Joint Programs

The alliance as a whole is a work in progress. Various joint institutions and programs have been launched to date under the framework of the UA Ruhr.

UA Ruhr Joint Programs

Institution Share

The University Alliance Ruhr’s Flagship Program Materials Chain bundles and strengthens the research activities in the field of materials science at the three universities of Dortmund, Bochum and Duisburg/Essen. The goal of the collaboration is to reach a complete and concise description of the whole materials chain – from atoms to finished technical components and vice versa.

The mission of the cluster and Flagship Program is to develop Solvation Science as a new interdisciplinary field to understand the influence of solvation on reactions, on the function of biomolecules, and on processes at liquid/solid interfaces. Sarted in 2012, RESOLV is now the national leading research institution in Solvation Science and one of the top players worldwide.

The UA Ruhr Competence Field "Metropolitan Research" aims to establish an internationally visible center for inter- and transdisciplinary metropolitan research in the midst of the "reality lab Ruhr", bringing together the competencies of the UA Ruhr Universities and their network of non-university research and practice partners.

Research Academy Ruhr is one of the largest and most powerful platforms in Germany to support young researchers and prepare them for careers inside and outside academia. Research Academy Ruhr is sponsored and supported by the three UA Ruhr universities of Bochum, Dortmund, and Duisburg-Essen and is instrumental for the development of UA Ruhr as academic location.


The goal of the Mercator Research Center Ruhr is to foster strategic cooperation within the University Alliance Ruhr and, thereby, to strengthen the Ruhr area as an academic hub. The researchers of the UA Ruhr universities can apply through their respective rectorates for the following types of funding: project support, structure support, personnel support, initial support and strategic funding.

The Kulturwissenschaftliche Institut Essen (KWI) is the interdisciplinary research training program of the UA Ruhr for the humanities. As an international advanced study institute, it is a forum for exploring modern culture in an applied and practical manner. With a broad program of events, the KWI takes part in a dialogue between academia and the public and cultivates close partnerships with cultural institutions and the media.

AREA Ruhr (Alliance for Research on East Asia) is a new joint research alliance of the Faculty of East Asian Studies (EAS, Fakultät für Ostasienwissenschaften), Ruhr University Bochum, and the Institute of East Asian Studies (IN-EAST), University Duisburg-Essen as part of the University Alliance Ruhr (UA Ruhr). Its objective is to facilitate collaborative research and teaching in the area of East Asian Studies. With more than 20 professors, AREA Ruhr will be one of Europe’s largest research hubs in this field.

The UA Ruhr universities cooperate with other universities and research institutions worldwide and are active in international numerous networks. In order to support international exchange, UA Ruhr has established liaison offices abroad and operates offices in New York, Moscow, and São Paulo. These offices also work to establish new research contacts and provide organizational support for various academic projects.

One of the most ambitious and comprehensive projects within UA Ruhr is RuhrCampus³, which represents the creation of a common learning space within the Ruhr area. The students will be able to move freely within the three partner universities and all of their institutes. Students have an automatic auditor status that allows them to attend lectures and register for exams at any of the UA Ruhr universities.

The Global Young Faculty provides a platform for outstanding and dedicated young scholars from the region to get to know one another and to work on interdisciplinary projects. The network is an initiative of Stiftung Mercator in cooperation with the UA Ruhr, which is coordinated by the Mercator Research Centre Ruhr in Essen.

Nearly 20 institutions from science, industry and administration from the Ruhr area have joined forces to form the Dual Career Network Ruhr (DCN Ruhr). The DCN Ruhr supports partners of newly appointed professors in their vocational orientation in the Ruhr area in order to increase the chances of a successful job search in the region. The launch of the DCN Ruhr is funded by the Stiftung Mercator and coordinated by the Mercator Research Center Ruhr (MERCUR).

In order to understand the Universe, the fundamental laws governing astrophysical processes need to be understood. These fundamentals are on the one hand based on particle physics by the description of inelastic particle interactions, in particular at the highest energies. On the other hand, these elementary particles move in a plasma - an ionized state of gas - which is guiding the movement of the particles through the medium. This coupling between particle-, plasma- and astrophysics is uniquely being investigated in the Ruhr Astroparticle and Plasma Physics Center (RAPP Center). The RAPP-Center is one of only a few research centers in the world which gathers experts of all three sub-disciplines of physics in order to connect them with the aim to fundamentally understand our Universe better.

The scientific goal of the Research Training Group (RTG) is to bring together highly qualified researchers working on different aspects of the immune response in various infectious diseases or in vaccine development against pathogens. The educational goal of the RTG is the training of excellent young researchers in infection and immunity. To support this effort, the RTG provides and coordinates a structured 1-year program for MD students, and a regular 3-year PhD or MD/PhD program for young scientists from both natural sciences and medicine. This RTG links the knowledge of distinguished scientists at the Universities of Bochum, Duisburg-Essen and Düsseldorf.

