Category: News

Cultural Affairs Officer at the U.S. Consulate General in Chennai visits Katchipedu Nook Self-learning Space

Last Friday, our Katchipedu Nook Self-learning Space was honored by a visit of Mr. Scott Hartmann, Cultural Affairs Officer at the U.S. Consulate General in Chennai, and his colleague Mr. Gokula Selvarajan, Experiential Learning Coordinator. They took a keen interest in the project activities, enjoyed the fun interaction with the learners, and also participated in a field visit to Katchipedu village. The Consulate has many opportunities for funding the promotion of individual learners in various ways, including scholarships and beyond, which also offers workshops for further qualification. We are looking forward to more collaborations in the future. A big thanks for your visit!

5th IGD on Green Urban Practices Conducted

IGCS is proud to announce that the 5th iteration of the Indo-German Dialogue was successfully conducted on 13th – 15th October 2023 at Tiruvannamalai in Tamil Nadu, South India, on the theme “Genus loci – Locality matters: Embedding sustainable transformation in local contexts”. Congratulations to IGCS-post doc Dr. Christoph Woiwode, the F5Green Foundation, and Tiruvannamalai. Over the years not only a network but also a sort of “IGD family” has grown with new delegates joining in every time. We are extremely grateful for the partnership with Renuka and Raj from F5 Green Foundation who welcomed some 30 participants to their ‘Vaan Sirappu’ Knowledge Exchange Centre on their marvellous farm in what was to be an experiential immersion to local sustainability practices and places of practice.

Sharing one’s own experiences from practice and research through case studies and field trips, in discussions, dyadic encounters, through reflective exercises and group interactions, also developing ideas to create a potential for collaborations, describes in a nutshell the format of the IGD series as a continuously evolving platform of interdisciplinary, cross-cultural Indo-German interaction. Besides plenty of sharing, talking and chatting, we explored the ‘genus loci’ by climbing the sacred mountain Arunachalamalai. We were also deeply impressed by a farmers’ collective whose members displayed their detailed, intergenerational knowledge about the ecosystem habitats related to agriculture. It has been once more an extremely rewarding and worthwhile event. A big thanks to IGCS for the co-funding and to every one and all who made this IGD such a glowing event.

Academic Excellence Knows No Borders: An Interview with Dr. Harish Selvam

Dr.-Ing. Harish Selvam is a Research Associate at the Institute of Hydraulic Engineering and Water Resources Management (IWW), at RWTH Aachen University and was a joint doctoral student from the Department of Ocean Engineering (DOE), IIT Madras (IITM). He is involved in research related to tsunami interaction with rectangular buildings and developing design equations for buildings subjected to tsunami loads. Harish shares his experience with the Indo-German Centre for Sustainability (IGCS) in his journey toward obtaining his doctoral degree.

The IGCS team had the opportunity to interview Harish and discuss aspects of his academic and research life, his decision to pursue a joint doctoral program, the differences and similarities between his experiences at RWTH Aachen and IIT Madras. He also shares his influence of the joint doctoral program on his future career prospects. Additionally, Harish provides advice for prospective joint doctoral program candidates and offers suggestions for funding opportunities and life in Germany.

Here is the full interview:

IGCS: Please introduce yourself.

Dr.-Ing. Harish Selvam, Research Associate at the Institute of Hydraulic Engineering and Water Resources Management (IWW), RWTH Aachen University. I was a joint doctoral student between the Department of Ocean Engineering (DOE), IIT Madras (IITM). I worked under Prof. V. Sriram (DOE), Prof. S. A. Sannasiraj (DOE) and Prof. Holger Schüttrumpf on the PhD research topic entitled “Tsunami-like flow induced forces on the shorefront structures.” This research aimed to understand the tsunami interaction with rectangular buildings and develop design equations for buildings subjected to tsunami load.

IGCS: Please tell us more about your journey towards your doctoral degree. Tell us both about your time at IIT Madras and RWTH Aachen University how did your research stay at both the institutions differ from each other and where did you find similarities?

My PhD story started on the 27th of December, 2016. I started my career as a “Master of Science (MS)” student at DOE, IITM. IITM offers excellent opportunities for students with good academic excellence in MS or M.Tech. Upgrading MS to PhD without completing MS (under the Dual degree scheme) is possible. I was one such dual degree student. While continuing my research at IITM, I got an opportunity through IGCS short-term fellowship to visit IWW, RWTH Aachen. Thanks to the IGCS centre for selecting me, which seeded my research in Aachen. Later, I extended my stay in Aachen through scholarships such as IIT Madras – RWTH (Indo-German Program), IGCS long-term research fellowship, RWTH – IIT Madras University Junior Research fellowships and ABCD Future Environmental Leaders Scholarship. I hereby would like to thank all the funding agencies for supporting my research stay at RWTH.

