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 Cooperations

Research cooperations and institutes

In the Research Center One Health Ruhr, the UA Ruhr universities bring together their top-level research in the fields of molecular biology, water research, molecular cancer research and neuroscience. The vision of the researchers is to develop the topic of health in its significance and interaction of environment and humans as an internationally exemplary lighthouse project.

In the Research Center Chemical Sciences and Sustainability, the universities combine internationally visible and excellent solvent research to improve the understanding of solvation-guided processes as well as reactions in the liquid phase. The Center integrates expertise from a variety of scientific and engineering disciplines.

The Research Center Trustworthy Data Science and Security unites the current, outstanding expertise of the three universities in the fields of social and data sciences and IT security. A unique human-centered research approach covers all interdisciplinary research on trustworthy data analytics, explainable machine learning, and privacy-friendly algorithms.

In the Research Center Future Energy Materials and Systems, the universities pool their complementary expertise in the disciplines of materials science, physics, chemistry, computer science, mechanical engineering, process engineering and electrical engineering. The scientists pursue the vision of researching system-capable materials for future-proof energy technologies.

The College for Social Sciences and Humanities contributes to an increased visibility of the humanities and social sciences. Through Fellow programs, innovative questions and forms of collaboration can be developed in discussion with international guests. It sees itself as a forum in which established research foci of the UA Ruhr can be further developed with new ones.

The mission of the Cluster of Excellence RESOLV 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 SFB 1280 investigates the neural, behavioral, educational, ontogenetic and clinical mechanisms of extinction learning in different species including humans. This combines the systemic and technical diversity of the research approaches with a high degree of uniformity at the structural, experimental, technical and conceptual levels. Partners of the RUB are the Medical Faculty of the University Duisburg-Essen, the Leibniz Research Centre for Working Environment and Human Factors at the TU Dortmund University and the Philipps-Universität Marburg. The Bochum University Hospital Bergmannsheil with its excellent imaging infrastructure is also essential for the successful research in the SFB 1280.

The researchers in this CRC want to understand how the interplay between molecular signals and the regulatory switches works, which together trigger the transitions between defined cell states. This interplay, so far insufficiently understood, is crucial for cell growth and division, but also for the development and treatability of cancer. Researchers from the Faculty of Biology, the Faculty of Medicine and the Center of Medical Biotechnology of the UDE, as well as scientists from the TU Dortmund University and the MPI of Molecular Physiology in Dortmund are involved in the project.

The CRC RESIST aims to understand how different stresses individually and in combination affect stream biodiversity and functions, and how previously stressed ecosystems recover. A broad range of methods is used to investigate the effects of multiple stressors on all components of the stream food web (from viruses to fish) and on four ecosystem functions.

The Collaborative Research Center combines the subfields of astro-, plasma-, astroparticle- and particle physics. 16 leading researchers, including from the Ruhr Astroparticle and Plasma Physics Center, the RUB and the TU Dortmund University, are collaborating in 13 subprojects to create a unified picture of the detectable traces of interacting matter. They aim to understand how regular galaxies like our Milky Way work, as well as the ones with an active supermassive black hole at their core. To this end, they combine theoretical astrophysical models with experimental observations of all wavelengths and particles.

The vision of the SFB/TR 196 is to precisely and dynamically characterize and localize even moving materials in our daily surroundings. In order to achieve this vision, suitable devices and overall systems are needed to carry out the localization, characterization and visualization of materials. The final goal is the achievement of a mobile material transceiver that can either be interpreted as a novel compact sensory organ that extends the human senses or, on a more industrial level, as a device that systematically creates material maps for searching and classifying objects in arbitrary environments. Further partners are the University of Wuppertal (BUW), the Technische Universität Darmstadt, the Fraunhofer Institute for High Frequency Physics and Radar Techniques and the Fraunhofer Institute for Microelectronic Circuits and Systems.

