Learning is beyond the classroom


Professor Harald Klein was born in a small city close to Stuttgart, 300 kilometers northwest of Munich. After completing a degree in Process Engineering at the University of Stuttgart, an eager Professor Klein spent one and a half years in the United States obtaining a Masters in Chemical Engineering from the University of Wisconsin. He then returned to Germany to complete his doctoral qualifications, obtaining his PhD in 1996. “I did not plan to return to the university,” said Professor Klein, when quizzed about his career path. He started a career with Linde Engineering after receiving his PhD and it was a decade later when the university came calling again.

The opportunity to join the Technical University of Munich as professor of the Institute of Plant and Process Technology came to me in 2008. 

And what does he do as professor, perhaps one might ask?

“Besides research in process design and unit operation, equipment design and design methods, and modeling and thermodynamic properties, I am also extremely involved in the teaching set-up for our Chemical Engineering students at both the undergraduate (Bachelor) and graduate (Master) levels.”

I want to equip and create an energy and resource-efficient future

Professorship is not an easy job to have. Besides juggling academic administration and research work, one is ultimately devoted to the development of their students. What gives Professor Klein joy?

I am most proud knowing that my students are able to apply the fundamentals we teach in actual problem-solution strategies.

The aim, he says, is to not only equip students with theoretical knowledge, but equally as important is the ability to apply the knowledge. With this conviction, Professor Klein ensures that all Chemical Engineering students have the opportunity to complete real-time experiments on industrial-sized equipment in the laboratories. This conviction has extended itself beyond his classes in Munich, Germany and has reached the shores of a tiny Asian country, Singapore.

Teaching must be kept hands-on and applicable to industry needs

Since 2002, the Technical University of Munich operates a branch campus in Singapore (TUM Asia) and Professor Klein was invited to co-design the Singapore curriculum for the Bachelor degree in Chemical Engineering. The intention was to keep the programme identical to the course in Germany, but adapting it to Asian industry needs. One non-negotiable? Keeping it hands-on and applicable.

 In our chemical engineering design course, the students work hands-on with a professional process simulator to design industrial petro-chemical processes.

“The aim is to teach the students the theoretical principles and their applications to real engineering problems. Thereby, is it important to learn as well how the basic principles can be adapted to all kinds of similar problems,” says Professor Klein.

Why do you make the 14,000-mile journey to teach in Singapore? It is the warm classroom atmosphere, he says. The two-week block module in Singapore forges a special bond between the lecturer and his students that keeps him coming back.

Ultimately, he says, the joy of educating young engineers to make a contribution towards an energy and resource-efficient future is what gives him the greatest satisfaction as an educator.

 To watch them remember what they learn, and apply what they learnt, is my goal as a teaching professor.

Prof. Dr. Harald Klein
Plant & Process Engineering
Prof. Dr. Gerhard Kramer
Chair for Communications Engineering
Prof. Dr. Andreas Herkersdorf
Chair for Integrated Systems


We welcome you to join us on board this mission to create an innovative and sustainable tomorrow. Check out the available programmes at TUM Asia and find the right fit for you. Meet these professors in your classroom and have your own encounter of change with them.

Come and feel their passion, be equipped by the best!