• institute
  • icgs
  • rwth


The group of scholarship holders of IGCS has become a large community that meets at specialized Alumni Seminars, Conferences or regularily involves in individual research at IGCS during the past years. Long-term Professors, Short-term professors, Postdocs and Students from many different backgrounds from Germany and India have all helped to bring the idea of IGCS forward.





From the beginning of 2010 until August 2014, Prof. Dr. A. Kumar Kolar was the IGCS Area Coordinator Energy and the main actor to establish and strengthen the scientific activities at the IGCS focussing on renewable energies and new energy technologies.


Prof Dr Ajit Kumar Kolar



  • 1993 – 2014 Professor, Dept of Mechanical Engineering, IIT Madras
  • Since 1984 Faculty, IIT Madras
  • 1979 – 1983 Research Asst Professor, New York University
  • 1978 Post Doc, Univ of Illinois @Chicago Circle, Chicago
  • 1977 Scientist, ISRO Satellite Centre, Bangalore

Research Areas

  • Thermal Sciences and Energy
  • Fundamental Heat Transfer and Combustion
  • New Energy Technologies : Free Breathing Direct Methanol Fuel Cell (DMFC) and Proton Exchange Membrane Fuel Cell (PEMFC)
  • Development of DMFC for Cell Phone; Solid Oxide Fuel Cell  Modeling
  • Renewable Energy Technologies: Biomass Combustion; Tri-generation Systems
  • Conventional Energy Technologies: Advanced Coal Power Plant System Analysis;   Fluidised Bed Combustion and Gasification of Coal for Power Generation


  • P. Manoj Kumar and Ajit Kumar Kolar: Effect of cathode design on the performance of an air-breathing PEM fuel cell,  International Journal of Hydrogen Energy, (2010), 35,671-681.
  • B.P.M.Rajani and Ajit Kumar Kolar: A model for a vertical planar air breathing PEM fuel cell, Journal of Power Sources, (2007), 164, 210-221
  • M. Sreekanth and Ajit Kumar Kolar: Progress of conversion in a shrinking wet cylindrical wood particle pyrolyzing in a hot fluidized bed, Journal of Analytical & Applied Prolysis, (2009), 84(1), 53-67.
  • M. Sreekanth and Ajit Kumar Kolar: Transient thermal behaviour and stress development within a cylindrical wooden disk during drying in a fluidized bed dryer, Drying Technology, (2009), 27(3), 344-358.
  • M. Sreekanth and Ajit Kumar Kolar: Mass Loss and Apparent Kinetics of a Thermally Thick Wood Particle Devolatilizing in a Bubbling Fluidized Bed Combustor, Fuel, (2010), 89(5), 1050-1055.
  • D. Ruben Suhakar, K. Srinivas Reddy, Ajit Kumar Kolar and Bo Leckner: Fragmentation of wood char in a laboratory scale fluidized bed combustor, Fuel Processing Technology, 89, (2008), 1121-1134
  • D. Ruben Sudhakar, and Ajit Kumar Kolar: Transient Three Dimensional Mathematical Model and Experimental Investigation of a Wet Devolatilizing Wood in a Fluidized Bed, Energy and Fuels, (2010), 24,4820-4832.
  • M.V.J.J.Suresh, K.S.Reddy, and Ajit Kumar Kolar, 3-E analysis of advanced power plants based on high ash coal, International Journal of Energy Reserarch, (2010), 34, 716-735.
  • M.V.J.J.Suresh, K.S.Reddy, and Ajit Kumar Kolar: 4-E (Energy, Exergy, Environment, and Economic) analysis of solar thermal aided coal-fired power plants, Energy for Sustainable development, (2010),14, 267-279.
  • M.V.J.J.Suresh, K.S.Reddy, and Ajit Kumar Kolar: Thermodynamic optimization of advanced steam power plants retrofitted for oxy-coal combustion, Journal of Engineering for Gas Trubines and Power, (2011), 133



Prof Dr S.M. Shiva Nagendra

Email: snagendra[at]iitm.ac.in



Dr. S.M. Shiva Nagendra is working as Associate Professor in Department of Civil Engineering, IIT Madras.

Dr. Nagendra is graduate in Civil Engineering and Master of Technology in Environmental Engineering from the University of Mysore. He obtained his Ph.D. in Environmental Engineering from Indian Institute of Technology Delhi in the year 2003. He worked as Senior Research Engineer at Fluidyn Software and Consultancy, Bangalore, involved in development of air quality software and consultancy projects. Prior to joining IIT Madras in June 2006, Dr. Nagendra worked as Assistant Professor in Department of Civil Engineering, B.M.S. College of Engineering, Bangalore.

Research Areas

Air quality management which includes monitoring, source apportionment, modelling, emission control, development of air quality management system, environmental impact assessment, outdoor-indoor air pollution relationships and indoor air quality management.

Research topic in IGCS-DST Project: Characterization of vehicular emissions in urban air areas. Modelling air quality and urban climate parameters. Review of urban air quality management and local air quality management plans. Collaborator: Prof. Dr. Uwe Schlink, Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research, UFZ, Leipzig. His stay in June 2015 at UFZ served the joint research work.




