Category: Alumni & Community

Shivam Dwivedi IGCS Grantee Testimonial | First Multilingual Media Publication

Shivam Dwivedi, was an IGCS grantee from the Metallurgical and Materials Engineering Department at Indian Institute of Technology, Madras, Chennai, India. Shivam recently completed their research exchange program at RWTH Aachen University, and Forschungszentrum Jülich, Germany under the mentorship of Prof. Olivier Guillon and Dr. Mariya E. Ivanova. Their research focuses on Proton Conducting Solid Oxide Electrolysis Cells, exploring innovative solutions for storing renewable energy.

Shivam gives their testimonial on their motivation to applying for the IGCS grants, tips and hints on what to focus on, and what to expect from your research exchange in Germany.

As a part of our mission here at IGCS, we want to advance science by fostering inclusivity, expanding accessibility, and promoting cross-cultural collaboration. In today’s world, characterized by linguistic and cultural diversity, it’s essential to bridge these differences and connect researchers, practitioners, and enthusiasts.

This is why we are launching our first multilingual media publication. Our goal is to reach a wider audience and transcend linguistic boundaries. Breaking down language barriers is crucial as it enables researchers from diverse linguistic backgrounds to actively contribute to and engage with the global scientific community. This fosters a more equitable and inclusive research landscape.

By embracing linguistic diversity in scientific communication, we not only enrich the research landscape but also contribute to the advancement of knowledge for the benefit of society as a whole.

Watch the full testimonial video below:

IIT Madras + RWTH Aachen, IGCS alumni event in Chennai, India

RWTH Aachen University’s alumni organization and IIT Madras cordially invite you to a one-day symposium showcasing the strategic partnership between these two esteemed institutions. The highlight of the program will be a thought-provoking panel discussion on “Regenerating Cities: Issues of Resilience,” organized by the Indo-German Center for Sustainability (IGCS). Join us for a full-day event, providing ample opportunities to network and engage with RWTH alumni, IGCS members, academics from both institutes, and representatives from Indo-German businesses.

For further details, please visit the dedicated event website:

Please find the event information below:

Details and Schedule

Date: February 21st, 2024. Time: 11:00 AM IST – 17:30 PM IST

Venue: Hall 3, IC & SR Building, IIT Madras Campus, Chennai

Event Schedule

11:00-12:00 PM: Inauguration of alumni event

  • Prof. Dr. Kamakoti Veezhinathan, Director IIT Madras
  • Prof. Dr. Ulrich Ruediger, Rector RWTH Aachen University
  • Prof. Dr. Mahesh Panchagnula, Dean – Alumni and Corporate Relations, IITM
  • Prof. Dr. Bernd Markert, Rector’s Delegate for Alumni Relations, RWTH

12:00–12:45 PM: Strategic Partnership of IITM and RWTH

  • Dr. Fabian Falter: RWTH’s India Activities
  • Dr. Malati Raghunath: IITM’s Germany Activities

12:45 -1:30 PM: Lunch

2:00 – 3:30 PM: Panel Discussion (organized by IGCS)

“Regenerating Cities: Issues of Resilience”

Moderation: Prof. Martina Fromhold-Eisebith (RWTH) & Prof. Ashwin Mahalingam (IITM)

Panelists: Prof. S.A. Sannasiraj (IITM), Prof. Nicola Fohrer (CAU Kiel), Prof. Frank Behrendt (TU Berlin), Prof. Dirk Weichgrebe (LU Hannover)

3:30-4:00pm: Snacks

4:00-5:30 PM: Networking & display of initiatives/companies

Registrations for RWTH Alumni: here

Registrations for IITM Alumni: here

We look forward to your participation in our anticipated event.

Shivam Kumar Dwivedi, India-Germany Research Collaboration makes Advances in Proton-Conducting Electrolysis Cells

IGCS Research Exchange Grantee, Shivam Dwivedi, from the Department of Metallurgical & Material Engineering at Indian Institute of Technology, Madras, Chennai, India, reported their research brief that addresses the challenges in the #fabrication of proton-conducting #electrolysis cells (#PCECs) for large-scale electricity storage by aiming to harness the potential of hydrogen gas for reliable electricity storage. Their research delves into the intricacies of fabricating air electrode cer-cer composites, addressing critical factors such as chemical compatibility, sintering behavior, and mechanical properties.

Through a meticulous process, the study identifies key compositions and optimal sintering temperatures, ultimately honing in on a 70:30 ratio as the most promising candidate. Notably, the inclusion of 3% ethyl cellulose in the binder solution further elevates the material’s potential as an air electrode. Symmetric cells, formed by screen-printing the optimized composite pastes onto sintered electrolyte pellets, undergo thorough examination via scanning electron microscopy.

The research’s significance lies in its electrochemical impedance spectroscopy, conducted between 400-700°C with wet air (3% H2O). Amidst a plethora of compositions and conditions, the 70:30 ratio, with its exceptional #electrocatalytic activity, emerges triumphant as the frontrunner for an air electrode material. This research not only sheds light on the intricacies of PCECs but also paves the way for #transformative advancements in energy storage technology.

