Category: News

Charlotte Draese, Exploring the Impact of Floods on Pollution in Indian River Systems

IGCS Scholar Charlotte Draese shared positive strides made during their recent research exchange made in Chennai, India, focusing on the resilience of river systems to climate-induced floods. Exploring the Adyar and Cooum rivers, they aimed to identify accumulation areas for sediment particles, creating valuable archives of flood and pollution history.

Despite challenges, their efforts revealed insights into elevated levels of pollutants like PAHs and PCBs, shedding light on potential mitigation strategies. They also mention “the collaborative spirit with IIT Madras colleagues was truly inspiring, fostering a rich exchange of ideas.”

You can read their full experience report in our link below:

Charlotte kindly acknowledge the support and collaboration of Prof Dr. Indumathi M. Nambi (Department of Civil Engineering, IIT Madras), Prof. Dr. Klaus Reicherter (NUG, RWTH Aachen University), Prof. Dr. Jan Schwarzbauer (LEK, RWTH Aachen), Dr. Catherine Chagué (UNSW Sydney), Christina Schwanen (LEK, RWTH Aachen) regarding the workshop at IIT Madras. Furthermore, in addition to those already mentioned, they would like to thank Prof. Dr. Frank Lehmkuhl (PGG, RWTH Aachen), Dr. Daniel Rosado (IGCS, Indian Institute of Technology, Madras) and Max Formen (PGG, RWTH Aachen) for the provided support during the fieldwork.🌍🌱

You can read their full experience report here:

Peter Volz’ experiences with IGCS, Tamil Nadu, and the 5th IGD

My exchange with the Indo-German Centre for Sustainability (IGCS) took place in Tiruvannamalai, Tamil Nadu, India on October 13-15, 2023, however, there were also in-depth meetings and exchanges in Chennai, Tamil Nadu, India.

The objective of the IGD (Indo-German Dialogue) is the exchange between Indian and German scientists and other stakeholders on interdisciplinary local sustainability activities. The topic of food systems and especially regional sustainable practices has become a focus of the exchange, which has been taking place for several years now. I, Peter Volz, had previously participated in this format and had a longer research stay at the IITM in Chennai in 2021. One result of this research was the publication with Dr. Christoph Woiwode titled “Towards a Sustainable Transformation of the Food System in the Chennai Region” (see online here). This topic was also addressed at this year’s meeting in Tiruvannamalai. 

Special attention was paid to the role of local processes, “Genus loci – Locality matters,” at this year’s IGD. The German side therefore focused on the importance of food councils and similar structures for shaping the food system. The Agronauts have been working on this for many years and co-founded the food council in Freiburg. In addition, Peter Volz is currently supervising an Indian scientist who is working in Germany on food councils and a possible transfer of this concept to India.

The Cologne Food Council was also represented by Managing Director Florian Sander. 

The concept of food councils was presented at the meeting in Tiruvannamalai and there was some interest in the approach from various Indian stakeholders, e.g. from the “Edible Roots” initiative from Delhi. A stronger and continuous exchange on the implementation of food councils between Germany and India was also addressed, e.g. via a blog/website and learning exchange. The IGCS could provide a good framework for this. This was a result that is now being worked on as a follow-up. 

In addition to the content-related exchange, the IGD program also included an introduction to the hosts of “F5”, a cultural program and a visit to the famous pilgrimage site of Tiruvannamalai. This time, 28 people from initiatives in the field of sustainability (e.g. regional organic food) were represented, including 5 initiatives from Germany.

What was particularly striking about the IGD was that the participants were very motivated and interested. Some had already taken part in an IGD. This created a constructive atmosphere. In addition to the presentation of the various projects, there was also an intensive exchange on how the different approaches in Germany and India can enrich each other. Continuity was also addressed. The important role of Dr. Christoph Woiwode, who has been promoting the exchange for years, was emphasized.

In addition to the participants, there were guest speakers and a visit from Tirivannamalai and a farmers’ cooperative. There was also a cultural program and very good sustainable food. 

