10 years of IGCS – celebrations and milestones

IGCS February Meetings
February 17 – 19, 2020 at IIT Madras, Chennai

India and Germany have closely collaborated in the fields of higher education and research for decades now. Since 2010, this close relationship was further intensified with the inception of the Indo-German Centre for Sustainability. The center plays a significant role in the Indo-German teaching and research landscape and is only possible thanks to the generous funding of the German Academic Exchange Service DAAD, the Indian Department of Science and Technology DST and ithe center’s partner Maschinenfabrik Reinhausen. in these ten years, IGCS has achieved major milestones, among others:

  • around 700 exchanges of students and researchers were funded
  • several research projects condcuted and findings published in nearly 100 articles, book chapter, conference proceedings and patents
  • 19 Winter and Summer Schools were conducted
  • the basic course “Ecology and Environment” was introduced to all IIT Madras students’ curricula, aside from various other sustainability-related seminars at IIT Madras and German university with the particiaption of IGCS project members
  • various Indo-German meetings and workshops, amongst others the workshop series Indo-German Dialogue on Green Urban Practices and Urban Resilience
  • opened up its own facilities with classrooms, laboratories and offices at IIT Madras in 2017

The annual February meetings in Chennai provided the perfect opportunity to celebrate these milestones. Over the course of three days, various meetings were held, excursions to projects and Tamil Nadu’s highlights done, and IIT Madras’ flagship projects visited. The February meetings were accompanied by a RWTH delegation of 17 members, headed by the rector Professor Dr. Ulrich Rüdiger and Vice-Rector for International Affairs, Professor Dr. Ute Habel. The highlight was the celebratory event on the 18th of February, followed by a festive dinner. IGCS and IIT Madras were delighted to welcome German Ambassador Walter J. Lindner, Consul General Karin Stoll, DAAD-president Professor Dr. Joybrato Mukherjee, staff from DAAD and DFG India as well as various professors and staff from IIT Madras as guests to the event.

New faces at IGCS

At the Advisory Board meeting, the newly appointed rector of RWTH Aachen University (2019), Professor Dr. Ulrich Rüdiger, was inaugurated as new member of the IGCS Advisory Board. He is Professor Dr. Ernst Schmachtenberg’s successor.

IGCS waved goodbye to the loyal and hard-working Indian center and area coordinator Professor B.S. Murty and the area coordinators Professor Ligy Philip and Professor Sudhir Chella Rajan at the Steering Committee meetings. All three professors have done an exceptional job in bringing up IGCS to what it is today: teaching and researching on sustainability topics at IIT Madras and Germany, facilitating joint events in Chennai and supervising many IGCS-fellows, long-term guest researchers and the center’s newly appointed Postdocs. IGCS area coordinator for Energy, Professor Dr. Krishna Vasudevan takes over as Indian center coordinator and will have support from his colleagues Professor Dr. R. Vinu (Waste Management), Professor Dr. Ashwin Mahalingam (Land Use, Urban and Rural Planning) and Professor Dr. S.A. Sannasiraj (Water Management). IGCS wishes Professor Murty, Professor Ligy and Professor “Chella” Rajan the very best and looks forward working with new colleagues and the new research expertise they bring to the center.

More reasons to celebrate the Indo-German partnership

Closely connected with IGCS is the eminent role of the Director of IIT Madras, Prof. Bhaskar Ramamurthi in the cooperation with RWTH Aachen University. Aside from IGCS, he has supported the successful Strategic Partnership between the two institutions. Since 2016, both sides have been receiving financial support under the program Indo-German Partnerships in Higher Education, funded by the DAAD- and the University Grants Commission (UGC). This helped significantly to enhance the Strategic Partnership by implementing targeted measures aimed at increasing the exchange at all levels and at institutionalizing the cooperation. It has resulted in over 100 visits so far and the initiation of joint research projects in a variety of subjects. During the visit, the award “Honorary Fellow of RWTH Aachen University” was given to Professor Ramamurthi in recognition of his scientific achievements, his merits for the bilateral cooperation and for the success story of the IGCS and Strategic Partnership with RWTH Aachen.

The years 2019 and 2020 are remarkable for both institutions. For IIT Madras, 2019 marked the 60th anniversary. It was also the year in which the IIT Madras celebrated becoming the top-ranked engineering institute in India for four consecutive years and emerged as the ‘Best Educational Institution’ in the overall category in the National Institutional Ranking Framework (NIRF) Rankings of the Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD), Government of India. As of August 2019, IIT Madras has also been declared an Institution of Eminence (IoE) by the University Grants Commission.

Simultaneously, an international panel of experts approved RWTH Aachen‘s application as a University of Excellence in 2019. By the beginning of this third round of the German Excellence Initiative – the Excellence Strategy – RWTH has already developed into an Integrated Interdisciplinary University for Science and Technology, focusing on the convergence of knowledge, methods, and insights. It now aims to create a unique national and international educational, research, and transfer environment with dynamic research networks that transcend individual disciplines and organizational boundaries. With 2020 being the year of RWTH Aachen’s 150th anniversary, the timing for a joint celebration of IITM’s and RWTH’s tradition of excellence could not have been better.

IGCS Germany sincerely thanks the Indian IGCS project members and Professor Mahesh Panchagnula and the staff of the Office of International Relations for their great hospitality and support in realizing the meetings and celebratory events.