Prof Krithika Narayanaswamy

Email: krithika[at]iitm.ac.in


Prof. Krithika Narayanaswamy, IIT Madras, spent three weeks in May 2016 at the Institute for Combustion Technology (ITV), RWTH Aachen University, working with Prof. Heinz Pitsch on developing a kinetic model for cyclopentanol oxidation. Cyclopentanol is interesting as a next-generation fuel obtained from biomass and is explored here as a possible addition to transportation fuels. This first ever reaction mechanism to describe the oxidation of cyclopentanol has been developed based on the existing knowledge of straight chain alkane, alcohol, and substituted cycloalkane kinetics. This preliminary model will be further improved and validated in comparison to experimental data obtained at RWTH Aachen University and it will be used in simulations to test its performance in real engines.



Prof Dr Pramod S Mehta


Prof Mehta researched in 2012 and 2014 for two weeks at OWI Oel-Waerme Institut at RWTH Aachen University within the framework of the IGCS-DST project “Composition-property-Performance Relationship of Biodiesel Fuels of Indian and German Origin for use in Compression Ignition Engines” with his colleagues Dr. Klaus Lucka and Dr. Roy Hermanns. He has retired from IIT Madras in June 2016.





Dr. P Sasidhar

Dr. Sasidhar is former IGCS Senior Project Advisor (2013-2017) and was Head, Environmental and Fuel Chemistry Section, Safety Research Institute, Atomic Energy Regulatory Board, Kalpakkam.

Research areas

  • Groundwater and Contaminant Transport
  • Interdisciplinary approach to the disposal of wastes into the ground environment
  • Waste Treatment
  • Environmental Impact Assessments
  • Application of Remote Sensing and GIS in Land-use applications & Disaster management



Dr. Avilash Roul

Email: roul[at]igcs-chennai.org

Avilash Roul, Principal Scientist at IGCS (IIT Madras), was visiting Geography Department of University of Freiburg as a guest scientist under IGCS-Fellowship. During his short research visit, Dr Roul analysed ‘Urban and peri-urban Forestry in India’ with Prof Tim Freytag, Dr Kirsten Hackenbroch and experts at IESSG at University of Freiburg. The research visit delved into understanding of the academic discourse on urban forestry governance in Germany especially in Freiburg’s black forest. The aim of this research is to contribute in formulating national policy or strategy on urban forestry in India especially in planning of smart cities.



Dr Franziska Steinbruch

Email: steinbruch[at]igcs-chennai.org



  • 01/2014 – 06/2016 Long Term Visiting Professor at IGCS at IIT Madras, Chennai, India
  • 2012 – 2013 Research Coordinator at the Centre of Studies, Innovation and Advanced Training at Zambeze University and Assessor of the Rector of Zambeze University, Mozambique
  • 2012 Director of Gorongosa National Park Buffer Zone Monitoring and Research
  • 2011 Dr. rer. nat, Thesis: “Remote Sensing and Isotope Techniques to Investigate and Monitor the Hydrodynamics of the Lake Urema Wetlands System”, Technische Universitaet Bergakademie Freiberg
  • 2011 Director of Scientific Services at Gorongosa National Park/ Gorongosa Restoration Project, Mozambique
  • 2008 – 2010 Manager of Scientific Services at Gorongosa National Park / Gorongosa Restoration Project, Mozambique
  • 2006 – 2008 GIS and Database Program Manager at Gorongosa National Park / Gorongosa Restoration Project, Mozambique
  • 2003 – 2006 Technical Coordinator of Centre for Geographic Information at Catholic University of Mozambique
  • 2001 – 2002 Project Manager and Analyst at Centre for Geographic Information at Catholic University of Mozambique
  • 1998 – 1999 Research Assistant at Department of Geology, University of Stellenbosch, South Africa
  • 1998 – Research Assistant at Institute of Mineralogy, Technische Universitaet Bergakademie Freiberg
  • 1998 M.Sc. (Diploma) in Geology, Technische Universitaet Bergakademie Freiberg

Research areas

  • Environmental Geology, Hydrogeology
  • Water Resources Management
  • Land Use

List of Publications


Dr Kristin Steger
Email: steger[at]igcs-chennai.org



  • 2013 Scientific Assistant, Institute for Modelling Hydraulic and Environmental Systems, University of Stuttgart
  • 2012 Professor at the IGCS, IIT Madras, Chennai, India
  • 2006 Researcher in Limnology, Department of Ecology and Genetics, Uppsala University, Sweden
  • 2001 Doctoral studies at the Department of Microbiology, SLU Uppsala, Sweden
  • 1999 Validation Engineer, LSMW GmbH Stuttgart, Germany

Research Area

  • organic waste treatment strategies
  • microbial succession during composting
  • microbial community structure in various ecosystems
  • climate impact on carbon flow in lake ecosystems



Prof Dr Peter Fiener
Email: peter.fiener[at]geo.uni-augsburg.de



  • 2013 Full Professor, Institute of Geography, University of Augsburg
  • 2013 Qualified Professor/Privatdozent, Institute of Geography, University of Cologne
  • 2012 Professor at IGCS, IIT Madras, Chennai, India
  • Since 2004 Senior Researcher at the Hydrogeography and Climatology Research Group (Prof. Karl Schneider), Institute of Geography, University of Cologne
  • 2010 Habiliation-Thesis ‘Effects of pattern and process interactions upon lateral water and matter fluxes in agricultural landscapes’
  • 2004-2005 Research Scholarship at the Physical and Regional Geography Research Group (Prof. Gerard Govers, Prof. Jean Poesen), Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Belgium
  • 2003-2004 Researcher at the Chair of Water Resources and Resource Protection (Prof. Markus Disse), Institute of Water Related Science, Bundeswehr Hochschule Munich
  • 2000-2003 Associated Researcher / PhD at the Chair of Grassland Science (Prof. Hans Schnyder), Wissenschaftszentrum Weihenstephan, Technische Universität München
  • 2003 PhD Thesis ‘Concept and effects of a multi-purpose grassed waterway – long-term measuring and mathematical modeling of runoff reduction and sediment trapping’

