Archive for March, 2020

RWTH develops simple respiratory pump for emergency situations

March 25th, 2020 | by

In an interdisciplinary team, RWTH scientists have developed a very simple respiratory pump for corona infected patients. This pump is to be used exclusively when there are major bottlenecks in hospitals or emergency care facilities.

The pump actuates conventional ventilation bags, so-called ambu-bags, which are normally used for “manual” ventilation. In addition to the ambu-bags, plastic parts from the 3D printer, an electric motor, power supply and small parts – such as screws – are required to build a ventilator pump. A standard FDM 3D printer with at least a 20 x 20-centimeter construction panel is sufficient to produce the plastic parts.

A respiration pump can be built within one day. Thus even volunteers with access to a 3D printer could quickly produce a larger number. The building instructions are available at, where volunteers with access to a 3D printer can also register.

DAAD: Summer semester should not count as standard period of study

March 24th, 2020 | by

The German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) supports the initiative of the German Rectors’ Conference (HRK) for the summer semester 2020 that this should not be credited towards BAföG or counted as a standard period of study, as the corona epidemic will foreseeably make normal classroom teaching impossible. At the same time, the DAAD suggests that the approximately 300,000 foreign students in Germany should receive more support in the current situation. “We emphatically welcome the HRK’s considerations,” said DAAD President Prof. Dr. Joybrato Mukherjee in a statement issued by the service. “In these difficult times, we must all work together to ensure that German and international students do not suffer any disadvantages as a result of the postponement and cancellation of courses and examinations in connection with Corona”. The DAAD would like to call the summer semester an ‘optional semester’, which, in contrast to the obligatory regular semester, offers a wide range of opportunities to try out digital teaching and examination formats and to expand existing models.

In addition, the DAAD President suggested that international students and their social situation in the corona crisis should be given more attention. “We can see that financial emergencies are arising which could lead to a large number of international students no longer being able to afford their studies and livelihood in Germany,” said DAAD Secretary-General Dr. Dorothea Rüland. This must be prevented, she said. The DAAD therefore proposed that the universities be provided with appropriate funds, which would allow them to provide bridge money to students who are particularly affected, in accordance with clear guidelines.

Fab Lab Supports the Fight Against the Corona Pandemic

March 24th, 2020 | by

The Fab Lab of RWTH Aachen University makes its 3D printers, laser cutters, and other digital production machines available for the rapid production of urgently needed parts in the medical sector. In the fight against the corona pandemic, items such as visors for doctors, emergency ventilators for hospitals, and forearm door handles for office doors can be produced. The parts reach local and regional institutions that need to maintain their operations. “We cannot supply certified medical products. But we can help provide for emergencies, where regular hospital stocks are no longer sufficient. Items such as forearm door handles reduce the risk of infection in offices at important institutions. “These are not medical products,” explains Professor Jan Borchers, head of the Media Computing Group at RWTH, where the Fab Lab is located.

The researchers are thus part of a worldwide community organized via social media, where it collects 3D designs for emergency equipment, evaluates their necessity and medical suitability, and then has them produced locally by volunteers. The Fab Lab is supported by the State of North Rhine-Westphalia through the initiative Excellence Start-up Center.NRW at RWTH Aachen University. Prototypes for the examples outlined above are now in production, and the Fab Lab is already working with Uniklinik RWTH Aachen. The team is now seeking contact with other hospitals and similar institutions in the region to meet their specific needs.

Press release

HRK: Summer Semester must not be squandered

March 24th, 2020 | by

For the 2020 summer semester, the German Rectors’ Conference (Hochschulrektorenkonferenz – HRK) calls for disadvantages, especially for students and young researchers, to be limited in the wake of the restrictions caused by the spread of the corona virus. “The nationwide tightening of the contact restrictions in force since Monday in order to contain the corona crisis shows the dynamics of the current situation. Despite these difficult circumstances, the universities attach great importance to maintaining scientific operations in the summer semester 2020. Our sincere thanks and appreciation go to all university members who are doing their utmost to promote teaching and research in the given situation,” explained HRK President Prof. Dr. Peter-André Altin in a press release.

In principle, the 2020 summer semester must definitely be recognised as a regular part of a degree programme or qualification. “In the interests of the students, teachers and researchers, this must not be a wasted semester. All efforts of the universities are aimed at continuing scientific work as comprehensively as possible. This means that for students, this time must count as a period of study if they wish to do so. And for teachers and researchers, there must be no gaps in their biographies in terms of teaching experience or research achievements,” added HRK Vice-President Prof. Dr. Ulrich Radtke. “We want to open up as many examination and degree options as possible and make them legally compliant. However, it is essential that we take into account the fact that many candidates are currently only able to prepare themselves under difficult conditions and that, despite all our efforts, face-to-face courses and examinations can only be partially replaced by digital formats. This must not be to the detriment of those concerned. Compensating for disadvantages, for example by not counting the semester towards the standard period of study or by postponing examination dates, is extremely important for all students, but especially for socially weaker students or students who have to care for families and children. We must also think of the medical students who now support the clinics. Thankfully, the Federal Government has already made a corresponding provision for BAföG,” said HRK President Alt, who also sees the crisis as an opportunity: “The universities will take their responsibility seriously. Science is geared towards solving problems and will therefore also use the opportunities for action offered by digitisation as far as possible”.

