IIT-Madras signs MOU with German University

The Rs. 5.33 crore project titled “Building an International Research Network on Sustainability to Enhance Strategic Knowledge for Climate Change” is funded by the Department of Science and Technology.

April 11, 2013 3:00 IST | India Infoline News Service

Indo-German Centre for Sustainability (IGCS) at the Indian Institute of Technology Madras (IIT M) will give a major fillip to the collaborative research between the two countries through the recently-sanctioned Department of Science and Technology project. The Rs. 5.33 crore project titled “Building an International Research Network on Sustainability to Enhance Strategic Knowledge for Climate Change” is funded by the Department of Science and Technology. There is corresponding support from DAAD of Germany under its “New Passage to India” programme for up to 2.8 Mio € to enable German scientists to work on collaborative projects with IIT Madras.

The renewal of the Agreement between IIT Madras and RWTH Aachen University took place yesterday (10 April 2013) in Berlin, Germany.  Prof. Bhaskar Ramamurthi, Director, IIT Madras and Prof. Ernst Schmachtenberg, Rector, RWTH Aachen, signed a Memorandum of Understanding in the presence of the Hon’ble Ministers for Human Resource Development and Science, Technology and Earth Sciences, Government of India, and the Hon’ble Federal Minister for Education and Research, Federal Republic of Germany.

The Indo-German Centre for Sustainability (IGCS) is the outcome of a collective effort of India and Germany to discover sustainable pathways for development in the 21st century. Located at the Indian Institute of Technology Madras, the Centre is a collaborative venture with German universities coordinated by RWTH Aachen. 

IGCS was established in IIT Madras in December 2010 coinciding with the 50th anniversary of IIT Madras on the basis of a ministerial agreement between Germany and India to collaborate on inter-disciplinary research, training and policy advocacy in the broad area of sustainable development. IGCS seeks to fulfill the objectives of the National Mission on Strategic Knowledge on Climate Change (NMSKCC) set up by the Government of India, in order to develop indigenous skills, knowledge and capacities in the science of climate change.

Over the next three years, IGCS will identify and carry out, with the collaboration of German partners, five research projects in four thematic areas - energy, land-use, waste and water - around sustainability challenges that will be exacerbated by climate change. These projects will focus on the following five challenge areas:

  • Sustaining urban water bodies and improving public sanitation

  • Ensuring local air quality

  • Improving access to energy services

  • Setting up a framework for sustainable urban and peri-urban land-use

  • Helping frame sustainable climate policy with emphasis on integrated solutions for climate adaptation

The Centre will receive Rs. 5.33 crore during 2013-16 from the NMSKCC of the Department of Science and Technology, Government of India to carry out the research programmes. IIT Madras will provide the infrastructure facilities for the projects, as well as host the German scientists as visiting faculty of the Institute. 

The German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) has committed up to 2.8 Mio € from the "New Passage to India" program to RWTH Aachen during 2013-16 to enable German scientists from partnering universities in the field of sustainability science to travel to IIT Madras and spend 1-2 years each to carry out research jointly with faculty and researchers at IIT Madras.

The renewal of the joint effort of Indian and German scientists will lead to much deeper understanding of the challenges in sustainability and climate change, and the generation of innovative solutions to overcome them. It is expected that IGCS will develop into a major global centre for research and innovation in sustainability science and impact mitigation of climate change.

IGCS is managed by a Centre Coordinator and four Thematic Coordinators at IIT Madras, with counterparts in Germany. More than thirty faculty members in IIT Madras are involved in various aspects of the Center’s activities, which include research, training and outreach.

Professor Bhaskar Ramamurthi, Director of IIT Madras said, “This is a unique collaboration in a very important and critical field involving German and Indian scientists. Activities at the IGCS will benefit from cross-national and interdisciplinary insights. A key output of the Centre will be the building of a global technology watch system with a specific emphasis on climate-resilient urban and peri-urban environments in the context of South Asia”. He also said that courses and degrees in the Institute would increasingly reflect the focus on sustainability science.

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