The organizers of the IGCS Summer School 2020 have been closely observing the dynamic development in regards to the Corona virus SARS-CoV-2 and the safety precuations and travel restrictions that have come along with it.
IGCS has thus made the decision to conduct the summer school into an eco- and pandemic-friendly online format. The selected candidates will meet and collaborate virtually between October 5 – 16, 2020.
The organizers look forward to e-meet the interested and excellent students from India and Germany!
The application deadline ended on the 14th of June.
Graduate student Daniela and PhD student Katleen conducted research projects on the topic of waste management in India with support of IGCS. Of special interest were studies on the amount and composition of waste, as well as its recycling potential in Chennai and on Neil Island. Sadly, both of them had to end their exchange early due to the Corona virus. Nevertheless, they have achieved a lot during this time and let us take part in their journey, research interest and the implications the virus has on their projects!
Katleen, Berlin School of Economics and Law
Project: Baseline study on solid waste management generation and characterisation on Shaheed Dweep
At the IGCS Winter School in Chennai about Sustainable Waste Management in February 2019, I got inspired to continue research on waste issues as an IGCS research scholar. I was back at IIT Madras in October 2019 to start my research project under the guidance of Prof. Ligy Philip from the Civil Engineering Department at IIT Madras. Two months later I started my field work on the Andaman islands.
Driving forces for my research were
acquiring knowledge on the amount of waste being produced by whom and what on the islands and
identifying recycling potential to lessen the burden of the waste’s impact on the islands.
Neil Island, now called Shaheed Dweep, in the South Andamans was research area. The island is dominated by the tourism industry now. The relation about waste generation from local vs. tourist activities is an important indicator about the impact of tourism on small islands.
I chose to conduct a baseline study on Shaheed Dweep for my research project. Realizing that there are no actual figures about waste generation on the island, data collection on the island’s waste generation and the characterization of waste became an important target of my research project. Streamlining the island’s waste becomes a necessity in order to identify recyclable materials which can be transported out of the island. A resource recovery process could take place in Port Blair or on mainland India. The big advantage would be to reducing the burden on the open dumping yard on the Shaheed Dweep, which is currently the prevailing method of waste disposal.
Having said this, the restrictions following the COVID-19 crisis hit me during my second sampling week in March which I conducted with many volunteers to measure and sort the waste from the local market. Tourists were restrained from traveling to the Andamans, water sport activities like diving had to stop and suddenly the petrol station closed overnight. The waste collector changed their collection plans or even stopped collecting. End of story: I was escorted from the Andamans on the following Monday and my second sampling week unfinished. I was leaving the islands in confusion and a state of shock.
What happened next? I stayed in Chennai to continue analyzing my data. My sampling of household data was completed successfully. The waste rate per capita per day has been calculated for the sampling group of merely 0,18 kg/per person/day. Now extrapolating it to the total island inhabitants counting 3.040 people (Gram Panchayat Shaheed Dweep, 2019), the daily waste generation of all registered islanders would be at approximately 550 kg/day. This is a very small share (29%), given the estimation of about 1,9 metric tons per day of mixed waste by the Andaman Public Work Department in 2015. When looking at the composition of waste it reflects the Indian high standard of wet waste or compostable share (65%), while the remaining waste is coming as plastics (11,2%), glass (6,8%), paper (6,6,%), textiles (5,2%), metal (2,1%), hazardous waste (1,7%), other/rubber (1%) and e-waste (0,3%). My goal is now to close the data gap and get the respective figures for the market, the hotels and beach areas, which are the remaining major sources of waste streams on Shaheed Dweep.
Besides that, I enjoyed my time on the island with a diverse range of activities related to a sustainable waste management approach and data collection. Together with local and visiting volunteers, we removed 3,8 tons of waste from the beaches and one private property within three months. Out of this, 36% could be sent to Port Blair to recycle glass and plastic bottles. Furthermore, I conducted a workshops with school children about waste categorization, a waste management stall for the local island festival, a waste mural piece from plastic caps and many beach clean ups.
Heading off to the Andamans with the ferry was not only a dream come true but also an adventure in itself. I wish to return later this year to continue what I had to leave suddenly overnight on Shaheed Dweep.