NRW state government issues far-reaching ban on contact

March 24th, 2020 | by

Together with the other federal states, the state government of North Rhine-Westphalia has issued a far-reaching ban on contact. The “Ordinance for Protection Against New Infection with the Corona Virus” (CoronaSchVO) is to be understood as a minimum standard.

The following regulations must be observed in all areas of RWTH:

  • Physical work meetings of two or more people may only be carried out if they are absolutely necessary for the current operation of RWTH and a digital form of work cannot be arranged, even with restrictions.
  • A minimum distance of two meters between two people must be observed for all activities. If this is not possible, the activity may only take place under compensation measures previously agreed with the occupational safety department.
  • §1 (1) of the CoronaSchVo. prohibits travelers returning from risk areas from entering the area. The prohibition of entry for persons coming from risk areas naturally also applies to the employees of external contractors.
  • Infected university members (not simply suspected cases) must be reported immediately to the university medical center.

Substantial fines if parties celebrated despite ban

March 23rd, 2020 | by

In the City and StädteRegion of Aachen, police forces and regulatory authorities continued to dissolve crowds of people in parks and on football fields and playgrounds even at the weekend. Some parties also had to be disbanded, and charges had to be laid in cases of non-compliance. The NRW state government’s legal regulations stipulate that “the authorities are required to implement legal regulations by enforcing the provisions vigorously, consistently and, where necessary, with coercive means”. Local authorities are supported in this respect by the police. In a statement, the city confirmed that violations will be prosecuted as administrative offenses with fines of up to EUR 25,000 and as crimes with prison sentences of up to five years. The authorities are required to set fines of at least EUR 200.

Temporary deployment of Microsoft Teams

March 23rd, 2020 | by

Because many people are currently using telephone or video conferencing systems, the DFNConf system is overloaded and therefore unstable. In order to provide employees with a tool supported by the RWTH, the cloud platform Microsoft (MS) Teams will be made available for a limited period of time until the crisis situation has passed. The tool was reduced (as far as technically possible) to absolutely essential services. Furthermore, the transfer of your personal data to Microsoft is carried out via an identity provider (Shibboleth) controlled by RWTH Aachen University. University employees Aachen have access to a separate domain ( administered exclusively by the RWTH.

Information on access to MS Teams for RWTH employees can be found in the right-hand column under

Informationen and instructions on how to use MS Teams can be found in the right-hand column under

Information on current availability can be found at

Employees of the Central University Administration may contact the ZHV Helpdesk directly if you have any questions: +49 241 80 99020


The following key points apply to the provision of MS Teams to RWTH employees:

  • MS Teams is intended for official use. There are no objections against the use for private purposes – to maintain the social exchange with each other.
  • The use of MS Teams is permitted for the following purposes:
    • 1:1 Communication via chats and video calls
    • Chat-, telephone- and video conferences as a replacement for work meetings, meetings etc.
  • No personnel or employee discussions in terms of labour law may be conducted via MS Teams.
  • The use of MS Teams is voluntary. However, the RWTH strongly advises all relatives to replace physical contacts with digital services due to the current risk of infection.
  • There is no behavioural or performance review by MS teams. Any data collected by MS Teams is not usable for such a purpose.

Even if it is a special situation at the moment, the use of MS Teams has to take into account the usual considerations of data and secrecy protection as well as foreign trade law. The respective specialist departments of the Central University Administration will be happy to advise you on this if required. Please also note that the CLS develops and provides parallel services to support digital teaching. You can obtain information on this at

Service Center Waste Management with only limited availability

March 23rd, 2020 | by

Due to the limited availability of personnel, the Service Center Waste Management (SCA) is going into emergency operation. The following measures are necessary to ensure the disposal of time-critical waste at RWTH Aachen University: The Service Center Waste Management is not operational on Mondays and Fridays, but it is staffed from 7:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. from Tuesday to Thursday. During this time, waste can only be accepted by telephone. In addition, SCA employees can be reached by telephone and e-mail during normal office hours.

Leopoldina recommends nationwide shutdown

March 22nd, 2020 | by

The National Academy of Sciences Leopoldina, to which RWTH scientists also belong, has published an ad-hoc statement on health policy options for action against the further spread of coronaviris in Germany. This announcement, by an interdisciplinary working group of the Leopoldina, states that a Germany-wide temporary “shutdown” (approx. 3 weeks) with consequent spatial distance is recommendable from a scientific point of view at this time. Essential and health-preserving activities must remain possible.

Warning against fraud

March 21st, 2020 | by

The City of Aachen warns against fraudsters who pretend to be employees of the public health department and gain access to apartments under the pretext of taking corona samples. In a statement, the City emphasizes that the public health department is not conducting home visits in the wake of the corona crisis. The police should be informed immediately if there is any suspicion of such fraud.