Autor: Rahul Rajkarnikar

IGCS Winter & Summer School 2021 Alumni Testimonial

-By Purnanjali Chandra

The water sector has always been intriguing, which eventually brought me to the Winter and later the Summer Schools in 2021 under the Indo-German Center for Sustainability (IGCS). Furthermore, having a postgraduate specialization in Water Policy and Governance from Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai, the courses at the IGCS added great value to my holistic and sub-sectoral understanding of the domain. It exposed me to discourses on inland water transportation (IWT), the complexities of converging ecosystems such as estuaries and mangroves formed due to saltwater-freshwater intrusion, their impacts on communities, and the challenges around ensuring sustainability and better governance. 

The design of the courses during both the schools was optimized to enable the best imparting of knowledge in a virtual medium. A comparative narrative through case studies and scenario analysis has been a key component of the learning modules. Speakers from both India and Germany shared their expertise on various topics under IWT and saltwater – freshwater ecosystem across both schools. They spoke about the sustainable practices, the evolving nature of research and the models that have been designed, such as under the Federal Institute of Hydrology, Germany, to detect the chain of deteriorating climate change impacts on the IWT sector. Furthermore, extensive panel discussions followed these lecture sessions, which created a vivacious space for exchanging ideas and knowledge among panellists and school participants. The discussions underlined the developments, challenges and potential scopes for both countries to learn from one another. Through these varieties of sessions, the learning hours were mindfully mapped to allow us to know and process and absorb the information shared. During both the schools, the courses were designed with an interdisciplinary approach where science, society and policies were extensively discussed, such as during lectures on IWT, Indian and German environmental policies were analyzed besides technology while in lectures on saltwater-freshwater intrusion, the importance of community participation in ecosystem management were highlighted. These lectures and concepts made the most relevant sense to me during the “working group” sessions. These being intensively peer-driven gave us enough space to research and explored different facets of the topic chosen for the school. 

Besides academics, a great part of the schools was the intercultural sessions on Zoom. Even during this pandemic, the session remarkably provided a great platform for making new friends and interacting with people of diverse cultures from different parts of the world.

Figure 1. Breakout rooms during Intercultural sessions

Additionally, the Wonderme sessions during the summer school enhanced this experience for me. It served more like a virtual “out of classroom” interaction space for us. We were also given weekend activities that we showcased in the initial hours of the school on Mondays, which certainly helped us beat the Monday blues!! Even the student lectures designed as a part of the school accentuated the culture of peer-learning where students got the opportunity to present their research work and drive interesting discussions and exchange of ideas.

Figure 2. IGCS Group Winter School 2021

Every day of the two weeks spent virtually during both summer and winter schools had been an enriching experience for me. It was a vibrant space of constant learning and unlearning of aspects of the water sector with people of diverse capacities and interests. The working group culture was also one of the key motivations for my application. The opportunity to learn about a subject in detail and then present the same through teamwork and guidance of supervisors indeed felt quite rewarding to me. Last but not least, IGCS and its schools provided me with immense scopes of networking and helped me plan for my higher education. 

Winter School 2022

Winter School 2022

Sustainable Waste Management for a Circular Economy

Date: 21 February to 04 March 2022


Growing economies with the current linear production and consumption systems are creating an imbalance in the environment and in the flow of materials and resources. Huge amounts of waste are generated as a result of anthropogenic activities, and the management capacities of these waste streams are already over the limit. With the climate challenges and the current increase in demand and shortage of resources, the handling of wastes requires circular approaches that permit the recovery of resources for a more sustainable economy. The conventional thinking about wastes “out of sight – out of mind” should be replaced by “waste-to-wealth” for a sustainable society. Efficient waste management systems are necessary to reduce pollution of water, air and soil, and for the protection of the natural resources and our ecosystems. Sustainable waste management is an important element towards a circular economy and the reduction of emissions. Moreover, it can enable a more just and healthy society.

Addressing sustainable waste and resource management requires an interdisciplinary and integrated approach that considers advances in research, technological implementations, reuse and recycling approaches, management and regulatory aspects, as well as the socio-economic and environmental considerations.