The aim of the SFB/TR 247 is to understand oxide catalysis in detail and to raise the knowledge about it to the level of metal catalysis. The members of the SFB/TR 247 want to gain basic knowledge about catalysis, because the understanding of catalytic processes often cannot keep up with the practical application of catalysts. The Max Planck Institutes for Chemical Energy Conversion and Coal Research in Mülheim/Ruhr and the Fritz Haber Institute in Berlin are also involved.

The Institute for Advanced Study in the Humanities (KWI) is the interdisciplinary research college of the UA Ruhr for humanities and cultural studies in the tradition of international institutes for advanced study. The KWI cooperates with the researchers of the host universities and other partners in NRW and at national and international level. Within the Ruhr area, the KWI offers a place where the results of ambitious cultural research can be shared and discussed with interested parties from the city and the region. The main areas of research are: Cultural science research, sociology of culture and literature, science communication and a "teaching laboratory".

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.

AREA Ruhr (Alliance for Research on East Asia) is a 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.

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.

The University Alliance Ruhr’s Competence Field "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.

In the competence field of Empirical Economic Research, the UA Ruhr universities work in close cooperation with the RWI – Leibniz Institute for Economic Research. They aim to identify and predict economic and social developments and their consequences at an early stage, and to evaluate the effects of economic policy measures on the basis of hard data, thus contributing to evidence-based policies.

In the Competence Field "Energy - System - Transformation", interdisciplinary research is carried out across universities in order to advance the overall energy system transformation through selected technologies of energy conversion, transmission and efficient energy application as well as their economic and social consideration.

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.

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.

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 was funded by the Stiftung Mercator and coordinated by the Mercator Research Center Ruhr (MERCUR). The RVR has been coordinating the DCN Ruhr since 2020.

FAIR research data for excellent research: the RDM service centers of the three universities promote the reproducibility and reusability of research data as an essential element of sustainable research. Individual consultations, tailor-made seminars and supporting software tools for research data management help researchers at the UA Ruhr to make their research data FAIR ("findable, accessible, interoperable, reusable").

Graduate programs and institutes

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 Graduate Program „Regional Disparities and Economic Policy“ studies the causes and consequences of regional disparities from different angles, for example with regard to local labor markets, health care, migration and trade, technological change or public finance. A better understanding of the spatial economy is an important contribution towards better targeted public policies.

'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 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 research group "Scripts for Postindustrial Urban Futures: American Models, Transatlantic Interventions" (short: City Scripts) explores the imaginative strategies and narrative scenarios which the centers of old industries (steel, coal and cars) in the United States and Germany are devising to forge paths into their futures. Funded by the Volkswagen Stiftung for four years, City Scripts is a joint endeavor of the American Studies Departments of the University Alliance Ruhr (Duisburg-Essen, Bochum, Dortmund).

Founded by VWStiftung, 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.

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. 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.

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 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.

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.

Interuniversity study programs

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 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.

Econometrics is a four-semester, English-language master’s program established by TU Dortmund University, Ruhr University Bochum and the University of Duisburg-Essen – the first degree program to be run jointly by all three UAR universities and commences in winter 2019. The program combines the expertise and breadth of the three participating economics faculties in empirical economic research and economics with the methodically oriented training of the statisticians and econometricians at Germany’s only Faculty of Statistics in Dortmund.

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.

The UA Ruhr Master's program "Medical Physics" is jointly supported by the Faculty of Physics of the TU Dortmund and the Faculty of Physics and Astronomy of the Ruhr-University Bochum in order to bundle the existing educational and research activities and to be able to offer students a wide range of topics in medical physics. With its thematic breadth, the Master's programme is unique in Germany.

The UA Ruhr universities are joining forces with Düsseldorf University of Applied Sciences to establish four continuing education Master's degree courses in the field of the energy transition for international students. The English-language courses are to be based at the EUREF-Campus Düsseldorf, where companies in the region will be working on the future topics of energy, mobility and sustainability from 2024. The first enrolments are planned for the winter semester 2025/2026.

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.

In the Engineering Allianz Ruhr (EAR), all three UA Ruhr universities cooperate in the field of mechanical engineering. The faculties open up their high-quality courses in the elective areas to each other even more strongly and communicate the existing offers to prospective students even more purposefully via a common web portal. The EAR aims to improve the attractiveness and visibility of research and teaching in mechanical engineering in the coordinated cooperation within the UA Ruhr.