Shivam acknowledges Prof. Ravi Kumar, Prof. Olivier Guillon, Prof. Menzler, Dr. Mariya E. Ivanova and Prof. Krishna Vasudevan for their guidance, Sivaguru Nathan for introducing them to the IGCS and IGCS Project Coordinator Lisa Van Aalst for their assistance through the whole application process to RWTH Aachen University and Forschungszentrum Jülich, in Aachen, Germany.

You can read the full report below:

Shivam Dwivedi, Unlocking Sustainable Energy Solutions at RWTH Aachen University

Shivam Dwivedi, was an IGCS grantee from the Metallurgical and Materials Engineering Department at IIT Madras, Chennai, India. Shivam recently completed their research exchange program at RWTH Aachen University, and Forschungszentrum Jülich, Germany, under the mentorship of Prof. Olivier Guillon and Dr. Mariya Ivanova. His research focuses on Proton Conducting Solid Oxide Electrolysis Cells, exploring innovative solutions for storing renewable energy.

In their insightful report, Shivam shares their journey navigating challenges and adapting their research to present significant progress towards their M.S. thesis. From the meticulous planning required for visa arrangements to the vibrant cultural experiences in Germany, Shivam’s narrative provides valuable insights for future IGCS scholars. He emphasizes the importance of embracing extracurricular activities and fostering emotional resilience amidst academic rigour, highlighting the holistic growth fostered by IGCS exchange programs.

You can read their full experience report here:

Shiva Kumar Rajendra, IGCS Grantee in RWTH Aachen for Short-term Postdoctoral Research

IGCS Exchange Research Grantee Shiva Kumar Rajendra details their meticulous preparation, challenges with accommodation, and the enriching academic experience from their home institution at University of Mysore, supervised under Prof. Jayashree P. to their host institution at RWTH Aachen University under the guidance of Prof. Martina Fromhold-Eisebith.

Shiva explored the topic of “Spatial Dimensions of Urban Agriculture in India and Germany”, where they did a comparative study between Bengaluru and Aachen to understand agricultural dynamics over two decades (2003–2023). Revealing distinct patterns influenced by urbanization, culture, and climate, they highlighted the importance of preserving green spaces, adopting sustainable techniques, and smart land use planning amid urbanization. Urban agriculture emerges as a practical solution for nutritional challenges, community resilience, and additional income, despite limitations. The comparative study offers valuable insights, fostering international partnerships to achieve Sustainable Development Goals.

You can read their full experience report here:

Nico Dabelstein, Managing Fluctuating Renewable Energy and Demand Using Microgrids

Nico Dabelstein was an IGCS research exchange grantee and a part of a research group led by IIT Madras, Chennai’s Prof. Dr. Krishna Vasudevan, where they’re pioneering the development of a cutting-edge microgrid on the campus area.

Nico’s focus on Deep Reinforcement Learning (DRL) aims to optimize energy distribution within the grid, employing this powerful machine learning technique to enhance effectiveness, environmental sustainability, and economic performance. Through meticulous data collection and Python modeling of microgrid components using libraries like stablebaselines3 and pandas, Nico’s team has crafted a sophisticated reward function considering costs, CO2 emissions, and battery state of charge. By integrating a Pandapower Python model for accurate component modeling and optimal power flow calculations, alongside an artificial neural network (ANN) for swift OPF approximations crucial for DRL agent training, they’re paving the way for a robust control algorithm to manage fluctuating renewable energy and demand within the microgrid.

You can read their full research brief below:

Nandhini Duraimurugan, IGCS Research Grantee’s Guide on Successful Application

Nandhini Duraimurugan is a Ph.D. research scholar from the Indian Institute of Technology Madras, Chennai who conducted a six month research exchange at RWTH Aachen, Germany. They were affiliated with the Department of Ocean Engineering at IIT Madras under the guidance of Prof. K. Murali and were hosted by the Institute of Textile Technology where they were supervised by Prof. Dr.-Ing. Dipl.-Wirt. Ing. Thomas Gries.

They detailed essential aspects such as navigating visa procedures, securing accommodation, and tapping into university resources. If you’re considering a research voyage to Aachen, Nandhini’s report provides valuable insights to streamline your journey and maximize your experience.

You can read their full experience report below:

Nico Dabelstein, Microgrids and Deep Reinforcement Learning for Sustainability

Nico Dabelstein was an IGCS research exchange participant from Technical University Berlin for the funding period of 2023. They shared their enriching experience at IIT Madras with the IGCS team for future prospective scholars.

They were also a participant during the Winter School 2023 in Chennai, and following this they applied to a conduct a three-month research stint collaborating with the Department of Electrical Engineering under the guidance from Prof. Dr. Krishna Vasudevan. From meticulous visa planning to adjusting insurance and packing essentials, Nico navigated the preparatory phase with precision. Accommodation options, bureaucratic challenges, and cultural immersion added depth to their stay. However, despite hurdles, Nico’s independent work and insightful meetings fuelled their academic and personal growth.