Time at IITM and RWTH I did not feel much difference in academic life at both universities. I lived on a residential campus also home to many animals (Deer, Macaque, Monkeys and other rare animals). In terms of work life, at IITM, I start my day at 9:00 A.M. I spend my day reading literature, conducting experiments or analyzing the results, carrying out numerical simulations, etc. In addition, I regularly met my Professors to update my research progress. Other than that, I have spent much time discussing with our colleagues related to research. Sometimes, those discussions ran for hours. I, in fact, worked late nights at the institute. Nevertheless, RWTH Aachen is unique in its own way. It took me some time to adapt to the silent work environment. However, I started liking it now. I feel a perfect “Work-life balance” in Germany (overall), which kept me mentally strong during the hard days of my Ph.D. The regular routine remained the same. Overall, one cannot examine and compare both systems.

IGCS: Why did you decide to go for a joint doctoral degree program and how do you think it affected your future career perspectives?

During my initial days at IIT Madras, I was very much fascinated to see my colleagues involved in healthy collaborative research at the foreign university. It was the motivating factor behind me to apply for the exchange program at RWTH Aachen. In addition, I also knew that IWW has a unique tsunami-generating flume in the laboratory space, which interested me a lot since I work on the same research topic. Also, I knew both universities have a healthy research tie-up. Both professors were interested in the topic I was working on for my Ph. D.,  which eased my application to the joint doctoral program (JDP). Furthermore, JDP promoted a strong research exchange between both institutes.

In addition to the academic point of view, JDP has so much of a reputation in the outside world since I am one of the few individuals to receive a joint degree from a leading research institution. Of course, this has a positive effect on my career since I would like to stay in academics and research. I am well-recognized among research communities both in India and Germany. Overall, I am pleased to receive a joint degree from both universities.

IGCS: What is your advice for prospective joint doctoral program candidates? What advice can you offer regarding funding of the stay and life in Germany?

I shall share my suggestions for funding the stay and life in Germany. Germany is gorgeous. It is getting technologically advanced day by day. When you are in Germany, I suggest you utilize the opportunity to the fullest. Get yourself involved in the research activities happening at the university. RWTH professors, in general, are friendly. They are interested in improving the collaboration activities between India and Germany.

Hence, if you would like to continue staying in Germany, you could contact the international office at RWTH for possible fellowships. You can also check with IGCS for possible fellowships or scholarships. In addition, you could also check the DAAD website for possible scholarships. I think there are several such possibilities. For any scholarship, an excellent proposal is mandatory. Prepare a nice proposal mentioning why you would like to stay at RWTH. I think that is really important. Furthermore, based on the scholarship agreement, you could also work part-time at the institute, for which you should check with your Professor or the person in charge. If you have further doubts, please don’t hesitate to reach me through LinkedIn [à] or email [à].

Thank you for the opportunity to express my gratitude and thanks to IGCS!

IGCS to be at RWTH Aachen’s Go Abroad Week

Do you want to broaden your horizons and bolster your career opportunities? Would you like to go abroad but still have questions regarding requirements, options, and funding?

No problem: RWTH Aachen University’s International Office is hosting the annual Go Abroad Week from October 23 to 27, 2023!

For more information on the Go Abroad Week, visit the website:

The IGCS will be present at the Go Abroad Week on Monday, 1400 – 1700 CET, on the 6th Floor of the Super C building, RWTH Aachen University.

Come say hi! And learn what you can do as an exchange student in India.

IGCS-motan Workshop 2023 Application Deadline Extended


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

Then take part in our #SustainabilityChallenge: ‘Reduce | Re-Use | Recycle | Recover: From Waste to Wonder: Navigating Challenges and Unlocking Innovation in the Plastics Industry of Tomorrow’ and make a difference – shape the future with your innovative and sustainable ideas.

The workshop is a platform to present your #entrepreneurial ideas. The winner will receive a prize money and a chance to implement their innovative ideas with support from IGCS and motan.

Application Still Open. Deadline Extended.

IGCS-motan Workshop 2023 Information Flyer
IGCS-motan Workshop 2023 Information Flyer

IGCS Winter School 2024 Applications Open

Regenerative Urban Futures – Integrated Spatial Planning for Resilience

Date: 19. February – 01. March, 2024

Venue: IIT Madras, Chennai, India

Overall Objectives

The IGCS schools in the year 2024 are taking place under the umbrella theme “Regenerative Urban Futures”.

