Category: News

IGCS-motan Virtual Workshop 2021’s Winning Idea

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

Our IGCS-motan virtual workshop participants took this moto to our #SustainabilityChallenge: ‘Reduce | Re-Use | Recycle | Recover – Challenges and strategies in the handling of plastics’ in December of 2021. We heard many brilliant concepts, discussions and pitches that thrived to shape our common future with innovative and sustainable ideas. However, one group stood out the most and we asked them to summarize their winning ideas.

2021 Flyer on IGCS motan Workshop

IGCS-motan Workshop’s working group no. 3 represented by Marwa Madarani (University of Stuttgart), Shakunthala Natarajan (IIT Madras), Rajkumar Sahoo (Jawaharlal Nehru University) and Linus Uzoewulu (Kiel University) presented their idea titled ‘Alternatives to Single-use Plastics (SUP) – Using Plastics Properly.’ Here is an extract from their presentation:

Single use plastics (SUPs) are creating a menace to the environment. Among these, SUP bags are used to a large extent for a variety of day-to-day purposes. These bags eventually end up in the surrounding, clog waterways and lead to a large number of other environmental issues. Despite plastic bag bans, the use of SUP bags has not been curbed. India, and other countries like Lebanon, and Nigeria are still struggling from the spread of single-use plastic bags. Therefore to facilitate the mitigation of excessive consumption of plastic bags, the focus must be on creating awareness among humans about their responsibility to protect the environment. Banking upon the necessity to bring about this behavioural change in humans towards plastic use and disposal, we have come up with a solution, which will be detailed in the ensuing lines.

“Re-Plast” is an educational online game that aims to change the attitude of younger generations between 6-and 16 years old towered the single-use plastic bags through different missions with different levels. In each mission,” Re-Plast “focuses on spreading awareness step by step, starting from understanding the types of plastic bags; moving toward educating about reusing, reducing and recycling behaviours, and ending with replacing or encouraging single-use plastic bags alternatives. Further, the game will pop out, workshops and indirect questions to the children to assure the achievement of the mission’s goal and to collect data to understand adults’ behaviour toward plastic bags through the eyes of children respectively.

“Re-Plast” aims to swap two adjacent plastic bags “among several on each level board, as to make a row or column of at least 3 matching-plastic bags”. The game aims to earn coins within a certain number of plastic bags gathered to accomplish the missions.

‘Re-Plast’ game is just the first step of our solution. In our next step, we will develop the game to target different generations; in addition, we will conduct workshops at schools in collaboration with the eco-clubs there. After spreading awareness and knowledge about Sups, we will collaborate and share the collected data with the government to influence the governmental decisions concerning plastics. And to achieve our vision, which is moving toward Recycling, we will create an app called ”Circularis” Where Plastic consumers can register themselves in the app and notify us whenever they have got plastic wastes to dispose of. After the notification, our waste collectors will be dispatched to the consumer’s place to collect the plastic waste and monetarily incentivize the customer for the plastic waste deposited. Our waste collectors will transport the collected plastic wastes to recycling firms. Since we offset the transportation costs of recycling firms by bringing in our waste collectors, we could get the incentivization money from them in return for this favour. This along with the Re-Plast online game will create a better intervention for tackling the problem created by single-use plastics.

An Extract from Group 3’s Presenation during the first ever IGCS-motan Workshop

About IGCS-motan Partnership

The IGCS-motan 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.

IGCS and motan are always looking for motivated students to carry out a research project or an industry internship supported. For more information about IGCS’ Grant opportunities click here. You can find more information on motan on their website here.

Featured Image Credits: Photo by mali maeder

IGCS Summer School 2022

Sustainable Waste Management in the Nexus of Climate Change and Low Carbon Economy

Date: 18 July to 29 July 2022

Venue: Aachen, Germany


Achieving net-zero emissions and zero carbon footprint by the year 2050 are the major targets set by every nation to preclude the worst effects of climate change. Defossilization, switching to circular economy models to increase circularity per capita, adopting nature-based regenerative and resilient climate solutions, reducing our dependency on fossils, augmenting energy efficiency in production processes and waste prevention are the key interventions required to meet the net-zero goals. Sustainable waste management is central to the development and deployment of strategies to transition to a „low carbon circular economy“ in order to build a sustainable economic, natural and social capital.

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

This edition of the IGCS Summer School aims to bring out the connections of sustainable waste management with clean energy, energy efficiency, reducing CO2 emissions, bio-based economy, and restoration of the ecosystem and its services. Topics that will be deliberated include best practices and emerging strategies in Germany and India, such as composting of biodegradable wastes, handling of construction debris, incineration of residual waste, and plastics upcycling methods, liquefaction of unsegregated municipal solid wastes and recycling of industrial wastes.  

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

  1. Identifying measures and opportunities in the circular economy to contribute to climate protection
  2. Developing a fundamental and holistic understanding of different waste management systems and technologies
  3. Proposing innovative solutions to strengthen the circular economy
IGCS Summer School 2022 Information Flyer
IGCS Summer School 2022 Information Flyer


This Summer School will run for twelve days from July 18th until July 29th 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.

The Summer School will be a physical event in Aachen, Germany.


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

Selected participants from German universities will receive a mobility scholarship of up to 50€ as well as a scholarship of 240€ to cover living expenses during School.

Selected participants from Indian universities will receive a mobility scholarship of 1.075€ as well as a scholarship of 240€ to cover living expenses during School. IGCS is covering the costs of stay.

*Non-German students and university graduates can apply if they are enrolled in the course of study at a German university to obtain 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 30. April 2022. Applications received after this date will not be considered.