Source: Katleen Schneider
Daniela Strittmatter, University of Stuttgart
Research Project: Plastic waste management in coastal areas
Plastic is known as a material with a huge range of applications in nowadays life. Our economy wouldn’t be the same without this reliable and cheap material. But what happens with the increasing amount of plastic material after its life spam…?
That was the question that came to my mind many times within the last years and during my master studies. So I decided to deal with this fascinating topic in my master’s thesis. The main aim of my thesis was to examine, how to improve the plastic waste management system in beach areas of Chennai. I conducted my research together with Professor Dr. Ligy Philip from the Civil Engineering Department at IIT Madras in Chennai and Professor Dr. Martin Kranert from the University of Stuttgart.
The research area of my research project is Chennai, a city with around 8,7 million inhabitants in India’s southeast. Similar to many other cities, Chennai is facing increasing amounts of waste, generated by society and companies. Due to an insufficient waste management infrastructure and lacking numbers of waste treatment plants, around 94% of the waste mixture is either deposited on open dumpsites without proper treatment or thrown away illegally. Uncollected waste that reaches coastal areas is likely to enter the sea, leading to negative long-term effects on a sensitive ecosystem. This is especially of increasing concern as the amount of plastic debris in underwater environments continues to accumulate with expected long-term effects on animal and human well-being.
As there is a lack of literature about the current waste composition at beaches in Chennai, I started my research with a status-quo waste analysis at different beach areas. This was an important step in order to gain a first impression. The waste analysis included both the amount and composition of waste, with a focus on plastic. Especially the questions “What is the amount of plastic waste that can be recycled?” and “Which areas are prone for plastic accumulation and why?” were of high interest for me. Luckily, many helpful hands at IIT Madras helped me with my sampling collection as I found many kilograms of waste per sampling site.
One main challenge was the hot and humid weather in Chennai, especially during noon at the sampling sites. With the sun burning down on my helpers and me, it was often quite exhausting to collect and transport the samples at the beach for hours. Nevertheless, I enjoyed being outside and was proud seeing the clean beach areas in the evening. Unfortunately and with a heavy heart, I flew back to Germany with a heavy heart due to the unpredictable Corona-crisis. I wasn’t able to collect further samples anymore due to the lock-down in whole of India. Nevertheless, I am glad to have finished my basis data which I’ll continue to use in an adopted way for my project now that I am back in Germany.
Besides writing my master’s thesis one exciting experience was my participation at the Winter School about “Sustainability in the Peri-scene” at IIT Madras in February 2020, organized by IGCS. The main content of the Winter School was to give the participates a well-rounded understanding of the peri-urban development in Chennai by having lectures, panel discussions, exercises and project work. Apart from the gained content knowledge the Winter School gave great opportunities to build a network with people of the same interest background and I am happy to still be in contact with many of them. Another highlight of my stay was during a beach clean-up I did on my own. Suddenly, a local person appeared, showed interest in my project work and offered to help me without any requirements. It was great to see that people are aware of the waste problem and the negative environmental effects and are willing to do something against it if they get the chance.
All in all I really enjoyed my stay in India. It’s a diverse, colourful and lively country and there are many things to discover. During my travels I enjoyed beautiful landscapes with rice paddies, white sand beaches and tea plantations. I fell in love with the tasty exotic fruits and delicious spicy dishes. Luckily friends taught me how to prepare Indian food. Especially the friendliness and curiosity of Indians made it very easy to get integrated into the Indian way of living and to feel home in Chennai soon. In order to get an impression of all facets of India, it is important to be open-minded and be ready for new experiences because India is also a country of contrasts. In some areas the effects of poverty and luxury can be seen next to each other and this can be challenging to cope with sometimes. Although it is visible that there is effort to improve the waste management situation in the cities, there is still a long way to go and solutions to be found. In order to enhance sustainable systems and thinking, international cooperation bonds like IGCS are a great way to exchange relevant knowledge and experiences between India and Germany and to bring research further for both sides.
Hence, I am very thankful for the experiences I made during my 3,5 months stay in Chennai and would highly recommend the exchange program to interested students. I will definitely come back to visit my friends and to discover the beautiful western and northern parts of India.