Research areas

  • Effects of patterns and structures in agricultural landscapes upon water and matter fluxes
  • Measuring and modelling water and matter fluxes in agricultural landscapes
  • Measuring and modelling the effects of local soil conservation measures, e.g. grassed waterways, vegetated filter strips, small detention ponds
  • Analysis of decentralized flood protection measures
  • Soil redistribution and carbon fluxes in agricultural landscapes



Dr Christopher Martius

Email: martius[at]zef.uni-bonn.de



  • 2013: Principal Scientist Climate Change at the Center for International Forestry Research (CIFOR), Bogor, Indonesia
  • 2012: Visiting professor at the IGCS Chennai / IIT Madras, Chennai, India
  • 2012: Center for Development Research (ZEF), University of Bonn, Bonn, Germany: development of a project on food security for Sub-Saharan Africa, supervision of students
  • 2010-2011: Assistant Director: Science Programs, Inter-American Institute for Global Change Research (IAI), São José dos Campos, SP, Brazil: Coordination of research programs in land use, climatology, urban development and climate change
  • 2008-2009: Head, CGIAR Program for Sustainable Agriculture in Central Asia and the Caucasus, Tashkent, Uzbekistan: coordination of international cooperation on sustainable agriculture
  • 1998-2007: Senior Research Fellow and Lecturer at the Center for Development Research (ZEF): coordination of research projects on land and water use in Central Asia (Uzbekistan), soil organic matter and sustainable agriculture in Brazilian Amazonia
  • since 2003: Lecturer (Privatdozent) in Agroecology at the University of Bonn
  • 1989 PhD in Biology at the University of Göttingen on the ecology of nutrient cycles in floodplain forests of Amazonia

Research Areas

  • Interdisciplinary approaches to the use of land, water and natural resources (biodiversity)
  • Ecology and soil organic matter management in the tropics
  • Agriculture, land use and climate change
  • Desertification



Dr Sibylle Petrak

Email: petrak[at]igcs-chennai.org



  • 2012-2013 Visiting professor at the IGCS Chennai / IIT Madras, Chennai, India
  • 2008-2011 focus solar GmbH, Oldenburg, Germany
  • 2004-2007 Lecturer at Postgraduate Programme Renewable Energy and EUREC, University of Oldenburg, Holder of Marie-Curie Fellowship
  • 1998-2003 Postdoctoral Researcher in the Group of R. Schindler and M. Perl, Stanford Linear Accelerator Center, Stanford, United States
  • 1998 PhD in Experimental Physics, Thesis: “Measurement of Lifetimes of Bottom Hadrons in Z Decays”, Lise-Meintner-Prize from the Physics Institute of Humboldt University Berlin

Research Areas

  • Renewable Energies, Solar Power, Photovoltaics, Energy Meteorology


From the beginning of June 2011 until end of 2012, Dr Steger and Prof Dr Fiener were the main actors to establish and strengthen the scientific and the up-coming teaching activities at the Centre focussing on Water and Waste Management. Dr C. Martius joined them for a short time in autumn 2012. From April 2012 until July 2013 Dr Petrak researched and taught in the area of renewable energies.



Prof. Dr. Uwe Schlink

Email: uwe.schlink[at]ufz.de


Dr. Schlink is a senior scientist in the Department of Urban and Environmental Sociology at the Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research (UFZ) and teaches at the Institute of Meteorology of the University in Leipzig. He obtained a diploma in physics from the University Dresden, worked as a Scientist for Environmental Pollution and Hygiene in a governmental office and was a guest scientist at the Department of Automatic Control, University of Brescia, Italy. Uwe Schlink obtained his PhD in Meteorology from the University of Leipzig and defended a habilitation in the field of statistical modelling of air quality.

Research areas are urban climate and air quality, thermal comfort, personal exposure, statistical modelling, Bayesian inference, adverse health effects of air pollutants. His collaborator at IIT Madras is Prof. Shiva Nagendra in the joint IGCS-DST research project on “Characterization of vehicular emissions in urban air areas. Modelling air quality and urban climate parameters. Review of urban air quality management and local air quality management plans”.




Dr. Christian Springer

Email: christian.springer[at]uni-weimar.de



  • German Collaborator in IGCS/DST Projects Development of Sustainable Waste Management of Septage by composting and minimizing GHG Emissions and Fast sampling analyses for anthropogenic micro pollutants in wet environmental compartments
  • 11/2013  Research scholar at IGCS, IIT Madras, Chennai, India
  • 09/2013 –  today  Executive manager of long distance study course Water and Environment at Bauhaus-University Weimar
  • 09/2012 – 08/2012  Research co-ordinator at MFPA Weimar (research institute); Research in environmental sciences e.g. biogas, biopolymers, impact of trace elements and nanoparticles, instrumentation
  • 11/2010 – today  ENCOVER GbR, founder & managing engineer; Projects on life cycle assessements, certification systems and energy efficiency in waste management
  • 2010 Dissertation on Energy and CO2-Balance of biological waste treatment on the example of composting and design of an efficiency passport at Bauhaus-University of Weimar
  • 02/2005 – 10/2010 Researcher at Chair of Prof. Dr.-Ing. habil W. Bidlingmaier; Bauhaus-University Weimar; Project work in the fields of material flow, organic waste, development aid, energy efficiency and university education; Organisation of a degree programme and organisation of education at the chair of waste management; lecture courses on measurement technologies, biological waste treatment, waste management and economically developing countries