The program Lehramtsstipendium Ruhr - Deine Region. Deine Chance. (Ruhr teaching scholarship) supports committed student teachers at the UA Ruhr who are interested in educational equality. It enables the scholarship holders to deal intensively with the topic of educational justice during their studies and thus prepare them for their future work as teachers at schools in challenging situations. The RAG-Stiftung and the Wübben Stiftung Bildung are the partners of the UA Ruhr.

International Liaison Offices

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 and Eastern Europe/Central Asia. These offices also work to establish new research contacts and provide organizational support for various academic projects. The mission of UA Ruhr New York is to facilitate and promote innovative transatlantic collaborations in research and education between the UA Ruhr universities and partners in North America. Our liaison office enhances and expands cutting-edge international research and education opportunities for researchers and students and their collaborating partners to assist in extending programs throughout the Ruhr region and in North America, and ultimately help them develop solutions for global challenges.

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 and Eastern Europe/Central Asia. These offices also work to establish new research contacts and provide organizational support for various academic projects. The Liaison Office Eastern Europe and Central Asia (EECA) is the immediate partner for researchers, students and alumni of the university alliance Ruhr (UA Ruhr) interested the region of Eastern Europe and Central Asia. We help those seeking to initiate cooperation and support ongoing projects. We are also the first point of contact for students and professional researchers coming from EECA countries interested in the many and diverse opportunities offered by the UA Ruhr.

The Transatlantic Ruhr Fellowship Program provides highly motivated and high performing students from the University Alliance Ruhr with a unique experience to expand their portfolio and networks to New York’s tristate area. North America’s most populous area and the center of many industries such as finance, international trade, biotechnology, manufacturing and media.

The Ruhr Fellowship Program connects highly motivated undergraduate students in the United States with a unique experience to expand their portfolio and networks to one of the most dynamic and technologically advanced areas in Germany. As Germany’s “Cradle of Industry”, the Ruhr Area has come to represent creativity and innovation with its internationally renowned companies, universities and research institutes.

The "Studybridge" is a study preparation programme launched by the Goethe-Institut and the DAAD in cooperation with the University Alliance Ruhr, which provides students from non-EU countries with direct access to the study of STEM and economic subjects at the universities of the UA Ruhr. The programme is coordinated by the UA Ruhr Office Eastern Europe/Central Asia (EECA).


The Founder Initiative Ruhr is a platform of the University Alliance Ruhr to coordinate activities in the promotion of start-ups and knowledge and technology transfer as well as to initiate new projects. It is supported by the Center for Entrepreneurship and Transfer at TU Dortmund University (CET), the Worldfactory at Ruhr-Universität Bochum and the Center for Start-ups and Innopreneurship at the University of Duisburg-Essen (GUIDE).

In 2016, the UA Ruhr universities became members of Initiativkreis Ruhr, a strong economic alliance of more than 70 companies and institutions from the Ruhr region. The common goal is to further raise the profile of the Ruhr region as a science and talent region by intensifying the transfer of expertise and technology between business and science and expanding and promoting knowledge- and technology-based start-ups.

The Worldfactory Start-up Center at RUB, the Center for Entrepreneurship & Transfer at TU Dortmund University and the Center for Start-ups and Innopreneurship at UDE are cooperating with BRYCK, an innovation hub for founders and start-ups, with the aim of strengthening the existing start-up ecosystem in the Ruhr Area. In particular, the aim is to increase the start-up motivation and entrepreneurial mindset of UA Ruhr members.

In the Ruhr School of Design Thinking, ten chairs from various disciplines from the UA Ruhr universities have joined forces with the CET at TU Dortmund University, Service Learning and societal transfer center UNIAKTIV (UDE) and the Worldfactory Start-up Center including the RUB Makerspace to shape structural change in the Ruhr Area through interdisciplinary, innovative and transfer-oriented teaching and research.