Sino-German Summer School: "From materials to structures: numerical and experimental methods for safety assessment and design"

 From August 26 to September 4, 2018, the 4th Chinese-German Summer School was successfully held at RWTH Aachen University, Germany. The summer school was jointly applied by Beijing Jiaotong Univeristy (BJTU) and RWTH Aachen University, and sponsored by the Sino-German Center for Research Promotion (Chinesisch-Deutsches Zentrum für Wissenschaftsförderung, hereafter referred as CDZ). It is also the continuation of the cooperation between the two universities after the success of three Chinese-German summer schools in 2012, 2014 and 2016.

The theme of the summer school is “From Materials to Structures: Numerical and Experimental Methods for Safety Assessment and Design”. After an intense application and selection process, 15 Chinese candidates were chosen from Beijing Jiaotong University, Central South University, Jilin University, Southwest Jiaotong University, Xi’an Jiaotong University, China Academy of Railway Sciences Corporation and National Engineering Research Center for High-speed EMU Technology Integration. It is the first time that three self-paid candidates from National Engineering Laboratory Department of CRRC Changchun Railway Vehicles Co., Ltd. and Technology Center of CRRC Qingdao Sifang Co., Ltd. were also encouraged and welcomed to join in the summer school. On Germany’s side, 12 candidates were chosen from RWTH Aachen University and Max-Planck-Institut für Eisenforschung GmbH.  

The opening ceremony was held on the morning of August 27thd, and hosted by Prof. Broeckmann, the German organizer of the summer school and chair of the Institute for Materials Applications in Mechanical Engineering, RWTH Aachen University. Prof. Broeckmann presented welcoming speeches to all attendees. The Chinese organizer, Prof. Zhang introduced the history of the event as well as the achievements from past three summer schools. She also sincerely appreciated CDZ for its financial funding for the event, which gradually pushed forward the activity to a co-branding. This programme acted as a bridge of international communication and established a decent platform for promoting the cultural, academic and scientific research exchanges between universities and research institutions from the two countries. On behalf of the organization team on Germany’s side, Mr. Bezold again welcomed all guests. He also introduced RWTH Aachen University. As a kind of the supplementary pattern for teaching, the summer school was highly appraised, which let students all over the world get to know RWTH Aachen University, and let the RWTH Aachen University provide more international students with resources. 

In this summer school, six lectures whose topics correspond to the theme were presented by internationally recognized researchers. Three lecturers are from RWTH Aachen University, one lecturer is from Beijing Jiaotong University, one lecturer is from KTH Royal Institute of Technology and one lecturer is from Taiyuan University of Science and Technology. The participants raised actively asked questions and communicated with the lecturers. An open and lively atmosphere in the venue led to a delightful outcome in the lecturing process. An important item on the agenda was the seminars. All candidates were required to submit their reports before the summer school, and then divided into nine groups according to their reports’ topics. During the event, all candidates were able to introduce her or his research interests and activities. Speakers also had the opportunity of exchanging ideas and answering questions with audience. The topics of the seminars covered several aspects such as design, management and maintenance in high-speed railway system, fault diagnosis and prediction, characterization of materials and structures, safety design and optimization in automobile industry and micromechanics.

As part of the summer school, five institution tours were arranged to give all participants an opportunity of visiting several outstanding laboratories in and around RWTH Aachen University. 

The closing ceremony was held on the afternoon of September 4th. Applicants from both sides, Prof. Broeckmann and Prof. Zhang summarized the program and considered it as a successful and inspirational cooperation between the two universities. The 10-day programme successfully established not only an academic platform, but also a channel for the cultural exchanges between the two countries. Both sides are willing to take this opportunity to innovate and perfect the form and content for an ongoing summer school in the future, which will make further contribution to the international communication between China and Germany, based on the full recognition of sponsors, partners and participants. Finally, Prof. Broeckmann and Prof. Zhang awarded certificates to all candidates at the end of the closing ceremony.