The Research Training Group (RTG) High-dimensional Phenomena in Probability - Fluctuations and Discontinuity offers excellent national and international graduates in the mathematical sciences the opportunity to conduct internationally visible doctoral research in probability theory. The goal of the RTG is to bring together the joint expertise on aspects of high dimension in probability. In the study of random structures in high dimensions, one frequently observes universality in limit theorems (fluctuations) as well as phase transitions (discontinuities). These aspects form the common focus of a large number of currently active research projects in stochastic processes. The cooperation of several research groups will offer the Ph.D. students the unique opportunity to gain experience beyond their own research topic, thus giving a broad scientific education.

'Confinement-controlled Chemistry' is a common factor in outstanding fundamental scientific problems in fields such as energy technology, environmental studies, catalysis, and biomedicine. The researchers from Ruhr-University Bochum and TU Dotmund University have come together for the reason that their theory, spectroscopy, synthesis, and surface science efforts are complementary and will lead to new advances in the emerging field of 'Confinement-controlled Chemistry'.

The HDKR offers a joint forum for doctoral students in history from the University of Duisburg-Essen and the Ruhr-Universität Bochum. In this doctoral training group, current dissertations in the field of recent history are presented and discussed. The goal is to build a network of early career researchers in the discipline of history, and to foster inter-university exchange and the joint discussion of organizational and theoretical issues among doctoral candidates.

The IMPRS-SurMat provides a unique combination of excellent research conditions plus an intensive and interdisciplinary teaching program. The research focuses on questions centered on interfaces of advanced materials. In this context all projects within the IMPRS-SurMat are interdisciplinary - chemists, physicists, material scientists and engineers work together and the research approach can be experimental as well as theoretical.

The IMPRS-CMB in Dortmund provides an interdisciplinary postgraduate program at the interface between Chemical Biology, Biophysics and Cellular Biology. The IMPRS faculty from the Max Planck Institute of Molecular Physiology and its three neighboring universities (TU Dortmund, Ruhr University Bochum and University of Duisburg-Essen) tackles scores of different biological and medicinal problems. Students of the IMPRS-CMB are offered a flexible academic program. The aim of the school is to recruit the best students and provides them generous professional and personal support and ensures careful mentoring.

The MPI CEC is built upon the realization that the best way to achieve energy storage in a sustainable and environmentally friendly way, is to store the energy in chemical bonds. Thus, the goal of our IMPRS is to decouple the primary photochemical processes that lead to capturing of solar energy from its later uses in technology or mobility. Doctoral students will mainly deal with reactivity/structure analysis in the six key energy-conserving chemical reactions. RECHARGE will focus on understanding the atomic level mechanisms of catalytic processes, at both the homogeneous and heterogeneous limits, by using state of the art methods in physical characterization and theory.

The college combines international communication science and journalism with practice-relevant questions in media development assistance. The approach promises new findings for the systematic analysis of the changing framework conditions of media development cooperation, be it in socio-political, economic or technological field. The doctoral students will spend up to one year of practical work at renowned foundations and NGOs.

SecHuman is a graduate school focusing on Security for People in Cyberspace from an inter- and transdisciplinary perspective. 13 PhD students with technical as well as backgrounds in humanities explore issues in IT-Security. Companies as well as partners from politics serve as advisors, making sure that the questions in focus are of relevance for society. Besides the technical disciplines, researchers from various fields including education, journalism, linguistics, media science, peace research, as well as social science serve as principal investigators in the project.

Under the leadership of TU Dortmund University, the PhD candidates of the interdisciplinary college address the comprehensive questions, which factors influence the sustainable, energetic development of urban quarters and how and energy-efficient development can be promoted. Until now the focus of energy efficiency measures was on the single building; this college will concentrate on the quarter. Because the complexity of the research topic demands for a comprehensive, integrated approach, there are social scientists, urban planners, economists, electrical engineers, and lawyers involved in the project. Until the end of 2018 11 candidates will write their thesis at 8 different chairs at the 3 universities of the Universitätsallianz Ruhr, as well as at Bochum University of Applied Science, and Wuppertal Institute for Climate, Environment and Energy.

The Ministry of Innovation, Science and Research NRW promotes the doctoral training in water research of the UAR in the Fortschrittskolleg FUTURE WATER. Inter- and transdisciplinarity are in the focus of the activities and are assured by the consortium with members of the University of Duisburg-Essen, the Ruhr University Bochum, the EBZ Business School, the University Ruhr West, the Institute for Advanced Study in the Humanities and the IUTA e.V. under the auspices of the Centre for Water and Environmental Research (UDE) and by the participation of numerous industry and practice partners. In addition to their specific promotion projects the PhD students are concerned with the many facets of sustainable urban water management.

