April 4, 2017 | German–Canadian collaboration: DLR@UBC

Materials and structures for global mobility

  • The cooperation between the German Aerospace Center (DLR) and the Canadian University of British Columbia (UBC) will be expanded and intensified in the coming months.
  • The focus of the partnership is the development of materials and structures for global mobility in the aviation and transport sector.
  • In addition, DLR and UBC intend to cooperate with MTU Maintenance Canada in the development of commercial aircraft engines.

Since September 2016, the German Aerospace Center (Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt; DLR) and Canadian University of British Columbia (UBC) have been successfully collaborating as part of the DLR@UBC initiative. This partnership is set to strengthen over the next few months. The Chair of the DLR Executive Board Pascale Ehrenfreund and President of UBC Santa Ono agreed on this during a meeting in Vancouver on 31 March 2017.

"Following the launch of DLR@UBC last year, we now want to take the next steps to strategically expand our collaboration. With UBC as a partner, we are addressing global challenges such as sustainable mobility through international teamwork. At the same time, we want to encourage technology transfer and exchanges with industrial companies in both our countries and integrate this into the initiative," emphasised Ehrenfreund during her visit to Canada.

The vision of DLR@UBC builds upon the research and innovation strengths here at UBC and at DLR. There is an intensive effort in this partnership to 'move the needle' for the transfer of research, which will impact industry in Canada and in Germany. Now is the time to step forward with innovative programmes that include student mobility and new faculty appointments. I am a strong advocate for extending this opportunity system-wide at UBC, and want to be very active in supporting this partnership.

Technologies for the mobility of the future

The focus of the collaboration is on the development of materials and structures for global mobility. For this, German and Canadian researchers are working together on ideas for the factory of the future. A key element to this is the interaction between man and machine in the production process. The development of technologies in the field of fibre composites, as well as lightweight construction and concepts for road and rail vehicles are additional important focal points of interest.

Alongside joint research projects and workshops, the exchange of scientists, students and doctoral candidates forms a key part of the initiative. Two DLR liaison offices at the UBC campus and one UBC office at DLR's site in Augsburg are coordinating the German –Canadian collaboration and establishing contact with industrial companies.

Sustainable engines: cooperation with MTU Maintenance Canada

As part of the visit, the DLR, UBC and MTU Maintenance Canada signed a Memorandum of Understanding. The company is dedicated to the maintenance of aircraft engines and is part of MTU Aero Engines, a global engine manufacturer. In the future, the partners want to pool their expertise and conduct joint research in the field of sustainable and economical aeroengines. The DLR@UBC initiative also includes collaborations with industry partners KUKA and Ford USA.

For the future: further research topics and joint programmes

In addition to a joint doctoral programme and joint assignments, new topics will be added, which will involve other DLR institutes and UBC faculties participating in the DLR@UBC initiative. This includes research into sustainable engines for aircraft with a particular focus on components, combustion processes and the use of biofuels – as well as the topics of digitalisation, augmented reality, Big Data and quantum computing. Furthermore, additional UBC liaison offices will be opened at DLR sites.

Currently involved institutes and faculties

From DLR, the To the Institute's website and the Institute of Vehicle Concepts, both based in Stuttgart, as well as the Institute of Composite Structures and Adaptive Systems located in Braunschweig are bringing their expertise to the DLR@UBC initiative. On the Canadian side, both the Mechanical Engineering and Materials Engineering departments of the Faculty of Applied Science are taking part in the collaboration.


Denise Nüssle

German Aerospace Center (DLR)
Corporate Communications
Pfaffenwaldring 38-40, 70569 Stuttgart
Tel: +49 711 6862-8086

Prof. Dr. Heinz Voggenreiter

Head of the Institute
German Aerospace Center (DLR)
Institute of Materials Research
Linder Höhe, 51147 Cologne

Nicole Waibel

German Aerospace Center (DLR)
Institute of Structures and Design
Center for Lightweight Production Technology (ZLP)
Linder Höhe, 51147 Cologne

Marc Jochemich

German Aerospace Center (DLR)
International Relations
Head of DLR Washington Office
Linder Höhe, 51147 Köln