Research Areas

  • Integrated Waste Management (in South East Asia)
  • Integrated urban environmental management planning
  • Energy efficiency on biowaste and organic residues utilization



Dr. Roos Gerritsen

Email: gerritsen[at]eth.uni-heidelberg.de


Dr. Roos Gerritsen is an anthropologist from University of Heidelberg. Her research focuses on popular visual culture, media and urban aesthetics and cultural politics in south India. She is currently developing two new research projects. The first addresses sustainable and ethical food consumption and the imagination and articulation of ‘everyday utopias’. It investigates vernacular transition movements in Chennai as they seek solutions for sustainability in foodscapes and neo-traditional, local and the organic consumption. The second project focuses on media practices in social and political anxieties around gender and issues of public visibility. From February – August 2016 she continued her research at IIT Madras at the Dept. of Humanities as IGCS with Prof Chella Rajan.


Dr. Ir. Karl Beelen
Email: karlbeelen[at]protonmail.com


Karl Beelen is an architect and urbanist by training, who has worked in Amsterdam and Chennai. He completed a PhD in urbanism at Eindhoven University of Technology, which examined the implicit, erasive urbanisms emerging in the margin of infrastructural logistics and urban planning. His current research engages with the city of Chennai and carries a particular interest in grassroots urbanisms and everyday notions of ‘design’. He is currently an affiliated member of Heidelberg University’s Cluster of Excellence: Asia and Europe in a Global Context. He researched in the IGCS-DST project with Prof Chella Rajan and Prof Woiwode from September 2015 – July 2016, organised the By-Pass Lab Workshop focusing on the peri-urban fringe of Chennai in June 2016. Currently he is reseraching at KIT Karlruhe and planning future collaboration with IGCS.



Dr. Viktoria Schiller

Email: schiller[at]bio5.rwth-aachen.de


Dr. Viktoria Schiller did her reserach work in the framework of the IGCS-DST project Fast sampling analyses for anthropogenic micropollutants in wet environmental compartments in the area of sustaining urban water bodies and improving public sanitation under Prof. Dr. T.S. Chandra, Dept. of Biotechnology, IITM, and in cooperation with the Institute for Environmental Research, RWTH Aachen University. In this project, she applied ecotoxicological in vivo and in vitro bioassays to assess the impact of anthropogenic micropollutants on the environment and to monitor the quality of water samples. Her research stay in Chennai started in June 2015 and lasted until March 2017.




Dr Kathrin Premke
Email: premke[at]igb-berlin.de


Dr Kathrin Premke worked on the topic ‘Effects of soil organic carbon redistribution upon green house gas fluxes from terrestrial and aquaticecosystems in a small agricultural catchment in South-East India’ from January – February and October 2012 at IGCS Chennai. In March 2014 and 2015 Dr. Premke carried out another field survey at the Thimmapuram Lake in Krishnagiri District. More information on Dr. Premke´s research activities.



IMG_6092a  attermeyer_katrin_150

Dr Sabine Flury from IGB Berlin/Leibniz-Institute of Freshwater Ecology and Inland Fisheries is a Scientist in the group of Dr. Katrin Premke (Landscales project). Joint research with her colleagues Dr. Premke and Dr Katrin Attermeyer in the field of Carbon (C) fluxes in a subtropical eutrophic shallow lake in India was carried out  in February and March 2014.



member_619  Taube

Dr Jenny Fabian and Dr Robert Taube from IGB Berlin/Leibniz-Institute of Freshwater Ecology and Inland Fisheries are young researchers in the group of Dr. Katrin Premke. Joint research with Prof. BS Murty and colleagues from Civil Engingeering Dept. was conducted in February and March 2015.



Tom Gottfried


His Ph.D. research topic at TU Munich ‘Regionalisation of soil data in a meso-scale catchment in South-East India’ led to his stay at IGCS from June to September 2012. His research interest lies in digital soil mapping with process based modelling approaches and auxiliary high resolution data (such as apparent soil electrical conductivity and digital terrain models).



Dr Paul Wagner

Email: paul.wagner@hydrology.uni-kiel.de

Paul Wagner (Kiel University) researched on the topic of “Land use change impacts on water resources in India: A case study on possible future developments in the Mula and Mutha Rivers catchment upstream of Pune”. The study was carried out at the IGCS from June to September 2013. Furthermore, Paul Wagner is a German collaborateur in an IGCS-DST Project with Prof. KP Sudheer, Civil Engg. Dept. at IIT Madras. For information please visit his personal website.



Prof Dr Ralf Otterpohl

Email: otterpohl@tuhh.de


Prof. Otterpohl, TU Hamburg Harburg, explored possible research themes in several areas of wastewater treatment with his colleague, Prof. Ligy Philip in September 2013. His field of research is Source Control Sanitation Concepts, Modelling of Wastewater Treatment Plant, Industrial Wastewater Management and Reuse of Wastewater.



