RWTH Aachen University ] is a public research university located in Aachen, North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany. With more than 45,000 students enrolled in 144 study programs, it is the largest technical university in Germany.
In 2011, the university accounted for the highest amount of third-party funds of all German universities in both absolute and relative terms per faculty member. In 2007, RWTH Aachen was chosen by the DFG as one of nine German Universities of Excellence for its future concept RWTH 2020: Meeting Global Challenges and additionally won funding for one graduate school and three clusters of excellence.
RWTH Aachen is a founding member of IDEA League, a strategic alliance of five leading universities of technology in Europe.The university is also a member of TU9, DFG (Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft) and the Top Industrial Managers for Europe network.
On 25 January 1858, prince Frederick William of Prussia (later German emperor), was given a donation of 5,000 talers from the Aachener und Münchener Feuer-Versicherungs-Gesellschaft, the precursor of the AachenMünchener insurance company, for charity. In March, the prince chose to use the donation to found the first Prussian institute of technology somewhere in the Rhine province. The seat of the institution remained undecided over years; while the prince initially favored Koblenz, the cities of Aachen, Bonn, Cologne and Düsseldorf also applied, with Aachen and Cologne being the main competitors. Aachen finally won with a financing concept backed by the insurance company and by local banks. Groundbreaking for the new Polytechnikum took place on 15 May 1865 and lectures started during the Franco-Prussian War on 10 October 1870 with 223 students and 32 teachers. The new institution had as its primary purpose the education of engineers, especially for the mining industry in the Ruhr area; there were schools of chemistry, electrical and mechanical engineering as well as an introductory general school that taught mathematics and natural sciences and some social sciences.