The IGD was therefore a complete success, strengthening the links and cooperation between India and Germany in the field of sustainability.

On experiences with the IGD

The Indo-German Dialogue (IGD) was held from October 13-15, 2023 in Tiruvannamalai, South India. 28 people from initiatives in the field of sustainability (e.g. regional organic food) were represented, 5 of them from Germany. The theme was “Genus loci – Locality matters” and therefore it was very appropriate to introduce the concept of food councils. The increased focus on sustainable and climate-friendly nutrition can be addressed and ideally improved locally through food councils. Examples from Freiburg and Cologne were given during this exchange. Further exchange on the topic via blog/website etc. was considered. 

In addition to the substantive program, excursions with exchanges with small farmers and a cultural program were also offered. The exchange with the smallholder initiative was a particular highlight of the trip. The dialog between India and Germany is an enrichment for me. Impulses can be set and the continuity of the IGDs enables in-depth exchange.    The work in the research organization “Die Agronauten” deals with the topics of nutrition and agriculture. These topics are particularly close to my heart, as they have a major impact on our health, economy and health. I have been practicing exchange between Germany and South Asia (Sri Lanka, India) for many years.

IGCS Research Grantee- Darla Ashish Pradhan Joshi, research on Copolymerization of Lactones establishes a crucial connection with #industrial requirements

IGCS Research Grantee Darla Ashish Pradhan Joshi from Institute Of Chemical Technology, #Mumbai was our research exchange student at AVT Fluid Process Engineering Lab, RWTH Aachen University. His latest research breakthrough unveils a dynamic simulation model, unraveling the complexities of #lactide and ε-caprolactone copolymerization catalyzed with “asme” catalysts. The research’s focal point was to develop a #SimulationModel providing a detailed understanding of the physical effects in lactide and ε-caprolactone #copolymerization. As an outcome the model serves as a predictive tool for product quality characteristics, facilitating optimization of #polymerization parameters and a model-based scale-up.

Moreover, Darla Ashish has established a crucial connection with #industrial requirements, offering rapid and safe alternatives to the commonly utilized toxic ROP catalyst, Sn octanoate. The #MathematicalFramework he has constructed accounts for reversible initiation, propagation, chain transfer, and #transesterification reactions, incorporating diffusion control for polymer chain length. Notably, the model predicts monomer conversions, molecular weights, polydispersity indices, and cumulative copolymer compositions.

You can read the full research brief below:

Transformative research exchange experience at AVT.FVT Lab, RWTH Aachen, reports Ashish Joshi

Darla Ashish Pradhan Joshi, a Integrated Master’s Student in Chemical Engineering at the Institute of Chemical Technology, Mumbai, recently shared his transformative research exchange experience at AVT.FVT Lab at RWTH Aachen University in Germany, funded through IGCS. Under the guidance of Professor Jupke and Mr. Niclas Conen, MSc, Ashish had an enriching journey that delved into Fluid Process Engineering, computational chemistry, and modelling, to expand his academic horizons.

Expressing gratitude to his home institution, the IGCS community, and RWTH Aachen University, Ashish recommends similar opportunities for students seeking to broaden their academic and cultural horizons. Beyond academics, the practical and cultural dimension added to his experience through engagement with the local community.

Read his full experience blog where he shares a detailed insights during his stay in Aachen below:

IGCS Scholar Katrin Isabelle Bernard, Grantee Experience Report on Chennai, Life Abroad & More

Katrin Isabelle Bernard embarked on a transformative journey in Chennai from February to August 2023, conducting data collection for her master thesis during her exchange with the IGCS.

Dr. Christoph Woiwode‘s suggestion to explore a research exchange in India sparked her interest, leading to a successful fellowship application in November 2022. With Dr. Woiwode’s support, Katrin refined her research, prepared a compelling exposé, and secured the needed recommendation letter.

Click the link below to read her full experience blog where she shares a detailed insights into the crucial steps of preparation and her experiences during her stay in Chennai.

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