RIMUR (Regulatory Immune Mechanisms Doctoral College at the University Alliance Ruhr) is a program to enable assistant physicians to write a scientific doctoral thesis after completing their studies. In immunology and infectiology, the University of Duisburg-Essen and the Ruhr-University Bochum have a strong and long-standing expertise. The doctoral college will be integrated into the existing network of graduate schools at the universities of Duisburg-Essen and Bochum: Graduate School of Biomedical Science (BIOME), RUB Research School and International Graduate School Neuroscience (IGNS).


The Ruhr Graduate School in Economics (RGS Econ) is a joint project of the UA Ruhr universities and a doctorate program in economics offered by the Rheinisch-Westfälisches Institut für Wirtschaftsforschung. RGS Econ offers an innovative academic and research program in theoretical and empirical economics, conducted entirely in English. The focus areas include theoretical modeling and econometric analysis of economic processes.

The RuhrCenter of American Studies brings together the research on American Studies at the Ruhr-University Bochum, TU Dortmund University, and the University Duisburg-Essen. The RuhrCenter works to enhance academic and interdisciplinary co-operation between its members and beyond. It aims at developing new and effective methods of doctoral education. In January 2018, the doctoral college "Scripts for Postindustrial Urban Futures: American Models, Transatlantic Interventions", founded by VolkswagenStiftung, started. The RuhrCenter of American Studies fosters the general promotion and exchange of current research in the field of American Studies by organizing talks and lectures of guest researchers.

The School of International and Intercultural Communication | SIIC, supported by MERCUR , is a joint project of the UA Ruhr in the field of communication, media, and journalism studies. SIIC aims to deepen the relationships of the involved institutes in research and teaching and intends to strongly internationalize the UA Ruhr by offering a platform for a structured PhD program for dissertation projects with an explicit focus on international and/or intercultural research issues.

The UA Ruhr Graduate Centre for Development Studies is a collaboration project between the Institute of Development Research and Development Policy (IEE), Ruhr-University Bochum, the Institute of Political Science (IfP), University Duisburg-Essen and the Institute for Development and Peace (INEF), University Duisburg-Essen. Major features of the Centre are the interdisciplinary approach to development issues and the international focus. Complementary specializations in political science, economics, sociology and law benefit cooperation activities in research and postgraduate teaching.


Faculty members from Dortmund and Bochum collaborate in within the Engineering Unit Ruhr. While Dortmund is particularly strong in logistics and production technology, Bochum's strengths lie in areas like materials, construction, and energy technology. With four DFG collaborative research centers and 30 million euros of third-party funding, the Engineering Unit Ruhr is one of Germany’s strongest research institutes in mechanical engineering.

The Ruhr Alliance EE&IT is an integration of the Bochum and Dortmund Faculty for Electrical Engineering and Information Technology. Students of the Ruhr Alliance EE&IT are enrolled at one of the two universities but can take advantage of the full spectrum of teaching and research activities of both EE&IT faculties. The EE&IT faculties offer a forward-thinking engineering education with emphasis on energy technology, medical technology, plasma technology, microsystems technology, and nanoelectronics.

The Ruhr Alliance EE&IT is an integration of the Bochum and Dortmund Faculty for Electrical Engineering and Information Technology. Students of the Ruhr Alliance EE&IT are enrolled at one of the two universities but can take advantage of the full spectrum of teaching and research activities of both EE&IT faculties. The EE&IT faculties offer a forward-thinking engineering education with emphasis on energy technology, medical technology, plasma technology, microsystems technology, and nanoelectronics.

The Civil Engineering Unit Ruhr educates engineers in civil engineering, including environmental technology as well as computational engineering. The civil engineers of the Ruhr-Universität Bochum and the University of Duisburg-Essen network through cooperation in learning and intensive joint research. Master’s students in particular profit from the pooling of these resources and therefore have more diverse opportunities to specialize in whatever fields they like.

The advanced Masters Course „Biodiversity” is an interdisciplinary degree program, which is jointly launched by the Ruhr-University Bochum and the University Duisburg/Essen. Since 2013/14 international Bachelor students of all fields of Bioscience studies can apply for this innovative and practical MSc program. A team of 12 professors represents the complex and diverse topics within the field of biodiversity research. Hereby, the program offers a broad range of opportunities for interdisciplinary and specialized research courses for all master candidates. Compared to other Study programs, the “MSc Biodiversity” in Bochum and Duisburg/Essen is outstanding for an innovative, multifaceted and interdisciplinary curriculum as well as for a unique research focus in the field of microorganisms such as fungi and protists.