IGCS February Meetings February 17 – 19, 2020 at IIT Madras, Chennai
India and Germany have closely collaborated in the fields of higher education and research for decades now. Since 2010, this close relationship was further intensified with the inception of the Indo-German Centre for Sustainability. The center plays a significant role in the Indo-German teaching and research landscape and is only possible thanks to the generous funding of the German Academic Exchange Service DAAD, the Indian Department of Science and Technology DST and ithe center’s partner Maschinenfabrik Reinhausen. in these ten years, IGCS has achieved major milestones, among others:
around 700 exchanges of students and researchers were funded
several research projects condcuted and findings published in nearly 100 articles, book chapter, conference proceedings and patents
19 Winter and Summer Schools were conducted
the basic course “Ecology and Environment” was introduced to all IIT Madras students’ curricula, aside from various other sustainability-related seminars at IIT Madras and German university with the particiaption of IGCS project members
various Indo-German meetings and workshops, amongst others the workshop series Indo-German Dialogue on Green Urban Practices and Urban Resilience
opened up its own facilities with classrooms, laboratories and offices at IIT Madras in 2017
The annual February meetings in Chennai provided the perfect opportunity to celebrate these milestones. Over the course of three days, various meetings were held, excursions to projects and Tamil Nadu’s highlights done, and IIT Madras’ flagship projects visited. The February meetings were accompanied by a RWTH delegation of 17 members, headed by the rector Professor Dr. Ulrich Rüdiger and Vice-Rector for International Affairs, Professor Dr. Ute Habel. The highlight was the celebratory event on the 18th of February, followed by a festive dinner. IGCS and IIT Madras were delighted to welcome German Ambassador Walter J. Lindner, Consul General Karin Stoll, DAAD-president Professor Dr. Joybrato Mukherjee, staff from DAAD and DFG India as well as various professors and staff from IIT Madras as guests to the event.
New faces at IGCS
At the Advisory Board meeting, the newly appointed rector of RWTH Aachen University (2019), Professor Dr. Ulrich Rüdiger, was inaugurated as new member of the IGCS Advisory Board. He is Professor Dr. Ernst Schmachtenberg’s successor.
IGCS waved goodbye to the loyal and hard-working Indian center and area coordinator Professor B.S. Murty and the area coordinators Professor Ligy Philip and Professor Sudhir Chella Rajan at the Steering Committee meetings. All three professors have done an exceptional job in bringing up IGCS to what it is today: teaching and researching on sustainability topics at IIT Madras and Germany, facilitating joint events in Chennai and supervising many IGCS-fellows, long-term guest researchers and the center’s newly appointed Postdocs. IGCS area coordinator for Energy, Professor Dr. Krishna Vasudevan takes over as Indian center coordinator and will have support from his colleagues Professor Dr. R. Vinu (Waste Management), Professor Dr. Ashwin Mahalingam (Land Use, Urban and Rural Planning) and Professor Dr. S.A. Sannasiraj (Water Management). IGCS wishes Professor Murty, Professor Ligy and Professor “Chella” Rajan the very best and looks forward working with new colleagues and the new research expertise they bring to the center.
More reasons to celebrate the Indo-German partnership
Closely connected with IGCS is the eminent role of the Director of IIT Madras, Prof. Bhaskar Ramamurthi in the cooperation with RWTH Aachen University. Aside from IGCS, he has supported the successful Strategic Partnership between the two institutions. Since 2016, both sides have been receiving financial support under the program Indo-German Partnerships in Higher Education, funded by the DAAD- and the University Grants Commission (UGC). This helped significantly to enhance the Strategic Partnership by implementing targeted measures aimed at increasing the exchange at all levels and at institutionalizing the cooperation. It has resulted in over 100 visits so far and the initiation of joint research projects in a variety of subjects. During the visit, the award “Honorary Fellow of RWTH Aachen University” was given to Professor Ramamurthi in recognition of his scientific achievements, his merits for the bilateral cooperation and for the success story of the IGCS and Strategic Partnership with RWTH Aachen.
The years 2019 and 2020 are remarkable for both institutions. For IIT Madras, 2019 marked the 60th anniversary. It was also the year in which the IIT Madras celebrated becoming the top-ranked engineering institute in India for four consecutive years and emerged as the ‘Best Educational Institution’ in the overall category in the National Institutional Ranking Framework (NIRF) Rankings of the Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD), Government of India. As of August 2019, IIT Madras has also been declared an Institution of Eminence (IoE) by the University Grants Commission.
