Category: Research

New Project for IGCS Focus Area Landuse

Focus Area Landuse introduces ARiSE Chennai – Agroecology, Resilience, Sustainability and Entrepreneurship.

IGCS announces an exciting Focus Area Landuse, Urban/Rural Development project. Funded with Rs. 20 Lakhs under Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) by our partner company Solverminds Technology Solutions Pvt. Ltd., Chennai. This 18-month-long project addresses one of humanity’s key grand challenges at the interface of rapid urbanization, particularly, how to make food production and consumption more sustainable, secure, just, and resilient.

Together with our partner organisation, Chennai Resilience Centre, we are looking forward to implementing the overarching objective of the project, which is to develop a strategic vision of peri/urban agroecology for the metropolitan region of Chennai that enhances climate risk resilience and sustainable development through an entrepreneurial approach, with the longer-term vision to create an urban food council. This project further builds on previous research in the Peri-Cene project by the IGCS Landuse area, which identified agroecology as a high-potential, sustainable, adaptive development pathway to address climate change and disaster risks.

Decorative Image: Focus Area Landuse

Furthermore, the workshop “Exploring Food System Transformation in the Chennai Region” laid the seeds for creating a stakeholder network. Additionally, this was built on a research collaboration with Die Agronauten, Freiburg, in Germany, including a co-authored IGCS Research Brief outlining several recommendations.

Contact IGCS’ Dr. Christoph Woiwode ( for further information.

About IGCS Cooperation

IGCS is a source of inspiration and skills for proactive sustainability transformation in research and teaching activities. The sustainable use of resources in times of climate change and forthcoming societal challenges is a pressing task. The centre offers valuable human capital and solutions for various global challenges. It equips international talents from German and Indian universities. It collaborates with companies and NGOs to accept this challenge. IGCS welcomes liaison with new partners to tackle the present global challenges together.

IGCS Organized Indo-German Workshop with IIT and CSIR-CLRI

The IGCS’ Indo-German workshop, in collaboration with CSIR-CLRI and Indian Institute of Technology, Madras was successfully organized on March 4-5, 2023 at IIT Madras.

Our Focus area Waste Management team comprising of Dirk Weichgrebe, PD Dr.-Ing. habil. , Prof. Vinu Ravikrishnan, @Dr. Dr. Mozhiarasi Velusamy have organized the Indo-German Workshop in collaboration with Dr. Srinivasan SV from CSIR-CLRI.

IGCS, IITM & CSIR-CLRI is proud to have Dr. J Radhakrishnan IAS, Chennai city commissioner as our chief guest. They were present for the inaugural session of the Indo-German Workshop.

We thank our chief guest for his remarkable words and interests for improving the city’s waste management. And, their interest motivated the entire group to work further forward to create detailed regional concepts towards sustainable waste treatment.

We are happy to have wide range of participants/speakers i.e. Scientists, Regulatory authorities, NGOs, Waste management companies etc.

Panel discussion 1 centred to understand the needs of the smart city in the aspect of waste management. This panel discussion was moderated by Dr. B. Chandrasekaran, Distinguished Scientist CSIR and Former Director, CSIR-CLRI.

Similarly, Our panel discussion 2 also provided an opportunity to build joint project concepts moderated by Dr. Dirk Weichgrebe, Leibniz University, Hannover. We as an IGCS team strongly believe that we will take it forward to the next level with the potential speakers to move forward towards achieving SDGs and National missions on waste utilization and cleaner technologies.

We greatly thank Dr. Khulud Alsouleman, Ms. Marissa Catherine, Ms. Nhyiraba Ato-burns, Ms. Anusree N, Ms. Madhumidha M, Ms. Nishanthi R, for helping the event organization. IGCS greatly thank our chief guest, speakers and participants once again for the success of the event.

About IGCS Cooperation

IGCS is a source of inspiration and skills for proactive sustainability transformation in both research and teaching activities. The sustainable use of resources in times of climate change and forthcoming societal challenges is a pressing task. With the center’s offers and valuable human capital and solutions for various global challenges, the centre equips talents from German and Indian universities and collaborates with companies and NGOs to accept this challenge. IGCS welcomes liaison with new partners to tackle the present global challenges together.

IGCS Land Use Focus Area awarded Peri-Cene Project

Dr. Christoph Woiwode, together with Prof. Sudhir Chella Rajan (IIT Madras) has been awarded a new research project entitled “Peri-Cene Tamil Nadu – Growth Management and Climate Change Adaptation in Peri-urban Madurai and Coimbatore”.

Having completed the previous Peri-Cene project with a focus on periurbanization in Chennai, the Government of Tamil Nadu had taken interest in developing a similar methodology for the smaller cities in the state. Consequently, the State Land Use Research Board, part of the State Planning Commission, funds this 14 months long study with approx. Rs 32 Lakhs (Euro 35,000).

This project will study the dynamics and processes of peri-urbanization in the tier-I cities of Madurai and Coimbatore. Its main objective is to develop a ‘blueprint’ methodological approach for the analysis of peri-urbanization on which tailor-designed recommendations for interventions can be proposed. Key thematic areas in focus are challenges of urban sprawl, labour migration, and issues of growth management in the context of climate change and sustainable development. Three main components comprise the overall research design. First, collecting data on peri-urbanization which will also assist in defining the peri-urban for each of the two selected cities in terms of its spatial extent and qualitative characteristics. Second, document the dynamics and features through the visualisation in maps and other scenario modelling tools (e.g. Gamification and Agent Based Modelling) that may also be used for decision making support and communicating findings. Third, a mapping of stakeholders in conjunction with an analysis of governance institutions to determine potential development scenarios and transformation pathways.