The link is open from 01.04.2022 – 30.04.2022, 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 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 participation in the School.
  4. Enrolment certificate
  5. Passport Copy

Positive results will be announced by May 2022. We kindly ask you to refrain from inquiries about the application status in the meantime. Your data will be deleted if you are 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).

Launch of the documentary on ‘Chennai – A Global South Metropolis in the Peri-Cene


As the human population increases, so does the pressure for urbanization…. Around the world, metropolitan regions are haphazardly “sprawling” past their effective borders and into the sub-optimal peri-urban areas. The planet has entered the ‘Peri-cene’ phase – a new global human-environment system shaped by peri-urbanization.

The Indian city of Chennai shows many challenges, with a combination of climate risk, socio-economic divisions and disruptions, and sub-optimal governance. Here the Indo-German Centre for Sustainability (IGCS) at IIT Madras has focused on three critical areas – water, land use, and governance – in collaboration with the University of Manchester and KTH Royal Institute of Technology (Stockholm) on the global project Peri-cene.

Around the world peri-urban settlements suffer the impacts of climate-driven weather extremes – cyclones in South East Asia, wildfires in Australia, riverine flooding in China. On the positive side, there are many examples of peri-urban resilience, via novice solutions or “adaptive pathways”, with transformational agro-ecology, natural flood management or eco-tourism. With peri-urban land areas around the world now doubling every 24 years, there is an urgent need to steer the peri-urban towards resilience and sustainability. But this raises challenges both for science and for policy.



  • 4.30-6.00 IST
    ‘Urbanization, Disaster Risk Reduction & Adaptive Pathways: Chennai in global context’

4.35: Introduction & global context: disaster management in the ‘peri-eco-urban Anthropocene (chair: Joe Ravetz, University of Manchester)

4.40: Introduction to the film & the Peri-urban Initiative (Christoph Woiwode, IGCS, IITM)

4.45: Screening: Chennai – a global south metropolis in the global peri-cene

5.20: panel responses: Dr Loraine Kennedy, French Institute Pondicherry: Prof. Ismu Rini Dwi Ari, University of Brawijaya: Dr Lakshmi Ragajendran, University College London:

5.35: open discussion – challenges & ways forward

5.55: wrapping up & next steps: (Prof. Chella Rajan, IGCS, IITM Chennai).
The film is also available on “Chennai – A Global South Metropolis in the Peri-Cene”
Any queries & comments:

Cover Photo Credits: Chait Goli:

Sustainability in Education: The Case of Katchipedu, Chennai

The Indo-German Centre for Sustainability (IGCS) conducts research on current sustainability challenges and disseminates the knowledge generated. Infact their work at Katchipdu community near Chennai in Tamil Nadu focuses on environmental protection regarding water resources, energy, land use, rural development and waste management, and aims to develop the capacity and capability to promote sustainable development.

We are happy to announce our newest Nook in Chennai (near Katchipedu) in collaboration with IGCS. Join us for a special FACEBOOK Live session with Dr. Christoph Woiwode, Urban Planner & Anthropologist, Visiting faculty with IGCS at IIT Madras; Ms. Uthra Radhakrishnan, Senior Project Officer with IGCS at IIT Madras and Dr. Christoph Neusiedl, Chairman, Initiative for New education as they examine sustainability in education from a research lens.

Date: Wednesday, March 23, 2022

Time: 6-7 PM IST

Where: @ProjectDefy on Facebook

IGCS Research Brief 01/2022 Published

Peter Volz and Christoph Woiwode conducted a study about the agro-food system of Chennai and its surrounding region in 2021 in order to see how it can be made more sustainable.
The outcome of this participatory research is published in this IGCS Research Brief 01/2022. They are hoping to continue this exciting process with an action-oriented workshop to reflect upon these recommendations and discuss with stakeholders the potential for an agroecological transformation of the Chennai region.

Featured Image on the post by Pixabay.

Landuse Area awarded a new three-year project in Sustainability Education

Dr. Christoph Woiwode, RWTH Aachen University and IGCS Visiting Faculty at IIT Madras, together with Bangalore-based non-profit organisation Project DEFY and the German-based association Initiative für Neue Bildung e.V. were awarded a three-year grant by the Hans Hermann Voss-Stiftung to create a “Nook” self-designed learning centre near Chennai. By building on IGCS’s Periurban Initiative and the ongoing Peri-Cene Project about Chennai’s periurbanization processes, the Chennai Nook incorporates an action research component to integrate sustainability with the learning process and learners-led projects such as community gardening, or repair and recycling. Read more here.

The following images are illustrations of the workings of the previous Nook location:

Application Deadline Extensions

The IGCS Team has decided to extend the deadlines for our two upcoming events-

1. IGCS-motan Workshop

New deadline: 22 November 2021 for more information visit the link-

2. IGCS Winter School 2022

New deadline: 03 December 2021 for more information visit the link- look forward to reading your application!image:

Jugendkonferenz 2021

Goethe Institute Bangalore and the German School Board Abroad in New Delhi is organizing an online event Jugendkonferenz (Youth Conference) starting November 14th until November 20th, 2021 in the virtual rooms of the Goethe-Institut Bangalore. The theme of this year’s conference is “Future: We can do it.” The focus is on how we can enable every single person to live in dignity, freedom and peace in an intact and functional environment in the future.

IGCS’ postdocs: Dr Christoph Woiwode, Dr Khulud Alsouleman, Dr Daniel Rosado, and Dr Gabriela Garcés Sánchez will offer workshops at the event.

The objective of the workshop and lectures is to provide suggestions as to which sustainable measures one can take to shape our collective future together sustainably. In addition, participants will receive first-hand experiences in a practical exchange with fellow colleagues and find opportunities to act responsibly together.

For more information visit the website here.