Simultaneously, an international panel of experts approved RWTH Aachen‘s application as a University of Excellence in 2019. By the beginning of this third round of the German Excellence Initiative – the Excellence Strategy – RWTH has already developed into an Integrated Interdisciplinary University for Science and Technology, focusing on the convergence of knowledge, methods, and insights. It now aims to create a unique national and international educational, research, and transfer environment with dynamic research networks that transcend individual disciplines and organizational boundaries. With 2020 being the year of RWTH Aachen’s 150th anniversary, the timing for a joint celebration of IITM’s and RWTH’s tradition of excellence could not have been better.
IGCS Germany sincerely thanks the Indian IGCS project members and Professor Mahesh Panchagnula and the staff of the Office of International Relations for their great hospitality and support in realizing the meetings and celebratory events.
German Ambassador Walter J. Lindner together with the director if IIT Madras, Professor Bhaskar Ramamurthi, and rector of RWTH Aachen University, Prof. Dr. Ulrich Rüdiger at the celebration. Source: IIT Madras, 2020; President of DAAD, Professor Dr. Joybrato Mukherjee. Source: IIT Madras, 2020; The IIT Madras Research Park served as venue for the celebratory events. Source: Frank Behrendt, 2020.
Update August 2020: given the current safety precautions and travel restrictions due to the Corona virus SARS-CoV-2, we strongly recommend selected fellows / interested applicants from the 2020 batch to postpone / plan the exchange not before 2021.
IGCS is proud to announce the scholarship program for 2020. We are
inviting excellent researchers (Master and PhD students, Postdocs and
from German universities research institutions who plan to visit IGCS at IIT Madras in 2020. Update: Please note that IIT Madras has closed the campus for international students until the end of 2020 and will reopen in January 2021 at the earliest.
from Indian universities (IIT Madras, IIT Tirupati, IIT Palakkad, IIT Manid) who plan a research visit to a German university or research institution in 2020.
to apply for an IGCS scholarship. We collect applications until February 29 (winter call) and June 30 2020 (summer call). Spread the word!
Prospective deadlines for 2021 scholarships will be February 28 (winter call) and June 30 (summer call) 2021!
Please find all details in regard to funding, process and eligibility on our page “Grants”.
Fireflies Intercultural Centre January 9 – 12, 2020 in Bangalore
Organised annually by Pipal Tree of Fireflies Intercultural Centre near Bangalore, more than 60 participants from India and abroad met to discuss and share their views on climate change and environment along the key questions of the title “What Hope? What Action?…in the Anthropocene”.
These dialogues are part of a global initiative Dialogues in Humanity to bring to the fore the human dimensions which are often neglected and marginal in sustainability and climate change response such as fear, grieving, and the multiple religious, spiritual and ethical aspects.
IGCS-Postdoc Dr. Woiwode was invited to give a talk on “Exploring Levers of Inner Transformations towards Sustainability Transitions” in the session Processes that lead to Inner Transformation . The format of the event facilitated guided morning meditations and reflective one-to-one, small group and large group interactions along the overall theme “Inner processes from spirituality, religion and secular humanism to re-imagine, re-enchant, strengthen resolve and commitment to alternatives”. The venue was ideally located on a large, beautifully designed, forested retreat campus on the outskirts of Bangalore.
IGCS-Alumni Mariana Brito invites early-career researchers to participate in the international workshop “Resilient cities: promises and paradoxes”
She says: “Participation is mainly by invitation. Nevertheless, we would like to provide room for additional participants to share their insights. […] Applications should include a short CV and motivation letter […]. The workshop is free of charge and [organizers] will cover the costs for accommodation and transportation. […]”
When? Postponed until further notice Where? Helmholtz Centre for Environmental Research-UFZ, Leipzig, Germany Application Deadline: original deadline March 20, 2020 Contact: Mariana de Brito (email@example.com) More information:Homepage Centre for Environmental Research (UFZ)
PhD students Lukas and Nina both spent some time at IGCS in Chennai
to conduct a research project this summer. With their short reports they
allow us a glance over their shoulder into their life in Chennai, the
ups and downs conducting their research and explain in what way their
research contributes to sustainability.
Nina, RWTH Aachen University
Topic: Land-use and contamination following extreme flooding events
India’s south-eastern coastline is susceptible to flood events such
as river floods, storm surges and tsunamis. During such flood events,
not only sediments are transported and deposited in the catchment areas
but also contaminants with potential toxic effects on human health and
the environment. There is a need to improve the understanding of these
sedimentary processes to evaluate the spatial distribution of
contaminants in the depositional areas and the following consequences in
ecological and human health-related terms.
To get a better understanding of the contamination characteristics of
the sediments and land use potential of areas after flood events, a
field campaign was conducted in and south of Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India.
The field work included collection of sediment and surface water
samples, which are currently being analyzed for various geochemical
parameters in the laboratory, and studying local conditions by
interviewing local residents, performing drone flights and making
observations in the field. The campaign was supported by local staff of
the Indian Institute of Technology Madras (IITM) and of the Annamalai
university in Chidambaram who helped us organizing the field work and
accompanied us in the field which included finding suitable sampling
spots and talking to local people in Tamil, the local language in Tamil
The main challenges were related to field work organization and
involved missing permits, adjustments of sampling locations and
schedule. But in the end, we were able to collect samples at all planned
locations and with the help of the observations made, based on
interviews with locals and on the analytical results, we will be able to
get a deeper understanding of the area characteristics, the
contamination situation and the flood events, mainly the devastating
tsunami in 2004 and the major flood event in 2015.
the exchange, I’ve experienced many highlights, like a boat tour through the
mangrove forest in Pichavaram, visiting beautiful temples and getting to know
new people and the Indian culture. As local staff of our cooperation partners were
always with us in the field, we gained a deeper insight into the Indian culture
and the daily life in Chennai and its surroundings due to all provided explanations.
We received a traditional Mehandi painting, which is like henna, and turned our
hands orange for approx. two weeks and we tasted a lot of very tasteful Indian
I am very
grateful to having received the opportunity to go to India and doing research
there. The work and contribution of the IGCS for the improvement of
sustainability in India and the ongoing cooperation between Germany and India
are very valuable for both societies.
Lukas, Christian-Albrechts Universität zu Kiel (CAU)
Topic: Testing the application of an innovative sensor for detecting
microbial contamination in bank filtration wells for rural water supply
near Chennai during monsoon
Chennai has a lot of lakes that are suffering severely from
anthropogenic impact. Also, there is a lake cascading system that is
containing seven lakes and a big marshland. My research topic is the
assessment of the water quality in the lakes and of the water flow of
surface and groundwater. Furthermore, this project supports Prof. Dr.
Indumathi M Nambi and her team from the Civil Engineering in a
restoration project of one important lakes in the cascading system.
The water quality can be determined by a lot of parameters in the field
and the lab. Therefore, every month field visits are necessary to sample the
lake water, measure in-situ parameters and assess further parameters in the
laboratory. Also, measuring the water flow makes it possible to estimate how
the pollution is spreading and where it may come from. Besides, the interaction
between surface water and groundwater can be evaluated. Since the lakes are
highly polluted, it is important to know if the lakes are also affecting the
groundwater which is being used for washing, cooking or even as drinking water
in households. To determine the water flow field visits are necessary to state
the connectivity of lakes, survey the groundwater level in pipes and wells and
calculate flow directions of e.g. the groundwater.
In general, to measure the status quo of the lakes, the water flows and to identify the pollution sources is important for future projects that focus on the renaturation of the lakes and on fighting the pollution in the areas. From good water quality in the lakes not only the people will benefit in many ways but also the biota that is connected to the lakes. For the sake of the environment taking action is from the biggest necessity.
A big challenge for the project is the extreme drought. Many
measurements couldn’t be done because of the lack of surface and groundwater.
Nevertheless, we were, for example, assessing the water quality twice and
surveying groundwater levels three times. With this data, I’m continuing the
work of a colleague and we are gathering a great database of the cascading lake
One of my highlights in India was to see the beautiful landscapes in
India. Especially in places that were far from civilization and seemed to be pristine.
One of those was the Western Ghats, a mountain range in Kerala. A place we were
visiting there, were the Athirappilly Falls which are the largest waterfalls in
Kerala. The mountains, the beautiful green rain forest, the roaring rivers, and
waterfalls were impressive. Also, the chance to see a wild elephant was
thrilling. But unfortunately, we didn’t see one. Nevertheless, going to places
like this is a memorable experience.
