Press Release 046/2011

Daimler AG, Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, and the State of Baden-Wuerttemberg Launch PhD Re-search Group

Daimler and KIT Extend Cooperation in the Field of Electromobility with State Funding
Die Doktoranden im Promotionskolleg werden in wichtigen Feldern der Elektromobilität forschen. (Foto: Andrea Fabry)
PhD students will conduct research into major fields of electromobility. (Photo: Andrea Fabry)

Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) and Daimler AG establish a joint PhD research group focusing on electromobility. For a period of four years, Daimler will supply EUR 1.75 million in total to fund nine PhD students. The Ministry of Science, Research, and the Arts, Baden-Wuerttemberg (MWK), supports the project with another EUR 500,000. The Behr company, systems supplier of automotive industry, also is cooperation partner and funds another PhD student. The PhD research group at the Project House E-drive is open in principle to other interested small- and medium-sized enterprises for participation.

With the PhD research group, the partners wish to enhance transfer between science and industry in the future-oriented field of electro-mobility. In this way, Daimler and KIT extend their research coopera-tion under the Project House E-drive that was founded by both part-ners in 2008 to accelerate the commercialization of electric and hybrid vehicles.

The State Minister of Science, Professor Dr. Peter Frankenberg, said: “The PhD research group is a milestone in the cooperation between science and industry. It opens up new chances for young scientists to further qualify and to conduct research into a major technology for the future – in cooperation with partners from industry and with a large potential of applications in practice.” In his opinion, the high commitment of Daimler AG and the Behr company reflects the high trust of industry in the power of university research in Baden-Wuerttemberg.

Dr. Dieter Zetsche, CEO of Daimler AG and Head of Mercedes-Benz Cars: “Top technology needs top research. This is why Daimler is constantly searching for young scientists, who are among the best of their discipline, and we find them at KIT. The new PhD research group will also contribute to bringing viable ideas much more rapidly onto the road.”

“The PhD research group at the Project House E-drive is another important element of the comprehensive research and teaching activities of KIT in the field of electromobility,” emphasize the KIT Presidents, Professors Eberhard Umbach and Horst Hippler. “The PhD research group fits ideally to the Competence E strategy of KIT to study the complete system from the energy store to the electric power train not only on the level of individual components, but also on the systems level.”

For a duration of four years, ten PhD students from various engi-neering disciplines will study important aspects of electromobility, for example, power electronics or electrification of the power train. The candidates will be selected by a steering committee consisting of representatives of KIT, Daimler, and Behr. The PhD students will be supervised by KIT together with one of both partners. The rooms and laboratory infrastructure will be provided by KIT. The PhD students will conduct research at KIT for three quarters of their working time. As it is the case for shared professorships, an instrument of KIT research funding with professors working at KIT and in industry in parallel, the PhD students will also be involved in the research and development work of Daimler. To further intensify know-how transfer, the PhD research group members will participate in close-to-the-job qualification seminars and curricula of the Daimler Technical Academy. Vice versa, employees of Daimler will join training at KIT. These close interconnections make the PhD research group stand out from other research groups established so far.

The PhD students of mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, information technology, and chemical engineering will also be active in teaching their disciplines at KIT. A major constituent of the PhD program is a stay abroad of three months’ duration at companies and research institutions working in the field of electromobility.

About Daimler
By the invention of the automobile in 1886, the company founders Gottlieb Daimler and Carl Benz made history. With its business units of Mercedes-Benz Cars, Daimler Trucks, Mercedes-Benz Vans, Daimler Buses, and Daimler Financial Services, the automotive manufacturer is among the largest suppliers of premium passenger cars and the largest manufacturer of commercial vehicles worldwide. As a pioneer of automotive manufacture, Daimler is also designing future mobility today: The enterprise focuses on innovative and green technologies as well as on safe and high-quality vehicles that fascinate and enthuse their customers. As regards the development of alternative drive trains, Daimler is the only automotive manufacturer that invests in both the hybrid and the electric engine and in the fuel cell, the objective being emission-free driving in the long term.

About the MWK
The Ministry of Science, Research, and the Arts is responsible for key areas of Baden-Wuerttemberg politics. As supreme state au-thority, the Ministry is responsible for all universities of the state, for most non-university research institutions, for the scientific libraries and archives as well as for major arts institutions in Baden-Wuerttemberg. Presently, about 70 state-funded and private univer-sities exist in Baden-Wuerttemberg. Apart form the universities, more than 100 research institutions are located in Baden-Wuerttemberg, of these, 12 research institutions of the Max Planck Society, 15 institutions of the Fraunhofer Society, 13 contract research institutions, and two large-scale research institutions of the Helmholtz Association. The Ministry of Science is sharing the institutional and project funding of many of these institutions.



Being “The Research University in the Helmholtz Association”, KIT creates and imparts knowledge for the society and the environment. It is the objective to make significant contributions to the global challenges in the fields of energy, mobility, and information. For this, about 9,600 employees cooperate in a broad range of disciplines in natural sciences, engineering sciences, economics, and the humanities and social sciences. KIT prepares its 23,300 students for responsible tasks in society, industry, and science by offering research-based study programs. Innovation efforts at KIT build a bridge between important scientific findings and their application for the benefit of society, economic prosperity, and the preservation of our natural basis of life. KIT is one of the German universities of excellence.

lg, 17.03.2011


Monika Landgraf
Head of Corporate Communications, Chief Press Officer
Phone: +49 721 608-41150
Fax: +49 721 608-43658
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