Robert Peters studied economic science, linguistics and literature science at RWTH Aachen University. He received the “Springorum Commemorative Medal” from the school of business and economics for his diploma.

From 2009 to 2015 Robert Peters worked as press assistant at the university sports department. Furthermore, he worked as external instructor for a regional energy provider in october 2014 and since may 2015 he is working as a freelance moderator.

Since september 2015 Robert Peters has been working for the institute as research associate. He is a mentor of a project for regional economic implications of industry 4.0, funded by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG).



Dissertation Project

Development analysis of the regional needle industry: Reciprocity of actors-structure-relations in process of transformation.

Company and industry structures are subject to permanent innovation-induced change. Established structures determine the scope of action for actors; they open up and limit the spectrum of options for action. Actors in turn act under structural influencing factors and reproduce and change structures as a result of their actions. The project "Reciprocity of Structure-Actor Relationships in Innovation-Induced Transformation Processes: A study using the example of the needle industry" examines long-term technological and economic development paths using the example of the needle industry. Existing innovation-theoretical concepts will be further developed.

While the Aachen region has been one of the world's leading production locations for centuries, the industry was increasingly declining in the second half of the 20th century. The industrial structural change finally resulted in a complete decline of the industry. Only one company has succeeded in establishing a business model that is sustainable in the long term and in successfully shaping structural change. Rhein-Nadel Automation GmbH (RNA) is today the world market leader in the field of automated feeding technology. As a provider of industry 4.0 solutions, the company is thus a cross-sector partner worldwide in the shaping of digital change.

The central questions of the project include:

What are the economic and technological reasons for the decline of the former model industry? How, of all things, did the RNA of structural change succeed? Why did the other needle manufacturers in Aachen not succeed in this transformation?

DFG Project

Regional economic implications of industry 4.0 in relational perspective: Innovation, evolution, organisation and interaction; examined at the example of the german textile industry.

The digital transformation presents all sectors with new challenges. The German textile industry and the textile machinery industry are also confronted with new technological and economic issues. But what needs to be done? How can companies and political actors shape the digital future of this traditional industry? The interdisciplinary project WiSoTex4.0 of the German Research Foundation deals with the development of forecast scenarios for the textile industry in Germany in the year 2030. The aim is to derive recommendations for action for decision-makers in companies and politics, for the management of the digital transformation.

Since spring 2017 the LuF Wirtschafts-, Sozial- und Technologiegeschichte, the Institut für Textiltechnik (ITA) and the Lehrstuhl für Wirtschaftsgeographie have been working together in this project. Three focus regions will be examined in more detail: Aachen/Linker Niederrhein, the western Münsterland and Westsachsen/Hof.

Together with around 50 partners from industry and science, scenarios and recommendations for action will be developed by the end of 2018. At the beginning of 2019, the three institutes will start implementation talks in the focus regions.


Publications and Presentations


  • Daniel, Volker; Peters, Robert. Greece and the media – A qualitative assessment of the news impact on credit conditions in the Greek debt crisis. In (eds.) Peters, Robert; Altmann Philip, “Complexity and Truth”, Special Issue of the Journal of Sociocybernetics 01/2018, ISA RC51, 20 pages. [forthcoming]
  • Peters, Robert, Wenn Historiographie auf Wirklichkeit trifft. Reformation und Wirtschaft am Beispiel der Messingindustrie, in: Frank Pohle/Carmen Roebers/Julia Samp (Hrsg.): Das Ringen um den rechten Glauben. Reformation und Konfessionalisierung zwischen Maas und Rhein. Beiträge zur Tagung Aachen, 21./22. April 2017, Aachen 2018.
  • [together with Cloppenburg, Frederik; Jordan, Jan; Marshall, Philip et. al.] Industrie 4.0 und Digitalisierung in der Textilbranche, in: VDI-Z integrierte Produktion, 160 (5), p. 67-69, 2018.
  • Peters, Robert, Labour Market Regulation and Its Commercial and Economic Impact - A Preindustrial Case Study, WST Working Paper Series 2/2017, SSRN ID 3082826, 2017.
  • Peters, Robert; Lange Horst, Made in Aachen inspiriert Europas Höfe – Eine Mustermappe der Aachener Nadelfabrik Schervier-Migeon, in: AKV Sammlung Crous (Hg.), die Geschichte Aachens in 55 Objekten, Aachen 2017, p. 124-127.
  • Thomes, Paul; Peters, Robert; Dewes, Tobias, Wirtschaft. Wissen. Schaffen. 30 Jahre Fakultät für Wirtschaftswissenschaften 1986-2016, Aachen, 2016.


  • Future expectations of the German textile industry: The role of history at the threshold to the 4th Industrial Revolution. Conference Paper, 45th annual meeting of ICOHTEC “Technology drive from past to future?”, July 17 – July 21, 2018.
  • [together with Paul Thomes] Aus Erfahrung gut? Modellierungen zwischen Vergangenheit und Zukunft (Presentation as part of a workshop of the DFG priority program "Experience & Expectation", 09.-10. November 2017, Berlin)
  • Labour Market Regulation and its Commercial and Economic Impact: Precursors of the Current Anti-Globalisation Movement in the 17th and 18th Centuries (Conference Paper, European Business History Association's 21st annual congress, 24.-26. August., Vienna)
  • Von mutigen Innovatoren und Religionsflüchtlingen: Die Abwanderung Aachener Messingunternehmer und der vermeintliche Einfluss der Gegenreformation (Presentation at the Centre Charlemagne Aachen, 18. August 2017)
  • Wenn Historiographie auf Wirklichkeit trifft: Reformation und Wirtschaft am Beispiel von Nadel und Messingindustrie (Presentation, Bischöflichen Akademie Aachen, 21.04.-22.04.2017)
  • Cornelius Chorus: Innovator of Sourcing Strategies and Offshoring. A Modern Capitalist Entrepreneur in the 17th Century? (52nd BHSJ Conference, 8. bis 9. Oktober 2016, Tokyo)



Summer Semester 2016

  • Bachelor seminar: Let's talk about Money: Euro and the History of the European Monetary Integration