In current debates, regeneration is often viewed as going a step further than sustainability, for rather than sustaining particular conditions, regeneration stresses the capacity and ability to recover and even evolve beyond the existing state of affairs. By urban, we mean a wide array of situations and conditions that refer to a broad view of spatial configurations. These include not only clearly identifiable cities and towns but equally the phenomenon of planetary urbanization as part of the Anthropocene, i.e. rapidly urbanizing rural areas, large metropolitan agglomerations, urban fringes, and periurban areas that lie far outside the urban hubs.

By virtue of this overall framing, the topic of the Winter School takes up a persistent and prominent challenge for decision-makers, namely the interface of adequate planning instruments with resilience as one pivotal goal of regenerative urban futures. Simply put, what are we doing today, and what can we do tomorrow to ensure sustainable, resilient, adaptive, and regenerative urban development? Integrated spatial planning is likely to be a key solution. Here, two aspects are important: first, how can we design the morphology (patterns, demographics) of human settlements to ensure spatial integration of land use functions, and secondly, how can we best administer and manage the planning and governance process? Both these dimensions are aimed at overcoming compartmentalisation, silos, fragmentation, and opaqueness – a quality that characterizes many urban settlements across the world. For that matter, integration has been for long a challenge and a contentious issue, and yet, as a goal, it has become even more relevant nowadays as we are faced with complex, wicked global problems with consequences and repercussions in specific local contexts such as climate change and disaster risks, environmental degradation, social inequalities and disparities, or the globalization of markets and trade. For these reasons, a systems perspective is essential, in particular, taking into consideration eco-social and socio-technical systems and their transformation.

The objectives of the Winter School are:

  1. To build collective awareness of the challenges we face as urban populations rise and face issues related to resource depletion, climate change, job security, and so on.
  2. To understand socio-technical solutions that are available today and are being used to address these challenges.
  3. To theorize on strategies that we can take to ensure a sustainable, regenerative future for urban areas.

This Winter School will cover topics such as

  • Climate and disaster risk adaptation and management
  • Interface of the built environment with ecosystems and ecosystem services and a systems perspective to analyze these linkages.
  • Planning tools, instruments, and processes that are required to foster integrated spatial planning and enhance resilience.
  • Administration and governance approaches
  • Nature Based Solutions, Technological Solutions, and Social Solutions to Urban Challenges
  • The role of entrepreneurs, markets, and policy in solving these challenges

If you are interested in sustainable urbanization, then the school might be appropriate for you. You are likely to meet like-minded people with whom you may forge a lasting relationship and listen to experts from several countries who will discuss the challenges, solutions, and pathways that urban agglomerations can take to become more sustainable.


This Winter School will run for twelve days from February 19th until March 1st, 2024, and will have two major work streams. The mornings and afternoons will be reserved for lectures and talks given by Indian and German academics and practitioners. The second workstream is dedicated to project work (see below). 


The School will consist of lectures, group work, panel discussions, excursions, and intercultural exchanges.

The Summer School will be a physical event in Chennai, India.


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 from German Institutions /15 from Indian Institutions).

Selected participants from German universities will receive a mobility scholarship of up to 1.050 €.

Selected participants from Indian universities will be reimbursed for their travel by train (Second class seats).

Selected participants will receive a scholarship to cover living expenses during their stay.

IGCS is covering the costs of stay for all participants in the campus guesthouse (shared rooms) as well as breakfast, lunch, and dinner at the Guesthouse/the venue.

*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 the DAAD website: Bewerbungen um ein Stipendium (at the moment only available in the German Language).


Interested students may apply through the Winter School Application Form. The application deadline is 01. December 2023. Applications received after this date will not be considered.

The link is open from 16.10.2023 – 01.12.2023, 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.

Submit Your Application Here

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
  6. Motivation Letter

Positive results will be announced at the beginning of December. 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.

The option to receive credit points for participation in the IGCS Winter School needs to be discussed with study advisors.


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


IGCS Area Coordinators for Land Use, Prof. Dr. Ashwin Mahalingam (Indian Institute of Technology Madras), Prof. Dr. Martina Fromhold-Eisebith (RWTH Aachen University) and Dr. Christoph Woiwode (Indian Institute of Technology Madras.

The Energy Consortium – IIT Madras to Organize Energy Summit, Invitation for Abstract Open

The Energy Consortium – IIT Madras is organizing the Energy Consortium’s annual flagship energy summit from Dec 6-7, 2023. The summit this year will be the biggest yet, providing an excellent opportunity to hear from and interact with global thought leaders and experts from industry, academia, policy makers, and government agencies working towards accelerating the development of technologies to enable energy transition towards a low-carbon future.