Prof Dr Manfred Schneider

Email: schneid[at]uni-wuppertal.de



  • 01/ – 03/2014 IGCS Short Term Visiting Professor at IITM, Chennai, India
  • 1980 – present Professor of Organic Chemistry, University of Wuppertal, Germany
  • 1972 – 1980 Assistant Professor (Habilitand, Dozent), University of Hohenheim, Stuttgart, Germany
  • 1970 – 1971 Research Associate (Postdoctoral Fellow), University of Pittsburgh, USA
  • 1969 – 1970 Research Associate (Postdoctoral Fellow), University of Stuttgart
  • 1970 Postdoctoral Fellow, University of Pittsburgh, Pa., USA
  • 1969 Ph.D. in Organic Chemistry, University of Stuttgart

Research Areas

  • Chiral auxiliaries and building blocks for bioactive compounds
  • Reagents for the determination of enantiomeric purities (oxiranes, amino alcohols, amino acids)
  • Building blocks for Pharmaceuticals
  • Flavors and Pheromones
  • Second Messengers


List of Publications




Prof. Dr. Lars Blank

Email: lars.blank@rwth-aachen.de


Prof Lars Blank explored joint research cooperation with his colleagues from IIT Madras, Prof Chandra and Prof Jayaraman, Biotechnology, in March 2014. He established close contacts with his Indian counterparts and is planning future research activities in the respective area.



Prof Dr rer. nat. habil. Satyanarayana Narra

Email: s.narra@fh-luebeck.de


Prof Narra from FH Luebeck, Faculty of Applied Natural Sciences, carried out feasability studies on waste related topics (E-Waste, Urban Mining, Recycling of Valuables) with Prof. Ligy Philip and colleagues of the Dept. of Civil Engineering at IIT Madras from August to September 2014.





Dr Roy Herrmanns

Email: r.hermanns@owi-aachen.de


Dr Roy Hermanns, OWI (Oel-Waerme Institut) at RWTH Aachen University, carried out research work under the joint IGCS-DST project “Composition-property-Performance Relationship of Biodiesel Fuels of Indian and German Origin for use in Compression Ignition Engines” from January – March 2015 with his colleague Prof. Pramod S Mehta, Dept. of Mech. Engg., IIT Madras.



Dr Naicheng Wu
Email: nwu(at)hydrology.uni-kiel.de


Dr Naicheng Wu was working as a Postdoc in the Department of Hydrology and Water Resources Management, CAU Kiel and researches at Aarhus University currently. He visited Prof. K.P. Sudheer in January 2016 with the aim of selecting an Indian catchment for future collaboration.
Research Areas

  • Bio-assessment and bio-monitoring
  • Anthropogenic impacts
  • Hydro-ecology
  • River basin management



Dr Georg Hörmann

Email: ghoermann(at)hydrology.uni-kiel.de


Dr Georg Hörmann, CAU Kiel, researched with Prof. BS Murty and his colleagues from Civil Engineering Dept., carrying out an analysis of modelled and measured time series of the Pennaiyar/Krishnagiri catchment in September and October 2014.



Dipl.-Ing. Felix Jacobs

Email: jacobs@geotechnik.rwth-aachen.de


Felix Jacobs, PhD candidate and research assistant at Chair of Geotechnical Engineering at RWTH Aachen University researched in cooperation with Prof. K. Rajagopal, a leading expert in the fields of geogrids reinforced soil and numerical modeling and his research team at Geotechnical Engineering Division, IITM in January & February 2015. His research field is Sustainable construction with geogrid reinforced soil – development of an interface for the description of the interaction behavior between geogrid and soil. Felix Jacobs is a graduate of RWTH Aachen University in Civil Engineering (2010) and is part of the Chair of Geotechnical Engineering at RWTH Aachen University since 2010.
“The IGCS provided a great opportunity to carry out joint research with a group of skilled geotechnical researchers. Besides the technical cooperation, I had the chance to live and work in a foreign environment, which was a unique experience. The kind integration into the research team at IIT Madras allowed for an impressive insight into Indian culture and society and I came back to Germany with plenty good memories and many new friends.”




Dr Kirsten Hackenbroch



Kirsten Hackenbroch, currently at the Institute of Environmental Social Sciences and Geography, University of Freiburg, has visited IGCS in August 2014 to kick start a research cooperation on the topic of Global visions and local realities of sustainable urban development – Exploring strategic urban environmental politics and emerging (social) spaces”. She is working closely with Prof. Dr. Christoph Woiwode and Prof. S. Chella Rajan and the researchers at the Dept. of Humanities. Her stay at IITM in March 2015 serves to elaborate on the topic of Urban Governance.

Research areas

  • urban informality and governance
  •  production of urban space and socio-spatial inequalities
  • power and urban planning
  • urban environmental politics
  • policy mobilities, international migration
  • qualitative methodology and ethnography



Stefan Klebingat

Email: klebingat[at]lih.rwth-aachen.de

Stefan Klebingat successfully finished his Ph.D. (summa cum laude) in December 2016 and is doing a post-doc research study on best practice analyses for Underground Coal Gasification (UCG) in India under main supervision of Prof. Dr. Sreenivas Jayanti, Department of Chemical Engineering, IIT Madras. The main objective of this study targets the application of a new thermodynamic model regarding coupled calculation of economic and environmental aspects for Underground Coal Gasification in India focussing selected target regions addressing different coal types and depths. The kick off research stay  lasted from January – March 2017.




Devika Herrmann


Devika Herrmann (BA Hindi and International Relations) is currently pursuing her master’s degree in South Asian Studies with a focus on geography and politics at the South Asian Institute at Heidelberg University. For her internship she stayed at IGCS for six months until March 2017. With a great interest in solid waste management, she analysed data gathered during the Sriperumbudur Energy, Waste and Water survey under the supervision of Prof. S. Chella Rajan and Prof. Christoph Woiwode. She also supported the team in any other IGCS waste-related projects and is keen on broadening her knowledge in this field.