Doing a research stay in India is a unique experience. There are a lot
of differences regarding the country, the culture and the people. Not
everything you see here is good but overall the experience you get by living
and working in India is simply great. The country and culture are very diverse,
and the people are friendly and helpful. I also really enjoyed the food that
offers a variety of different spices and tastes. By getting to know more about
the culture and the people you get a good insight into the country. Finally, to
preserve and restore the beautiful nature of India it is good to support and
work on projects that aim for this and a sustainable way of living.
The Chair of Waste Management and Emissions at the Institute for Sanitary Engineering, Water Quality and Solid Waste Management (ISWA), University of Stuttgart, and IGCS were present at the International Solid Waste Association World Congress that took place from the 7th to 10th October, 2019 in Bilbao, Spain.
In a session with the connecting theme Empowering Women in Recycling and the Circular Economy, Dr. Gabriela Garcés presented encouraging ideas and gender perspectives for sustainable waste management for resilient cities. The Indo-German Centre for Sustainability and its core objectives was presented to an audience from the academia, industry and international organizations.
During a 2-hour-dialogue, IGCS-Postdoc Dr. Garcés exposed on approaches to include social and gender aspects in planning for waste management projects and practices in the frame of circular economy strategies. Focus was on the relevance of integrating environmental, social, and gender issues in governance frameworks, technological solutions and capacity building to empower equitable participation and promote opportunities of collaboration.
The IGCS Summer School on Smart Grids – Electricity Networks as the Backbone of a Carbon Neutral Society was conducted on the campus of the Technische Universität Dresden which is located in the beautifully reconstructed old town of Dresden, Germany. There were students from all backgrounds of academia, be it electrical or mechanical engineering or architecture or economics or environmental science, and I, Muskaan Kochar, consider myself privileged to be a part of them. In total, we were 30 students who were brought together for a span of twelve days and I’m certain we will remain connected always.
From Energy Policy to Green Energy Technology Startups
The summer school was broadly divided into two parts, the lectures, and the project work. Every morning after lectures we would either head out for technical excursions or split into groups to work on our projects. I was awestruck by the facilities at Highvolt, Innovation power plant, and 50 Hertz. The visit to the Volkswagen manufacture was candy for the mechanical engineers. The 13 lectures covered a broad spectrum of topics like concepts of electrical energy networks,stakeholder interaction, rural electrification, sector coupling, grid components, and power grids under the aspects of economy, ecology, and regulation. Not only did they provide us with technical knowledge but also about making the technology sustainable and urged us to think from an economic perspective and understand the steps involved in distributing and transmitting the generated energy. The lectures along with the excursions facilitated our projects and enhanced our knowledge.
Personally, I liked the lectures by Professor Praktiknjo and Mr. Manjunath Ramesh the most. The former taught us about three goals of energy policy and also conducted a practical simulation game to give us hands-on experience. The latter shared with us the concept of his startup, Nuventura GmbH, and his plans for the future. These lectures taught us how to think beyond building technology. They provoked us to think about their implementation and how to make it practical.
For the projects, we were given broad project headings which provided us with the flexibility to work creatively in our desired direction and also incorporate the skills of the technically diverse team members. The ideas of all the teams were unconventional and exercised one’s grey matter. The professors guided us when we were in doubt, reviewed our work at multiple stages and left us with intriguing questions about our model. This made the process extremely wholesome. My team worked on the topic of e-mobility where we viewed an electric vehicle (EV) as a consumer or prosumer. To begin with, we challenged the given topic by comparing the carbon emissions of EVs and conventional vehicles. On becoming certain about the advantages associated with using EVs we studied the market scenarios in developed, like Germany, and developing, like India, countries and built a model that would incentivise individuals to invest in EVs. The main challenge faced was the availability of charging platforms. This could be overcome by a transaction platform for peer to peer trading or feed-in tariff. This would meet the goal of our topic as well. To strengthen it further we carried out a cost-benefit analysis and were amazed by the results for an EV. There is a lot of scope for development in this field. There are teams who wish to continue building their models even after the school is over.