Der UA Ruhr-Masterstudiengang „Medizinphysik“ wird gemeinsam von der Fakultät Physik der TU Dortmund sowie der Fakultät für Physik und Astronomie der Ruhr-Universität Bochum getragen, um die vorhandene Ausbildungs- und Forschungsaktivitäten zu bündeln und den Studierenden ein breites Angebot an Themen der Medizinphysik anbieten zu können. Mit seiner thematischen Breite ist der Masterstudiengang in Deutschland einzigartig.

The MERCUR funded master’s degree programme “Empirical Multilingualism Research” is offered jointly by Ruhr University Bochum and TU University Dortmund. From the academic year 2018/19 on, holders of bachelor degrees in linguistics or philologies are given the opportunity to specialize in linguistically oriented empirical research in multilingualism. Students are able to choose from a variety of linguistic as well as methodological specializations which combine the competencies of both participating universities in order to forge their individual academic profile.

East asia gets closer: Three major german research organisations, specialisted on east asia, will cooperate strategially in the future: The faculties of east asian studies at the Ruhr Universität Bochum and the Universität Duisburg-Essen and the Mercator Institute for China Studies (MERICS) located in Berlin.

Every year, selected students from Princeton University, the University of Pennsylvania, Harvard University, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the University of California, Berkeley, the Yale University and the Lehigh University are invited by the University Alliance Ruhr (TU Dortmund University, Ruhr-Universität Bochum and the University of Duisburg-Essen) to experience a unique two-month summer program combined with an internship and explore the cultural, industrial and academic landscape of the Ruhr Area.

The Transatlantic Ruhr Fellowship provides highly motivated students from the University Alliance Ruhr with a unique experience to expand their portfolio and networks to the New York metropolitan area. In a program that combines a one-week summer school, a one-week skills training workshop and a six-week internship, you will learn about topics such as entrepreneurship, global markets and regional labor relations while gaining hands-on working experience during your internships at companies and international organizations in the New York metropolitan area.

The universities in Bochum and Dortmund have a cooperation agreement for teacher education at both universities. Through a “Spagat Studium” it is possible to study, for example, one academic discipline at Ruhr University Bochum and another at TU Dortmund University.

Each semester, the Faculty of Social Science at Ruhr-Universität Bochum and the Institutes of Political Science and Sociology at the University of Duisburg-Essen publish a joint course list detailing the English course offer, thereby allowing students to take advantage of the UAR’s mobility structures more easily and take classes at both universities. In addition, exchange students have access to counselling at both universities to help them with administrative and academic questions.

The three UA Ruhr universities have created an alliance on the basis of their physical proximity so that they can offer the students in the region better study and research opportunities. Through this cooperation it is possible for students to attend lectures at different universities and thereby gain access to a broad spectrum of knowledge and experience. This includes opportunities not only for university students and researchers, but also exciting programs and projects for school-age students.

To assure the same and high level of data protection for all partner universities the Data Protection Officers cooperate on many processes coordinated by the data protection office. The office is the contact point for all matters regarding data protection for employees, students as well as other third parties whose personal data is stored at one of the universities in the alliance.

New forms of working and communication raise questions concerning users’ rights. Copyright law determines the rights that creators have in the use of protected materials in private use, research, and education. The Copyright Law Working Group provides necessary information about regulations relating to creatorship, library usage, and web design, and helps point out what you as a user need to look out for in practice.

The internal audit of the UA Ruhr is one of the key pieces of quality management in the area of administration. Through the comparative examination of our processes and resources, opportunities for optimization become apparent. These evaluations serve to uncover weaknesses and provide suggestions for avoiding them in the future.

The central IT provider of the three partner universities pools the IT services of each university and makes them available to all students throughout the UA Ruhr. The University of Duisburg-Essen focuses on the area of data management and data security (backup), Ruhr University Bochum has taken on the area of virtualization, while TU Dortmund University is responsible for housing and high-performance computing. Through this distribution of responsibilities, each partner is relieved and can further improve their specialized services.

For the purpose of a systematical build-up and the coordination of intensified networking activities between the 43 DAAD-funded “Development-Related Postgraduate Courses” (EPOS-Network), the master programmes “Development Management” at the Ruhr-University Bochum and “SPRING” at the Faculty for Spatial Planning at the Technical University of Dortmund have recruited Robin Pass as a Network-Coordinator. Robin Pass tasks include, amongst others, the enhancement of the attractiveness of the EPOS-Network as an international offer in the development-related postgraduate qualification.