Alicia Dery


Alicia Dery is persuing her master’s degree in Environmental Engineering at the Technical University of Munich (TUM). She is focused on the areas of water and wastewater treatment and quality. Her master’s thesis aims to find a decentralised wastewater treatment option for the Thiruvanmiyur neighborhood in Chennai. The solution should address the water-energy-food nexus issues. She spent two months at the IGCS (December-January 2017) by conducting research in the neighborhood under the supervision of Prof. S. Chella Rajan and IGCS Visiting Prof. Ch. Woiwode.


Anna Huttunen


Anna Huttunen is a student of M.Sc. Environmental Governance at the University of Freiburg. Her research interests lie in the field of sustainable urban development and mobility. She is currently writing her master thesis on “Citizens’ mobility practises, patterns and preferences in Sriperumbudur, Chennai” and was working on her topic from November – December 2016 at IGCS under the supervision of Prof. S. Chella Rajan (Dept. of Humanities and Social Sciences) and IGCS Visiting Professor Ch. Woiwode.



Henrik Otte


B. Eng. Henrik Otte currently studies in the Masters Programme “Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM)” at the Institute for Technology and Resources Management in the Tropics and Subtropics at the University of Applied Sciences Cologne. A cooperation of the IGCS and the Center for Development Research (ZEF), Bonn, Germany laid the foundation for his internship at IGCS/IIT Madras. During his stay at IGCS (January – July 2016) he contributed to the ongoing peri-urban research project of his supervisors Prof. S. Chella Rajan (Dept. of Humanities and Social Sciences) and IGCS Professor Christoph Woiwode through a “Geo-Spatial Analysis of Water Management problems and Public Health outcomes in Sriperumbudur Taluk”.




Chloe Hill


Chloe Hill graduated with a M.Sc. in Environmental Governance at Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg. For her Master Thesis Chloe studied the impacts of the Chennai-Bangalore Industrial Corridor on Chennai’s Climate Resilience for 3 months (March-May) in close cooperation with Prof. Christoph Woiwode and his colleagues from Humanities Department at IIT Madras. Currently she is employed at GIZ Eschborn.



 Radina Vassileva


Radina Vassileva recieved her M.Sc. in Environmental Governance at the Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg. For her Master Thesis, Radina did research on how new actors and initiatives form and organize to influence the transition towards a sustainable mobility sector in Chennai. She will stay at IIT Madras from March 2015- Mai 2015. She is currently involved in work at GIZ Eschborn.



Robert John


Robert John, master student in “Environmental Governance” at the Albert-Ludwigs-University Freiburg, stayed at the IGCS from March to May 2015. During his research stay, he worked on the “Governance of water resources in urban fringes”, taking part in the multi-disciplinary research project of the IGCS on sustainable peri-urban development in Sriperumbudur.



Dr. Vasanth Parthasarathy
Email: vasanth.parthasarathy[at]campus.tu-berlin.de


Dr P. Vasanth did his research work in the Institut für Energietechnik, TU Berlin, under the IGCS Postdoc Fellowship from August 2015 – December 2016. He worked under the supervision of Prof. Dr. Frank Behrendt, IGCS Area Coordinator Energy, to integrate biomass gasification with solid oxide fuel fells for stationary applications. This research work brought out the possibilities on combined heat and power applications in the places where there is abundant of agro waste, and no grid connection. Dr P. Vasanth obtained his Ph.D degree at IIT Madras under the guidance of Dr Ajit Kolar, former IGCS Area Coordinator.

Publications and Patents



Cicily Kurian


Cicily Kurian is currently a PhD scholar, working with Prof. K P Sudheer at IIT Madras. She is working on developing a flood forecasting system which can be used for forecasting with higher lead time and accuracy and will also address the uncertainty involved in the modelling. Sustainable watershed management is multi objective problem which involves the handling of surplus as well as deficit water. The ongoing IGCS-DST sponsored project “Sustainable Water Management of Water Resources in Chennai basin” deals with the same issue. Since the proposed modelling system deals with forecasting of flows and on developing flood management strategies, the aforementioned project will be a direct beneficiary of it. She stayed at Kiel University from September 2016 to November 2016 with Prof Nicola Fohrer, IGCS Area Coordinator Water Management.



Jeba Princy R


Jeba Princy is a research scholar working with Prof Balaji Narasimhan at IIT Madras. Her research work involves “Improving the parameterization of hydrological models spatially and temporally using remote sensing derived estimates”.  Hydrological observations are quite scarce in India leading to reduced levels of confidence in hydrological models that are commonly used to assess the sustainability of water resources in a river basin. A case in point is the on-going IGCS-DST project to assess the sustainability of water resources in Chennai basin, where only scarce hydrological observations are available. Hence, her current work is on parameterizing SWAT model using time series of MODIS Evapotranspiration (ET) and Vegetation indices (VI) products to represent the real field hydrology. She stayed at Kiel University from September – November 2016 with Prof Nicola Fohrer.



Vema Vamsi Krishna


VemaVamsi Krishna, Ph D research scholar, is working with Prof. KP Sudheer at the Indian Institute of Technology Madras, India. He is currently at Kiel University at Prof Nicola Fohrer´s Department of Hydrology and Water Resources Management, Kiel University for 3 months. His Ph D thesis work is on developing a decision support system for sustainable watershed management. A part of the work includes developing a distributed hydrologic model, which can simulate rainfall runoff for an area confined by administrative boundaries. This kind of models does not exist as of now. The developed model is expected to improve the sustainability of watershed management program, especially in placing of water harvesting structures by quantifying the water availability. The proposed hydrologic model would also be useful in planning the water resources in a catchments that is bounded by the administration. The IGCS-DST project on “Sustainable Water Management of Water Resources in Chennai basin”, which is ongoing in IIT Madras with German collaborators from Kiel University will be a direct beneficiary of the model.



Anu Rachel Thomas


Anu Rachel Thomas is currently a PhD research scholar in IIT Madras. She works on IGCS-DST project titled “Development of sustainable waste management of septage by composting and minimizing GHG emissions” in the area of sustaining urban water bodies and improving public sanitation under Prof. Dr. Ligy Philip, IGCS Area Coordinator in cooperation with Prof. Dr- Ing. Martin Kranert, IGCS Area Coordinator.  In this project, she is working on the application of composting technology for septage treatment and monitoring and minimizing the GHG emissions during the treatment. Her scope of research also includes to understand the fate of micro pollutants during the treatment. Her research stay in University of Stuttgart at ISWA lasted from September – December 2015 .



Dr Jayakumar Renganathan

Email: jayakumar(at)igcs-chennai.org


Dr Jayakumar Renganathan defended his PhD in the “Evaluation of physicochemical and microbiological parameters in the coastal waters of Chennai, Southeast coast of Chennai” with an emphasis on culture independent bacterial diversity analysis”. He is a researcher at IIT Madras cooperating closely with the research group of Kathrin Premke and Kristin Steger with whom he stayed for 2 months in 2013 at IGB Berlin/Leibniz-Institute of Freshwater Ecology and Inland Fisheries.



Kiran Yalamanchi


Kiran Yalamanchi is currently pursuing Masters in Thermal Engineering at Indian Institute of Technology Madras, Chennai. In cooperation with IGCS, he will was working for the project “Numerical investigation of reaction kinetics of bio fuels” at ITV, RWTH Aachen University (Prof Pitsch) in the period May-July’16. This project looks in to developing reaction mechanisms for bio fuels and indirectly serves the purpose of finding the alternative energy.



Julia Bauer


Julia Bauer, Master student of Applied Geosciences at RWTH Aachen University (specialization: Geophysics, Hydrogeology and Geological Engineering), did project work with Prof S Mohan at IIT Madras from March to May 2016. The aim of the topic “Modelling of contamination due to open dumping of municipal solid waste – Case study of Madurai City” was to find an effective and cheap solution to decrease the area contaminated groundwater caused by an open landfill in Madurai by using Visual Modflow.



Raphael Pinheiro Machado Rehm

rehm Kopie

B.Sc. Raphael Pinheiro Machado Rehm currently studies Geography (Master of Science) at the Institute of Geography at the University of Augsburg. His stay at the IGCS/IIT Madras in Chennai continued from April to June 2016. His project work in the Department of Civil Engeneering  is closely related to his master thesis about soil hydraulic properties in a headwater catchment of the Mulshi Dam in the Indian Western-Ghats. Prof. Schneider (University Cologne), Prof. Fiener (University Augsburg), Prof. B.S. Murty (IITM) and Prof. N. Balaji (IITM) are conducting a joint research project in that region. The general objective of the fieldwork is to create a preferably high-resolution soil raster of the study area with focus on small scale variability to identify a change of the hydrological soil properties response to land use change.



Christoph Bail


B.Sc. Christoph Bail currently studies Geography (Master of Science) at the Institute of Geography at the University of Augsburg. His stay at the IGCS/IIT Madras in Chennai continued from April to June 2016. His project work in the Department of Civil Engeneering  is closely related to his master thesis about soil hydraulic properties in a headwater catchment of the Mulshi Dam in the Indian Western-Ghats. Prof. Schneider (University of Cologne), Prof. Fiener (University of Augsburg), Prof. B.S. Murty (IITM) and Prof. N. Balaji (IITM) are conducting a joint research project in the mentioned region.




Niklas Arnet


Niklas Arnet, bachelor student in Spatial Planning at TU Dortmund University, was carrying out research at IGCS in April and May 2016. He was working on “Urbanization and Flood Disaster Risk Mitigation in peri-urban Chennai” aiming to find out how corresponding measures are integrated in the development of the region. The objective of the research is to increase the resilience of the city of Chennai towards urban flooding, as uncontrolled urbanization of peri-urban Chennai might worsen flooding in the city itself. Thus, he contributed to a hitherto unadressed topic of an ongoing interdisciplinary IGCS research project on peri-urban development in Sriperumbudur Taluk.



Jonas Cordova Gomez


Jonas Cordova Gomez is a civil engineer from UTFSM Valparaiso, Chile. He currently studies the MSc. “Sustainability, Society and the Environment” at University of Kiel, Germany. His background and work experience in developing countries like Zambia and Haiti has been a motivation to keep working in the area of sustainable development in an international context. He is currently working on his master thesis on the topic of Sustainable Urban Drainage Systems (SUDS) in the area of Velachery, Chennai. The research at IGCS intends to find sustainable solutions towards problems like floods and water scarcity in different projected scenarios under the supervision of Prof F. Steinbruch from the IGCS and Prof K.P. Sudheer from the Department of Environment and Water Resources, IIT Madras (March-June 2016).



Luise Haufe


Luise Haufe, Master student of Urban Ecology at TU Berlin, stayed at IGCS from October 2015 – April 2016 and researched for her master thesis on “Regional centres in South India – water management in medium-sized towns of Tamil Nadu”. The thesis was supervised by Prof Chella Rajan and Prof Woiwode at the Dept. of Humanities, IIT Madras and Prof. G. Nest, TU Berlin.