I firmly believe that the summer school was a huge success. This was possible only because of the emphasis put on the interaction between people of varied backgrounds, not only academically but also culturally and not only amongst the students but also with the hosts, the professors, and industrialists. On our very first evening in Dresden, we gathered for the opening dinner post which the hosts encouraged us to enjoy the city carnival. The students from German universities took this as an opportunity to showcase their culture and familiarise the Indian students with their history. The next day, there was a hike to the Saxon Switzerland national park. The air; so pure and the sight; so wonderful. It brought everyone together. After this, the next ten days just flew by. On the next Saturday, we visited the small city of Wittenberg and Ferropolis, also called the city of iron. On Sunday, a spontaneous city tour was organised and it added on to the fond memories we all had made. And finally, for our closing dinner, we were all invited to a brewery. A visit to Germany is incomplete if doesn’t visit one, right? Our hearts filled with gratitude for everyone who made the IGCS summer school possible as we all parted ways, to see the beautiful country and to implement what we’ve learnt.
What I will take home
The summer school had more to offer than visible to the eye. All the social and cultural activities molded us as a person. The team building activities, taking responsibility and shouldering them well, working in constrained time and most importantly communicating added on to the academic learning. I also learned how to view a problem from different perspectives. Now I always ask myself, how would an economist view it? How will an environmentalist view it? How can I communicate my findings better and make it more accessible and understandable by everyone? I would strongly encourage applying for a Winter- or Summer School of IGCS. Another option to join IGCS is by applying for a research stay and an associated scholarship.
Reporter: Muskaan Kochar, IGCS student assistant and participant at the IGCS Summer School 2019
Urban Resilience 2: Coastal and River Management, Vulnerability and Sustainability October 20-23, 2019 at IIT Madras in Chennai
Continuing discussions from 2017 on the influence of climate change on flooding at rivers and coastal areas Indian and German researchers met for the round table Urban Resilience 2. 15 German scientists from Geoverbund ABC/J, under lead of RWTH Aachen University, met a again delegation of Indian researchers at IIT Madras to continue discussions on the influence of climate change on flooding at rivers and coastal areas. Many Indian scientists from different parts of the country were invited, e.g. from IIT Madras, IIT Kharagpur in Golgata; Anna University in Chennai, NIOT & NCCR in Chennai, and Annamalai University in Tamil Nadu.
The presentations covered many highly relevant topics, such as the establishment of the coastal flood forecasting system for Chennai ‘CFLOWS’ after the devastating floods of 2015 and coastal vulnerability and socio-economic effects in large cities after extreme events. This was also discussed in light of distribution patterns and toxicity of various pollutants, e.g. pesticides from agricultural areas in river catchments and coastal areas after flooding events. Other presentations covered the following topics
Urban and Coastal Resilience
Climate Change and Coastal/Riverine Flood Hazards
Bio- and Ecohazards
Social and Environmental Impacts, Adaption and Governance and its Dynamics
In October 2017, IGCS started a discussion on Urban Resilience on coastal and river floods or extreme events affecting megacities and settlements in coastal low lands. More than 1.5 billion people are currently living within 100 km of the coastal zones of the Earth, especially in tropical and subtropical regions. And the number is still growing, due to economic and social attractiveness as large-scale urbanization and mega-city development within the coastal zone is expected to be more rapid than in other areas in the near future.
Almost all future scenarios of climate change and sea level rise point to a higher frequency of extreme weather and climate events in near future, and that this will reveal significant vulnerability and exposure of coastal cities to the current climate variability. Climate change also affects monsoonal patterns, which seem to cause an intensification of the seasonal rainfall that fortifies inundation/floodings/droughts in India regularly during the last years (e.g. 2015 Chennai, 2018 Kochi).
Besides the Indian coast is prone to tsunamis, as the Makran subduction zone may cause earthquakes and tsunamis affecting the Indian west coast, as e.g. in 1945. In 2004, the east coast has been affected by the Sumatra tsunami inducing landfall in the Tamil Nadu coast. Besides the primary destructive effects, the widespread contamination of coastal areas due to the pulsed transport of immense pollutant loads during the floodings may seriously affect the coastal ecosystems. This clearly affects increasing population and urbanization in particular along coastlines and urban or even critical infrastructure, as a consequence adaptation, decision analysis and governance of manifold administrational levels.
At the roundtable, many new collaborations for prospective research projects between Indian and German researchers evolved.
IIT Madras, Chennai, India
October 20 – 22 2019 (until October 25 incl. excursion to Pichavaran )