This edition of the IGCS winter school is focused on municipal solid waste management, plastic waste management, industrial waste management and responsible reuse of wastewater, wherein experts from India and Germany would share their experiences and best practices for a sustainable society.

It brings together Indian and German students who will jointly and interactively develop their skills with the following learning outcomes:

  1. Develop a fundamental and holistic understanding of the different waste-to-value processes.
  2. Evaluate different technologies for resource, materials and energy recovery from wastes from a sustainability and environment viewpoint.
  3. Propose innovative and circular solutions to practical waste management problems.


This Winter School will run for twelve days from February 21st until March 4th 2022 and will have two major work streams. The mornings and afternoons will be reserved for lectures and talks given by German and Indian academics and practitioners. The second workstream is dedicated to project work (see below).


The school will consist of lectures, group works, panel discussions, excursions and intercultural exchanges.

Currently, the school is being planned both in a physical and a virtual format. Based on the developing situation in relation to the pandemic a decision on the format of the school will be taken in November.


The course is open to German* and Indian Master and PhD. Students. Knowledge of sustainability topics is of advantage. The number of participants is limited to a maximum of 30 (15 German /15 Indian).

*Non-German students and university graduates can apply if they are enrolled in a course of study at a German university with the aim of obtaining a degree at a German university. For more Information check DAAD-Website: Bewerbungen um ein Stipendium (German only).


Interested students may apply through the 2022 Application Form. The application deadline is 19. November 2021. Applications received after this date will not be considered.

The link is open from 19. October 2021 – 19. November 2021 7 PM CET/11:30 PM IST. You will need to register first before you enter the actual form. You can switch between German and English. Please read the instructions carefully, including the help notes that are attached to many entry boxes.

Please prepare the following documents to be uploaded through the form:

  1. CV
  2. Transcript of records of last completed semester/graduation certificate
  3. Letter of recommendation from an academic supervisor. It should state your academic and personal qualifications for the participation of the school.
  4. Enrolment certificate

Positive results will be announced by the beginning of December 2021. We kindly ask you to refrain from inquiries about the application status in the meantime. Your data will be deleted if you were not accepted.


Please contact project coordinator Lisa van Aalst or Dr Anna Uffmann if you have any questions.


IGCS Area Coordinators for Waste, Prof. Dr Vinu (IITM), Prof. Dr Martin Kranert (University of Stuttgart), and Dr Gabriela Garcés (University of Stuttgart).


IGCS-motan Workshop

#sustainabilitychallenge – Taking a step further towards sustainability

Your ideas are too good to be forgotten!

IGCS and motan are carrying out a two-day virtual workshop.

2021 Flyer on IGCS motan Workshop

Have you always had ideas on how to revolutionise the way we work and live with plastics in a sustainable way?

Then take part in our #sustainabilitychallenge: ‘Reduce | Re-Use | Recycle | Recover – Challenges and strategies in the handling of plastics’ and make a difference – shape the future with your innovative and sustainable ideas. 

Our collaborative efforts are dedicated to helping students from Indian and German academic institutions to develop and foster sustainable ideas. This workshop is a continuation of our joint vision: incorporate innovative and sustainable ideas generation in interdisciplinary research, teaching, training and exchange in the area of sustainable development. Together motan and IGCS would like to motivate and support students to conduct research in the area of plastics and the circular economy.

Thus, IGCS and motan jointly extend an invitation to be a part of our event. We are always looking for motivated students to carry out a research project or an industry internship supported by motan and the IGCS.

Applications are now open. Please find the link here.

Deadline: 14 November 2021

Workshop Details:

Date: 7 – 8 December 2021

Program: Impulse lectures by domain experts, work in small groups on related topics and presentations

Target group: Students enrolled in a post-graduate (Masters) or doctoral program

Award: The winner will get the opportunity to work out a research project or an industry internship with the support of motan and the IGCS


● Letter of Motivation

● CV

● Certification of enrolment (in current university)

About motan

Sustainability is a core value within the motan culture. This means not only the products, solutions and the behaviour but also the training of young people and the development of global networks. In addition to social aid and cultural projects, the foundation’s focus is on introducing social responsibility into business activities. For more information on motan and their activities, please visit the link.