Nicolas Roether


Nicolas Roether, Master student, Bauhaus Universitaet Weimar (Chair of Urban Water Management and Sanitation) stayed at IITM from October 2015- January 2016. He did his student research on the topic of “Analysis of the informal waste sector regarding recycling efficiency in Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India” within the framework of the DST – project of Prof. Ligy Philip, Area Coordinator IGCS Waste Management.



Markus Maassen


Markus Maassen, Master Student of Environmental Engineering (special focus on Water Management) at RWTH Aachen University stayed at the IGCS from October to December 2015. His research with Prof F. Steinbruch, Prof Indumathi Nambi and Prof KP Sudheer at IITM is centered around the topic of land use change with special focus on wetlands and water bodies. The spatial focus is on the peri-urban area of Sri Perumbudur (Southwest of Chennai) and on the urban area Pallikaranai marsh land.


Nils Jautzus


Nils Jautzus, Master student, Bauhaus Universitaet Weimar (Chair of Urban Water Management and Sanitation) stayed at IITM from October 2015 – January 2016 doing his student research project on the topic of “Current situation of waste disposal sites and their estimated environmental impact at IITM, Chennai, India” within the framework of the DST – project of Prof. Ligy Philip, Area Coordinator IGCS Waste Management.



Tobias Kuttler


Tobias Kuttler, Master Student in Urban and Regional Planning at TU Berlin, stayed at IITM from March-May 2015. He was affiliated with the emerging cross-disciplinary research project of the IGCS about sustainable peri-urban development in Chennai. In particular, he focussed on the research topic “Infrastructures as ‘Urban Assemblages’ and is mentored by Profs Chella Rajan, Solly Benjamin and Christoph Woiwode.



Thomas Eichmeier


Thomas Eichmeier is Master student at Bauhaus Universitaet Weimar (Chair of Urban Water Management and Sanition) and researched on the topic of “Micro pollutants as a source of hazard potential of open dumping sites in tropical climates” with the team of Prof. T.S. Chandra. He stayed at IIT Madras from Oktober 2014 – March 2015.



Eric Heldt


Eric Heldt, Master student, Bauhaus Universitaet Weimar (Chair of Urban Water Management and Sanitation) arrived in November 2014 and  did his research on the topic of “Proofing the feasibility of septage stabilization by composting with different mixture ratios and under local conditions in Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India” until March 2014 within the framework of the DST – Project of Prof. Ligy Philip.


Nils Heldt

Nils heldt

Nils Heldt, Master Student, Bauhaus Universitaet Weimar (Chair of Urban Water Management and Sanitation) came to visit IGCS in November 2014 to stay on until March 2015. He is concentrating on the topic “Identification of locally available structural material as co-substrate for septage sludge composting in Chennai, India”.



Dr Cindy Hugenschmidt


Cindy Hugenschmidt, formerly at CAU Kiel and University of Hohenheim, investigated the SWAT model application in the Krishnagiri catchment from March to April 2012.



Ms Thea-Lina Müller


Thea-Lina Mueller, Master Student of Environmental Geography and Management, University of Kiel, stayed at IGCS from August to September 2014 to carry out research on Water Management with Prof. Steinbruch and colleagues from Civil Engineering at IIT Madras. Her topic covers rainwater harvesting and sustainable campus development with the aid of remote sensing and GIS technologies.



Manuel Murawski

Bewerbungsfotos Kiel - Fotostudio Elaments - www.elaments.de

Manuel Murawski, Master Student in Urban and Regional Development at Kiel University, did his research at IGCS from August to September 2014 with Professors Woiwode and Prof. Solly Benjamin at IIT Madras. His topic “Sustainable Development in the Peri-Urban Regions of Chennai – Spacial Analysis using Remote Sensing Data” is embedded in an IGCS Project.



Jana Sommer


Jana Sommer, Master Student from TU Braunschweig joined IGCS from July to October 2014 and researched on the topic of “Sustainable on-site waste water management systems” with Prof. Ligy Philip and her research team at Civil Engineering Department at IITM.



Sabrina Kruegel


Sabrina Kruegel, Master Student from TU Berlin received an IGCS Scholarship to research with Prof. Sreenivas Jayanti and Prof. Vinu, Department of Chemical Engineering, IITM, during the months July-September 2014. Her area of research is “Coal Gasification and coal to liquid conversion”.



Theresa Warnk did an internship at the IGCS from December 2011 to May 2012 and among others she worked on a ‘Sustainability Theories and its applications’.

Alexander Strehmel worked within the frame of his Ph.D. on ‘Interdependency between land use / land management change and water resource management – a case study from South Indiafrom January to September 2012. Currently he is a researcher at CAU Kiel.

Florian Wilken investigated the ‘Dynamics of land use and land use patterns in the Pennairyar catchments, South-East India’ for his Master’s thesis from March to September 2012. He is currently working in the team of Prof. P. Fiener at University of Augsburg.

Sarah Postels, RWTH Aachen University, did research in the field of Energy on ‘Performance Analysis of a 1kW photovoltaic facility’ for her Bachelor’s Thesis from December 2011 to March 2012

Simon Eiden, Master student at RWTH Aachen University, researched in the field of the influence of a microbiological contamination in biogenic fuels on the oil heating devices and the physical-chemical properties of the fuel from the months of November to December 2013.