Nico expresses gratitude to IGCS and supervisors for this invaluable opportunity, emphasizing the transformative nature of their time at IIT Madras. You can read their full testimonial here:

Angel Jessieleena, research on fate of microplastics on surface waters in Chennai

Angel Jessieleena A had an enriching 3-month research exchange program at RWTH Aachen University, Germany, as she delves into the source and fate of #microplastics at Indian Institute of Technology, Madras, Chennai.

Angel’s gained valuable insights in focus and organization, significantly impacting her personal and professional growth through their research exchange in Germany.

You can read their full testimonial is below:

“My name is Angel Jessieleena A, and I’m a PhD student at IIT Madras, Chennai. My area of research is to investigate the source and fate of microplastics present in aquatic systems. In this report, I will share my experience with a 3-month research exchange program at RWTH Aachen University in Germany.

The main purpose of my visit was to utilize an instrument named micro-FTIR, which helps in the analysis of microplastics.

To begin with, let me first give you all a brief background about my area of research and my intent to visit. My doctoral research work is in the field of microplastics, focusing largely on the environmental monitoring of the surface waters of Chennai, India. In order to conduct a qualitative analysis of microplastics, Fourier Transform Infrared Spectrometer (FTIR) is used. However, it becomes impossible to use FTIR for the analysis when the microplastics of interest are less than 500 microns. There comes the need for a sophisticated instrument called micro-FTIR wherein a microscope comes along with the FTIR. This enables the user to focus on the microplastics through the microscope and parallelly conduct FTIR analysis to know the chemical composition of microplastics. However, this instrument is not available in our institute, but in order to analyse smaller microplastics (<500 micron in size) that are reportedly predominant in surface waters, micro-FTIR is essential.

Since Dr. Schwarzbauer’s lab at the Institute of Geology and Geochemistry of Petroleum and Coal, RWTH Aachen University is having the instrument, we (me and my supervisor) have decided that it is better for me to make a research visit to Germany. This is how my plan to visit RWTH Aachen University started. Later on, during our search to widen the exposure and also to gain knowledge about the experimental works that are being carried out in the other institutes of RWTH Aachen University, we came across ‘The Institute of Hydraulic Engineering and Water Resources Management (IWW)’, headed by Prof. Schüttrumpf. Wherein I had the opportunity to conduct experiments to understand the settling behavior of microplastics, which was inspired by the research work of Dr. Waldschlager. I’m very much thankful to both Dr. Waldschlager and Max for helping me out throughout this work.

Now coming to my experience, these three months had a great impact on both my personal and professional life.

I’m someone who always does things in a hurried manner, assuming that I would save time by rushing it up. But when I went to Germany, I kind of understood that no one there is actually rushing their work. Instead, they do one task at a time but with complete focus. Whereas many a times I felt that since I’m rushing my work and doing multiple things parallely, my focus will not be 100 % at the work I’m doing. This is because at the back of my mind I would be always thinking that I have some other things to do. This would ultimately help me finish the job but not with a perfection.

Another important habit I learnt is ‘the art of organization’. Since I’m someone who rush up things, I just sometimes keep things randomly with a prime focus of just finishing up the work. This habit would eventually make me spend more time to locate my things/materials. This not only causes loss of time but creates unwanted mental stress. I also realized that Germans are more into maintaining the things and keeping it clean. I see people spending so much time cleaning a single glassware and maintaining it very properly. I think I was lacking in that and now I’m trying my best to maintain my things and keep it clean.

Apart from these, I learnt many more things. I would say that these three months research stay at Aachen have made me a better person both in my personal and professional life.

Working in both the institutes was a highly rewarding experience. For a microplastic researcher, specially coming from developing countries like India, working with micro-FTIR was always a dream since it is pricey. Special thanks to Christina for helping me to learn the instrument’s operational and other details. Though I could not analyse all the samples due to time constraints, I was able to analyse samples that are of high importance. Therefore, for those planning to do a similar kind of research visit, my kind advice is to plan for at least a 6-month visit so that you would not need to rush up your work like I had to do.

So, I would recommend all my colleagues to take up the available opportunities and get immersed in a new experience. I’m sure that experience like this will definitely better their personal and professional life. Last but not least, I’m very thankful to all my colleagues and IGCS team members for their kind support throughout my stay there.


Shiva Kumar Rajendra, Post-doc research on Sustainable Urban Agriculture at RWTH Aachen

IGCS research scholar Dr. Shiva Kumar Rajendra undertook a postdoctoral scholarship at RWTH Aachen University, #Germany where they delved into sustainable urban agriculture methods, comparing practices in Aachen and Bengaluru. They expressed gratitude for the support received from Prof. Martina Fromhold-Eisebith and their supervisor Prof. Jayashree P. from their home institution at University of Mysore, #India.

Living and working within the vibrant academic community at RWTH Aachen University, the individual actively engaged with colleagues, fostering a sense of solidarity through shared lunches and departmental meetings. Reflecting on the exchange, they proposed improvements for short-term researcher housing and expressed anticipation for future collaborations with the IGCS family.

You can read the full report here: