Tag: Green Economy

IGCS Summer School 2023 in Berlin, Germany

Summer School 2023

The Integration of Renewable Energies into a Power Grid – A Key Contribution towards a Carbon Neutral Society

Date: 24 July to 04 August 2023

Venue: Technical University in Berlin, Germany

IGCS Summer School 2023, Berlin
IGCS Summer School 2023 Information Flyer


Achieving net-zero emissions, mitigating climate change, preventing the excessive depletion of natural resources, and reducing waste are major challenges the world is facing today. The energy sector is of particular importance in meeting these challenges.

Nowadays, the primary targets and concerns worldwide are energy transition, clean energy, sustainable energy, and energy security. Based on the three main trends shaping the current and future global energy landscape – decarbonization, decentralization, and digitalization – the integration of renewable energy systems into the existing power grid represents a key challenge for an innovative and viable solution towards a carbon-neutral future.

The energy system of the future must be achieved through sustainable management of natural resources, ensuring sustainable consumption and production patterns, developing energy infrastructure and technologies, and raising political and social awareness to contribute to this overall system development.

This year IGCS Summer School focuses mainly on the technical aspects of integrating different renewable energy sources into the existing power grid as an innovative and potential solution towards a sustainable and clean energy future. The economic, environmental, and social aspects of this system will also be discussed during the school. It brings together students from Indian and German institutions, who will jointly and interactively develop their skills with the following learning outcomes:

  • developing a fundamental and holistic understanding of the technical aspects of integrating different renewable energy sources into the existing power grid
  • identifying the technical challenges that must be overcome to integrate a high proportion of renewable energy into the existing grid, such as developing infrastructure and technology, coordinating power generation from multiple sources, balancing power supply and demand, advancing grid storage options, and increasing energy flexibility.
  • identifying the main challenges and outstanding issues related to the implementation of renewable energy resources from economic, environmental, and social perspectives.
  • proposing innovative solutions and strategies to implement renewable resources on a large scale.


This Summer School will run for twelve days from July 24th until August 4th 2023 and will consist of lectures, group works, panel discussions, excursions and intercultural exchanges.

The Summer School will be held as a physical event at the Technical University in Berlin, Germany.


The course is open to German* and Indian Master’s and PhD. Students. Knowledge of sustainability topics in the field of energy 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.

Selected participants from Indian universities will receive a mobility scholarship as well as a scholarship to cover living expenses during School.

IGCS is covering the costs of stay for all participants and will provide lunch on the weekdays.

*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 2023 Application Form. The application deadline is 01st of May 2023. Applications received after this date will not be considered.

The link is open from 31st of March – 1st of May 2023(7 PM CET/10:30 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 IGCS Summer School.
  4. Enrolment certificate of your University
  5. Passport Copy
  6. Motivation Letter

Positive results will be announced in the beginning of May. We kindly ask you to refrain from inquiries about the application status in the meantime. You will be informed if you are not accepted and your data will be deleted.

Students may be eligible to receive credit points for their participation in the IGCS Summer School. Please check with your home institution.


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


IGCS Area Coordinators for Energy, Prof. Dr. Frank Behrendt (Technical University Berlin), Prof. Dr. Krishna Vasudevan (Indian Institute of Technology Madras), and Dr. Khulud Alsouleman (Technical University Berlin).

IGCS participates in K-Show in Düsseldorf

This week the IGCS Project coordinators visited the K-Show in Düsseldorf, Germany. The K-Show is the World’s biggest trade fair for plastics and rubber. Focus topics were Circular Economy, Digitalisation and Climate Protection.

IGCS emphasises the importance of collaborations with industries to address sustainability through joint initiatives. It was beautiful to engage with companies from India and Germany on a mission towards #Sustainability & #circulareconomy.

Lisa Van Aalst, IGCS Project Coordinator, Visits Chennai India

The IGCS team in Germany had the opportunity to visit IIT Madras in Chennai last month, where they were engaged in research and exchange teaching programs. Lisa Van Aalst, IGCS Project Coordinator at RWTH Aachen University, shares their experience in Chennai:

IGCS Team in Chennai
IGCS Team in Chennai

After more than two years of working remotely, I finally had the chance to visit the Indian Institute of Technology, Madras campus, on a project management visit with the Indo-German Centre for Sustainability (IGCS).

Together with the IGCS Postdocs Christoph WoiwodeDaniel Rosado, and Khulud Alsouleman, we have had fruitful meetings strategizing on joint research projects addressing the Urban Water-Food-Energy-Waste Nexus in the Perumbakkam resettlement area as well as introducing hybrid teaching modules at IIT Madras in the field of sustainability.

Besides finally meeting face-to-face with our IGCS colleagues, we have also had the chance to interact with new faces and met our wonderful colleagues from DAAD India to discuss scholarship opportunities for Indian students and researchers.

In New Delhi, I had the chance to meet with RWTH Head India Office Benjamin Pfrang. Together with the Goethe Institut Indien and the German Embassy in New Delhi, we attended the inauguration of the Mayoor Public School Noida as a PASCH school. This initiative connects more than 2,000 schools worldwide where the German language is particularly important.

Do you want to conduct your research with IGCS and our focus areas? We offer research grants to students interested in the field of sustainability. Visit our Grants page for more information.

Announcement IGCS-motan Workshop 2022

#sustainabilitychallenge – Rethinking the Future of Plastics

Your ideas are too good to be forgotten!

IGCS and motan are carrying out a two-day virtual workshop.

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 – Strategies Towards a Sustainable Plastics Industry: Rethinking the Future of Plastics’ and make a difference – shape the future with your innovative and sustainable ideas. 

Our 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. Please find the link here.

Deadline: 31. October 2021

Workshop Details:

Date: 6 – 7 December 2022

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

Target group: Students currently enrolled in an undergraduate (Bachelors), post-graduate (Masters), or doctoral program in Indian or German academic institutions

Award: The winner will get the opportunity to work out a research project with the support of motan and the IGCS


● 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.

IGCS conducts Summer School 2022 in Aachen

IGCS Summer School 2022: Sustainable Waste Management in The Nexus of Climate Change and Low Carbon Economy

This edition of the IGCS Summer School, in the IGCS focus area of Sustainable Waste Management, specialized in designing a set of interdisciplinary lectures and an integrated approach that covers advances in research and technological implementations in Waste Prevention, reuse, and recycling approach, management, and regulatory aspects, as well as the socio-economic and environmental considerations. It connected concepts of sustainable waste management with clean energy, energy efficiency, reducing CO2 emissions, bio-based economy, and restoration of the ecosystem and its services.

The Summer School brought together students from Indian and German academic institutions with nationalities from across the world, comprising a pool of diverse specialization backgrounds, who 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

Participants were engaged in interdisciplinary on-site and hybrid (online + on-site) lectures on the state-of-the-art practices and emerging waste management 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. They were also encouraged to learn from their peers and colleagues through working groups on specialization topics, intercultural workshops, student panel discussions, and entrepreneurship workshops.

Alena ̶ IGCS Winter School 2022 Student Mini-Lecture Presenter Testimony

The IGCS Winter and Summer schools have open platforms for our participants to engage in peer learning. During our Student Mini-Lecture series, selected participants present their research project, area of expertise and recent findings.

Alena Spies (RWTH Aachen University) proves a testimonial from their presentation during the Student Mini-Lecture series:

In order to transform our current linear economic system into a circular economy, material flows that were previously declared as waste must be recognized and made usable as raw materials. The project EnEWA (saving energy in paper production by opening up the value chains of waste paper from lightweight packaging, residual waste, and commercial waste) addresses this issue precisely. Paper from mixed waste streams is currently mainly used for energy recovery.

The main reason why the paper is not used for material recovery is its contamination. The Chair of Anthropogenic Material Cycles (ANTS) at RWTH Aachen University is researching a solution. Project partners are the Chair of International Production Engineering and Management (IPEM) at the University of Siegen and the industrial partners Tomra Sorting GmbH, STADLER Anlagenbau GmbH and PROPAKMA GmbH as well as the paper producer LEIPA Group GmbH. The project EnEWA is dealing with the collection and the recovery of paper from mixed waste streams as well as the processes for recycling the paper fibers. Following an analysis of the recovered paper grades and paper composites, the necessary sorting technology will be developed and adapted. Subsequently, a process for the hygenization and preparation of the paper fibers will be designed. The application-oriented research helps to optimize the recycling of paper and gives an essential contribution to closing the loops in terms of a circular economy. The material characterization is essential for the development of all further process steps and therefore the necessary first step. The first results of the characterization of paper from lightweight packaging waste show that more than 45 % of the wastepaper could have disposed of in a separate paper collection system.

Gillian ̶ IGCS Winter School 2022 Alumni Testimonial

The IGCS Winter School 2022 began online on the 21st of February, and it took place entirely digitally. It was a great opportunity to participate in this Winter School, particularly with the topics Sustainable Waste Management for a Circular Economy. The school participants were a mix of students from Indian and German Universities. There were so many varied educational backgrounds of the students from Environmental sciences, engineering, sciences and even media informatics. The diverse fields of study and interests offered a very informative exchange of ideas, thoughts, and processes. 

The IGCS Winter School allowed me to dive deep into solid waste management systems, particularly in Germany and India. Its many facets to a circular economy. The two-week school had three main parts – Lectures, Panel discussions and Group Work. The sessions included 13 lectures and three panel discussions with experts from many fields in Solid Waste Management. The 3rd Panel discussion had the school participants lead the discussion topics that were decided on by a poll. Another unique feature of the school was the nine mini-lectures from fellow students participants, each with interesting research work and subjects from varied backgrounds. This was an exciting and informative addition to the school. The final part with which the school culminated was the 7 Group projects that covered a multitude of topics relevant to the school’s theme. 

The lecture sessions from numerous experts and scholars proved to be very educational and sparked many exciting discussions. As an Indian student studying in Germany, it was eye-opening to know the different types of waste resource management and waste management companies for areas such as energy, textiles etc. The talk on the contribution of solid waste management in the bioeconomy by Prof. Kranert was enlightening. Using bioeconomy to address the issue of solid waste management and the challenges caused by greenhouse gas emissions and other environmental concerns is an innovative solution to realistic and pressing problems faced by the world. The lecture by Dr Speier on the Aviral Project in India, which aims to reduce plastic waste in the Ganga, was fascinating because, being one of India’s biggest and most significant rivers, the challenge is to keep it alive and healthy. Dr Indumathi Nambi’s lecture on Sanitation in a circular economy was very insightful, giving us the ground reality, issues, and solutions. Another lecture I enjoyed was by Prof. Behrendt on the contribution of waste management companies toward Flexible Energy Systems. 

The mini-lectures by students were an exciting way to learn about the research of other school participants. The ones that stood out for me were the lecture on the “Occurrence of microplastics in the lakes” of Chennai by Angel Jessieleena, a PhD student at IIT Madras, and Tina Taylor-Harry, who is a fellow student at CAU Kiel and her project on “Using Compost to Improve Soil Fertility (and as a tool for successful Agricultural Waste Management)”. The project by Nikhilkumar Panchal on “Resource recovery from discarded COVID-19 PPE kit through Catalytic Fast Pyrolysis” was very relevant in our current Covid-19 affected the world and the constant need for testing.

It was also insightful to learn about the different entrepreneurial aspects of solid waste management from the 1st panel discussion, Carbon Loops, by Mrs Rajini Prabhakaran. Carbon Loops, a venture where biodegradable waste is converted into Biogas and compost, thereby reducing waste sent to landfills and helping small farmers stood out for me. Nepra, another startup run by Mr Sandeep Patil, is an Indian waste management company involved in the whole lifecycle of solid waste management – collection, segregation, processing and recycling of local dry waste, including plastic. In the 2nd Panel discussion, the role of plastic upcycling in creating value from waste material and the introduction to different technologies to extract raw materials from plastic was very informative. The 3rd panel, which was participant-led, was indeed a very interactive session and something I found very motivating—knowing that there is so much knowledge and interesting viewpoints and solution-based approaches was very inspiring. I think the panel led by Dr Gabriela- Garcés and Dr Daniel Rosado achieved its purpose – for students to become active learners and develop leadership skills and critical thinking. 