It is expected that the outcome will benefit several government authorities, such as Madurai & Coimbatore Urban Development Authorities; Dep. of Environment & Climate Change; Water Resources Dep.; Dep. of Agriculture; Dep. of Municipal Administration, Urban and Water Supply; Rural Development & Panchayat Raj Dep.

IGCS Team from Focus Area Water Management, Publishes Paper Linking Rainwater Harvesting and Catchment Water Balance in South India

The team consisting of IGCS Area Coordinator for the Focus Area Water Management, Prof. Dr. Nicola Fohrer, IGCS Alumni Dr. Nariman Mahmoodi and Dr. Chaogui Lei, and PD Dr. Paul D. Wagner from the Department of Hydrological and Water Resource Management at Kiel University, along with former IGCS Area Coordinator Prof. Dr. Balaji Narasimhan from the Department of Civil Engineering at IIT Madras, published a paper in Wiley‘s Hydrological Process, Volume 38, Issue 2, Feburary 2024. The team’s research is on the topic of “Enhancing hydrologic modelling through the representation of traditional rainwater harvesting systems: A case study of water tanks in South India.” (Read Here)

The study delves into the intricate dynamics of water management in South India, where strong wet and dry seasons prompted the development of water storage structures and diversions such as traditional water tanks alongside large dams. Despite their crucial role in irrigation, groundwater recharge, flood control, sediment reduction, and overall hydrological processes, these smaller water tanks have been overlooked in catchment modelling studies due to limited spatial information. Precise knowledge of such tanks and their spatial distribution can be recognized through remote sensing techniques. The team addresses the data scarcity, by using satellite imagery to quantify the hydrological properties of these water tanks. Leveraging the Soil and Water Assessment Tool (SWAT+) model, the research aims to enhance the representation of hydrological processes by integrating detailed information on water harvesting systems. By evaluating the impact of incorporating water tanks into the model, the study seeks to advance our understanding of hydrological processes in the region and improve streamflow simulations for informed water resource management.

Image by bearfotos on Freepik

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.

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.

Dr. Woiwode conducts Sustainability Workshop Series for the Katchipattu Nook

IGCS postdoc Christoph Woiwode conducted two more workshops in the Sustainability Workshop Series for the Katchipattu Nook near Chennai on 15th and 25th May. Dr. Woiwode says:

“These sessions are tailor-designed for the learners of our self-learning space and build on each other, using explorative and experiential learning approaches to nudge the ingenuity and creativity of the kids aged between 6 to 16.

The second workshop was designed by IGCS intern Maria-Sofia Caputo, a psychologist graduate from University of Saarland. Besides generating a wonderful learning spirit and ambitions among the learners, potentials and opportunities for contributing to community development in the village are also explored. Thus, we had a fantastic arts exhibition of posters depicting favourite and likeable places as well as disliked and ugly spots, we calculated our ecological footprint and discussed how it is related to resources and carbon emissions. A field visit to the village pond helped to understand its relevance and why it is being littered. The second day concluded with crafting flower pots from plastic bottles to plant seeds and plants to beautify the Nook learning space.

We are grateful to the entire Nook team in Katchipattu for their support and the wonderful work they do every day. We shall keep you posted on the workshops to follow!”

5th Indo-German Dialogue Announced

5th Indo-German Dialogue on Green Practices:

Genus loci – Locality matters”: Embedding sustainable transformation in local contexts

Dates:  13th – 15th October 2023

Place: Tiruvannamalai, Tamil Nadu, South India

Convenors: Dr. Christoph Woiwode, IGCS at IIT Madras, in collaboration with F5Green Foundation, Tiruvannamalai

After a break of three years due to the Covid-19 pandemic, we are planning to launch the 5th iteration of the Indo-German Dialogue on Green (Urban) Practices (IGD).

This year’s focus is on place specificity and how locality matters for sustainable development. embedding sustainable transformation in local contexts in terms of their cultural, social, ecological, economic and other dimensions. We acknowledge that there exist different worldviews in India and across India and Germany. Can we identify those to explore how sustainability is brought to live in place specific contexts? This can be an endeavour to make more explicit, by becoming more aware, the underlying worldviews and values of our actions. In doing so, how can we connect locality to the worldviews and values to also probe critically what kind of transitions may be needed? And how dies the regeneration of urban places or more generally how does ‘place-making’ happen?

If you want to register please click here (

There is no registration fee!

Anica Roßmöller research stay at IIT Madras to study Faith and Localization of SDGs in India

IGCS-fellow Anica Roßmöller, affiliated with the Institute of Political Sciences at the University Muenster participated in a research stay at the IIT Madras, Chennai, India between 3. March to 30. April 2022 for their work on the theme “The role of faith in the localization of environmental SDGs in India” under the IGCS focus area of Land Use / Rural and Urban Development. They were an alumni of the IGCS Winter School 2020 who was granted a research scholarship to continue their work on their doctoral thesis.

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.

Nandhini Duraimurugan’s Sediment Transport Study Published in ISH Journal

The IGCS team is thrilled to share that Nandhini Duraimurugan, recipient of the IGCS research grant for 2023, has successfully published their research article titled “Field investigation of suspended sediment transport study in the Kandla Creek, Gujarat, India” in the ISH Journal of Hydraulics. This achievement is a testament to their hard work, dedication, and innovative contributions to the scientific community. We are honored to have been a part of their journey. Congratulations, Nandhini

You can find the link to the article here.