UA Ruhr News Center

30. 09. 2021

Transatlantic Ruhr Fellowship 2021 - Professional Skills in the Age of Digitalization

FOR RELEASE SEPTEMBER 30, 2021 AT 8:00 A.M. EST - Long Do Hoang

This year's Transatlantic Ruhr Fellowship Program (#TRF2021) intensive came to a successful conclusion! Within a span of three weeks, a highly-skilled cohort of students from the Ruhr region engaged with industury professionals and gained valuable insights in subjects such as entrepreneurship, start-up culture, and policy from a transatlantic lens. The fellowship provided a platform for diversifying professional networks, engaging in meaningful relationships with their peers and the invited experts.

The ongoing pandemic permanently altered the social, economic, "digital", and cultural landscape over the past year. It brought to centerstage the divisions and inequities of our global community, while at the same time highlighting the human drive to find common solutions. Workplaces in all sectors, from health care to manufactoring, had to necessarily adapt rapidly to new health and safety guidelines which leaned heavily on digital tools and technologies. Keeping this in the forefront, the Transatlantic Ruhr Fellowship Program launched the "Professional Skills in the Age of Digitalization" Theme in 2021. University Alliance Ruhr decided to run the three-week intensive in a virtual format to leverage the intellectual infrastructure in both the United States and Germany to provide breakthrough conversations that drive innovation and growth for our academic cohort.

Our cohort of twelve outstanding students from the three Universities were hand selected based on professional experience and academic achievements. Representing the most diverse cohort the TRF has ever had, this year's Fellows come from a wide variety of fields like engineering, social sciences, law, STEM subjects, and economics.

The first week of the Fellowship program was held in cooperation with the German American Chamber of Commerce New York (GACC NY). A variety of experienced and influential guest speakers such as Dietmar Rieg, President & CEO of GACC, Benedikt Brisch, Director of DAAD, Kristina Garcia, Director of Berlin Business Office, and Felix Zeltner, Journalist and Co-Founder of Remote Daily allowed insights in specific fields like transatlantic business relations, intercultural experiences and company profiles of international conglomerates such as BBO and Mercedes.

The second week started off with a roundtable chat with Deputy Consul General Wolfram von Heynitz and Consul Yasemin Pamuk of the German Consulate General New York, allowing our Fellows to have a sneak peek into current political development and discourse. In addition to this, the team of the Baker Institute of Lehigh University - led by Lisa Getzler, Chris Kauzmann, and Renée Baran - taught them practical skills like techniques to brainstorming as well as creativity and persuasive communication. They also provided the group the chance to put their newly acquired skills to use in a live case work block by developing strategic solutions for the newly started start-up OcuTrap.

In the third week, once again with the GACC NY, the focus was set on entrepreneurship and the definition of the founders spirit. Speakers like Jan Roessner of One Earth Rising, Marco Gittmann of ifesca, and Christian Busch of the German Accelerator gave our fellows valuable insights in their own personal experiences and visions as sussessful entrepreneurs. To enrich their knowledge with focused perspectives, Kurt Becker of NYU Tandon School, Viola Meyerweissflog of AHK Washington, and Charles H. Matthews of University of Cincinnati also held engaging presentations.

In addition to the robust and full programming of the professional summer school, the program also made sure to include numerous virtual and in-person events to enrich the experience of our fellowship cohort. Virtual cultural experiences included a tour and briefing with the New York United Nations Headquarters and a guided tour with the Tenement Museum. The in-person kick-off brunch gave the fellows the opportunity to connect with each other and form relationships before the virual summer school started. Fun challenges like an American themed cooking competion and the in-person farewell gathering were a big success with everyone and facilitated stronger bonds between the fellows.

All felows productively completed the certificate program at the end of the three weeks marking the 2021 Transatlantic Ruhr Fellowship as a historically diverse and successful program. The fellows reported a steep learning curve and were able to establish  and strengthen their professional networks.

More information about the program can be found in our official brochure: (Coming soon)

Thank You #TRF21
Thank You #TRF21