Group projects were the highlight of the winter school, as the seven topics were very relevant and varied and covered almost the whole spectrum of waste management. We were given the option to rank our first two choices in the research topics and were then assigned a group on that preference. I was selected to be a part of Group Project 4: Public-Private Partnerships in Waste Management. We were mentored by Prof. Ashwin Mahalingam and Dr Christoph Woiwode. We, as a group of 6 from Germany and India, had to understand the advantages and disadvantages of Public-Private Partnerships (PPPs), study the experiences of cities across the world in using PPPs for waste management, and understand what models have worked, what models have failed, and what are the critical success factors in this domain and determine the appropriateness of various PPP models for the waste management. We decided to use case studies of PPP waste management models from Mallorca, Colombia, Bulgaria, Pune and Saharanpur in our presentation to see whether PPPs are an effective model in waste management. We concluded that PPPs are suitable for solid waste management, mainly if they include recyclers or vulnerable communities. They are needed due to the lack of capacity of Municipalities to deal with waste. They can contribute with the capital and technology necessary to provide technical processes, build infrastructure, alleviate the administrative burden from municipalities, etc. 

I researched solid waste management in the city of Pune, India. I was very impressed with their model. The Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) entered into a PPP with SWaCH – Solid Waste Collection and Handling, India’s first cooperative wholly owned by waste pickers. Some of the impacts of this PPP are that around 3500 Waste pickers have been integrated into the system with health and welfare protections, 60 metric tonnes of recycled waste have been diverted from landfills every day, and there have been savings of INR 900M (USD 12.5M) per year for PMC,  etc. The model offers sustainable and efficient daily waste collection services to residents while improving the livelihoods of waste collectors within the city. It should be expanded and standardized throughout the city and across other cities in India to multiply its effects. 

During the research work and discussions for our project, we learned about each other’s educational and cultural backgrounds. It was an enriching experience to learn from each other’s varied backgrounds and knowledge. One of the key takeaways from our group work was that we knew that the problem of solid waste management is very real over the world. However, they may be different issues that need addressing collectively and immediately. I also found that we are all united in our concerns for the environment and want to make a difference in any way we can for a better tomorrow. 

One fun activity over the weekend was the video project. We were all tasked with making a short 2-3 minute video over the weekend related to waste management. I enjoyed this very much because I had the chance to involve my daughters Tara and Leela in the video. They had a blast with the whole process of filming and, of course, learning about our neighbourhood waste management.

I would also like to mention the WonderMe app, where we could stop by virtually for a coffee with other participants and experts from the lecture session and panels. I wish we could have had more time for networking and sharing our experiences. This is one of the areas I would think that an in-person school would capture better. 

The very purpose of the IGCS Winter School – is “..to engage students from different disciplines to learn and share techniques and methods, which they may apply in their research at their respective institutions in India and Germany.” and “..provide a unique opportunity to interact with invited international experts in their fields, especially from India and Germany, who share their knowledge and expertise in an exclusive environment.” was more than achieved and very successfully at that. Even though the entire format had to be changed and moved online, I honestly never felt the lack of anything. The experience was exceptional, as was the management and planning. The entire program was executed without any hiccups. It was indeed a seamless experience, and for that, I thank the IGCS team.

I have come away from this two week IGCS Winter School with more clarity and direction. It has given me the basis for my master’s thesis, which I have been struggling with. I am also really appreciative of all the support afforded by the IGCS team. 

I would recommend applying for an IGCS Winter or Summer School. They also have many options, such as applying for a research stay or an associated scholarship in your field of interest. The possibilities are endless and all within reach. The two week Winter School has helped me absorb so much knowledge and insight. I have already begun working on my way forward, hoping for more interactions with IGCS Schools and programs.

The two week Winter School has helped me absorb so much knowledge and insight. I have come away from this two week IGCS Winter School with more clarity and direction. It has given me the basis for my master’s thesis, which I have been struggling with.

Gillian Valerie Esther Woodman,
M.Sc Environmental Management, Christian-Albrechts Universität zu Kiel (CAU)

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: joe.ravetz@manchester.ac.uk

Cover Photo Credits: Chait Goli: https://www.pexels.com/photo/bird-s-eye-view-of-city-during-dawn-2093323/

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.