For more information on the summit visit: Energy Summit 2023 – Dec 5 to Dec 8, 2023 | IIT Madras (

On behalf of the summit organizing committee, we forward you their open invitation to submit abstracts under one of the following themes:
– Energy Storage, Electrolyzer technology and Green Hydrogen
– Carbon Markets, Energy Economics and Climate Finance
– Energy Efficiency, Energy Management and Modeling, Sustainable Buildings
– Microgrids, Power conversion systems and Power electronics

The link to submit abstracts for the conference is here:

Colleagues with selected papers will be invited to present at the summit on Dec 6/7, 2023. This year’s summit will be held entirely in person at IIT Madras.

The extended deadline for submissions is 15 October 2023.

The IGCS-motan Workshop 2023 Announced

#SustainabilityChallenge – From Waste to Wonder

Your ideas are too good to be forgotten.

IGCS and motan are carrying out a two-day virtual workshop and are looking for your entrepreneurial ideas.

IGCS-motan Workshop flyer 2023

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

Then take part in our #SustainabilityChallenge: ‘Reduce | Re-Use | Recycle | Recover: From Waste to Wonder: Navigating Challenges and Unlocking Innovation in the Plastics Industry of Tomorrow’ and make a difference – shape the future with your innovative and sustainable ideas.

The workshop is a platform to present your entrepreneurial ideas and have an opportunity to fund those ideas into innovative solutions for a greener future under IGCS and motan.

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.

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!

Deadline: 15. October 2023

Submit Your Application Here

Workshop Details:

● Date:

2 day- virtual workshop: 21. – 22. November 2023

Presentation: 05. December 2023

● Program:

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

● Target group:

Students from all disciplines who are currently enrolled in an undergraduate (Bachelors), post-graduate (Masters), or doctoral program in Indian or German academic institutions

● Award:

The winner will receive a prize money and a chance to implement their innovative ideas with support from IGCS and motan.


● 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 behavior 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.

Field visit by IGCS focus area “WASTE” team

IGCS focus area “WASTE” team Prof. Vinu, Prof. Dirk Weichgrebe and his Leibniz University Hannover research team, and IGCS postdoc Dr. Mozhiarasi made a field visit to OxiLoc project site (Closed Landfill Methane Oxidation) BAWN and MSW Nienburg transfer station in Lower Saxony, Germany on 27.07.2023. In continuation, on 28.07.2023, the team also visited Plastic waste sorting and recycling facility, GAR Gesellschaft für Abfall u. Recycling mbH & Co. KG Recycling park: Kätinger Heide meeting landbell company and Rest waste treatment facility, RABA BASSUM.

The field visits have been supplemented with some fruitful presentations and futuristic discussions. Overall, the field visit gave the team valuable insights on the waste segregation in recycling centers, and possible scope for building research projects and models in India through fruitful collaborations.

IGCS Winter School 2023 enlightening experience through the intercultural activities, Alumni Reetu Kundu

IGCS school participant Reetu Kundu, affiliated with Amity University, Noida, Uttar Pradesh, India participated in the recent IGCS Winter School 2023 at the Indian Institute of Technology, Madras, Chennai, India, between 20. February to 3. March 2023 on the theme “Microgrid – A Key Contribution Towards Carbon Neutral Society” under the IGCS focus area of Sustainable Energy Use. Special thanks to IGCS Area Coordinators, Prof. Dr. Frank Behrendt at Technische Universität Berlin, Germany, and Prof. Dr. Krishna Vasudevan at Indian Institute of Technology Madras, India, and IGCS Postdoc, Dr. Khulud Alsouleman, also from Technical University Berlin, Germany for organizing the event.

Reetu, had an enlightening experience through the intercultural activities, lab visits, and panel discussions provided valuable insights and connections with fellow participants. They highly recommends the school for its educational value, participant engagement, and cultural exchange.

You can read more about their experiences in our latest edition of IGCS Experience Reports, which you can also download below:

Are you interested in research on sustainability issues? The Indo-German Centre for Sustainability (IGCS) awards scholarships to students and researchers whose projects on sustainability issues benefit from a research exchange to India or Germany. Our research fellows receive a one-time travel fund in addition to a monthly scholarship. The scholarship provides travel and living expenses according to DAAD funding rates, as a rule. The Indo-German Centre for Sustainability (IGCS) offers scholarships to help you achieve your academic and professional goals.

Learn more about scholarship opportunities.