of the Ruhr Area as an excellent science region to a new level,” says Science Minister Isabel Pfeiffer-Poensgen.
Ruhr as a globally networked innovation region
North Rhine-Westphalia’s Minister for Europe, Dr. Stephan Holthoff-Pförtner, who is in charge of the Ruhr Conference, and State Secretary Dr. Mark Speich, who as State Secretary is leading the forum “Ruhr as a globally networked innovation region,” said in a joint reaction: “With the agreement concluded today, the participating universities are living the spirit of the Ruhr Conference: Collaboration across municipal and institutional boundaries to make world-class research possible. This spirit of cooperation and excellence should also be a model for us in other fields of action. The future is not created in silos.”
“With the Research Alliance Ruhr, we are creating a new joint research institute to strategically bundle the strengths of the three universities and further expand them,” says Prof. Ulrich Radtke, Rector of the University of Duisburg-Essen. His colleague from Bochum, Prof. Axel Schölmerich, adds: “With the new structure, we will be in an even better position to attract exceptional talent from all over the world to the Ruhr Area and increase its international appeal.” The President of TU Dortmund University, Prof. Manfred Bayer, goes on to say: “The region will benefit from the innovative ideas that emerge from research projects. The notion of change through science has a long-standing tradition here and will continue to drive the metropolitan area forward in the future.”
Pressing issues facing the future
The research focuses on pressing issues facing the future such as the holistic health of people and the environment, sustainability and renewable energy, and trust in digital systems. The four research centers – “One Health – from Molecules to Systems”, “Chemical Sciences and Sustainability”, “Future Energy Materials and Systems” and “Trustworthy Data Science and Security” – are dedicated to research in these areas. The College for Social Sciences and Humanities, on the other hand, offers an open platform for international exchange in any and all fields of the humanities and social sciences.
The 17 founding directors are tasked with building up the five units over the next four years in coordination with the rectorates of the three universities. They will determine the focus of new research areas to be filled, which will be linked to the universities through joint appointments in consultation with the relevant departments. The positions will be financed by the additional state funding. This approach will enable the Research Alliance Ruhr to develop flexibly, to grow as required and to fully harness the potential of the shared research area. The institution is set to be fully operational by 2025 following a gradual development stage, for which the state has earmarked an annual budget of around 48 million euros.
The idea of establishing cross-location research centers with international appeal in the Ruhr Area came out on top in an open ideas competition as part of the Ruhr Conference in 2019. In November of last year, the state government allocated an annually growing budget for 2021 to 2024 totaling 75 million euros. In March 2021, a committee of experts put together by the Council of Science and Humanities gave the UA Ruhr concept the go-ahead. With the cooperation agreement now signed, the next step is to formulate the legal structure of the Research Alliance Ruhr in accordance with the provisions of the North Rhine-Westphalia Higher Education Act.
The University Alliance Ruhr
Ruhr-Universität Bochum, TU Dortmund University and the University of Duisburg-Essen have been closely collaborating as strategic partners under the UA Ruhr umbrella since 2007. By joining forces, these partner universities are able to systematically enhance their performance. Under the motto “Better Together”, there are now over 100 collaborations being conducted in research, teaching and administration. With more than 120,000 students and almost 1,300 professors, the UA Ruhr is one of the largest and most productive scientific locations in Germany.
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Location & approach
The campus of TU Dortmund University is located close to interstate junction Dortmund West, where the Sauerlandlinie A 45 (Frankfurt-Dortmund) crosses the Ruhrschnellweg B 1 / A 40. The best interstate exit to take from A 45 is “Dortmund-Eichlinghofen” (closer to South Campus), and from B 1 / A 40 “Dortmund-Dorstfeld” (closer to North Campus). Signs for the university are located at both exits. Also, there is a new exit before you pass over the B 1-bridge leading into Dortmund.
To get from North Campus to South Campus by car, there is the connection via Vogelpothsweg/Baroper Straße. We recommend you leave your car on one of the parking lots at North Campus and use the H-Bahn (suspended monorail system), which conveniently connects the two campuses.
TU Dortmund University has its own train station (“Dortmund Universität”). From there, suburban trains (S-Bahn) leave for Dortmund main station (“Dortmund Hauptbahnhof”) and Düsseldorf main station via the “Düsseldorf Airport Train Station” (take S-Bahn number 1, which leaves every 15 or 30 minutes). The university is easily reached from Bochum, Essen, Mülheim an der Ruhr and Duisburg.
You can also take the bus or subway train from Dortmund city to the university: From Dortmund main station, you can take any train bound for the Station “Stadtgarten”, usually lines U41, U45, U 47 and U49. At “Stadtgarten” you switch trains and get on line U42 towards “Hombruch”. Look out for the Station “An der Palmweide”. From the bus stop just across the road, busses bound for TU Dortmund University leave every ten minutes (445, 447 and 462). Another option is to take the subway routes U41, U45, U47 and U49 from Dortmund main station to the stop “Dortmund Kampstraße”. From there, take U43 or U44 to the stop “Dortmund Wittener Straße”. Switch to bus line 447 and get off at “Dortmund Universität S”.
The AirportExpress is a fast and convenient means of transport from Dortmund Airport (DTM) to Dortmund Central Station, taking you there in little more than 20 minutes. From Dortmund Central Station, you can continue to the university campus by interurban railway (S-Bahn). A larger range of international flight connections is offered at Düsseldorf Airport (DUS), which is about 60 kilometres away and can be directly reached by S-Bahn from the university station.
The H-Bahn is one of the hallmarks of TU Dortmund University. There are two stations on North Campus. One (“Dortmund Universität S”) is directly located at the suburban train stop, which connects the university directly with the city of Dortmund and the rest of the Ruhr Area. Also from this station, there are connections to the “Technologiepark” and (via South Campus) Eichlinghofen. The other station is located at the dining hall at North Campus and offers a direct connection to South Campus every five minutes.
The facilities of TU Dortmund University are spread over two campuses, the larger Campus North and the smaller Campus South. Additionally, some areas of the university are located in the adjacent “Technologiepark”.