Strategic Partnership RWTH Aachen and Indian Institute of Technology Madras

  Indian Institute of Technology Madras sign in various languages Copyright: OIR IIT Madras



Stefan Diederich

Coordinator, Strategic India Activities


+49 241 80 90813



The Strategic Partnership

RWTH Aachen has enjoyed a decades-long friendship with the Indian Institute of Technology Madras in Chennai, IIT Madras for short. In 1959 RWTH supported the foundation of IIT Madras. Just a few years later in 1966, the two institutions formed the first German-Indian university partnership. In September 2016, exactly 50 years later, this relationship was taken to the next level with the initiation of the strategic partnership under the motto "Sister Universities."

The strategic partnership is founded on the Indo-German Partnership in Higher Education Programme, which was initiated by the German Academic Exchange Service, DAAD for short, and the Indian University Grants Commission or UGC. Both universities have a funding volume of 400,000 euros respectively for four years from 2016 to 2020. This funding is available to students, doctoral candidates, postdocs, lecturers, and staff through various measures. This includes activities such as research stays, preparatory visits, guest lectures, joint seminars and workshops, and work meetings to implement binational Master's courses of study, e-learning and blended learning formats, industry collaborations, and joint alumni offers.



What is a strategic partnership?

RWTH adopts strategic partnerships with renowned partners with similar profiles, such as the Chinese Tsinghua University in Beijing, the Canadian University of Alberta in Edmonton, and the Indian IIT Madras in Chennai. These special partnerships distinguish themselves through the sustainable expansion of collaboration at all institutional levels. This concerns teaching, research, and administration. Part of this collaboration includes developing joint structures and innovative teaching offers, establishing research associations, and solidifying synergetic collaborative formats. The objective is to sharpen the teaching and research profile and to promote the internationalization of RWTH and its partner universities.

What are the core objectives of the strategic partnership between RWTH – IIT Madras?

The core objective of the strategic partnership is to develop innovative solutions and key technologies together and thus face global challenges. To achieve this scientific collaborations will be built and expanded; a high level of applicability, entrepreneurship, and industrial collaborations will be promoted, and the training of highly qualified and interculturally trained personnel will be intensified. The strategic partnership will be institutionalized through the expansion of sustainble, joint infrastructures in order to continue to live on after the funding period.

What are the core topics of the strategic partnership between RWTH – IIT Madras?

Current core topics of the strategic partnership focus on the fields of environment, biotechnoloy and biology, energy, mechanical engineering, materials, and medical engineering. Collaborations in other fields are being considered.


IIT Madras Profile

IIT Madras is located in the coastal metropolis of Chennia, the capital of the southern Indian state Tamil Nadu, and is one of the best universities in the country. The campus is located within a larged wooded area in the south of the city, which primarily encompasses Guindy National Park, and offers diverse flora and fauna. Like all the other IITs, IIT Madras focuses on the engineering disicplines, but also has an excellent reputation in the natural sciences, linguistics, business and economics.

It is often referred to as the Stanford of India due to its focus on technological research, close collaboration with industry, and a lively culture of innovative entrepreneurship. One unique characteristic it boasts is the first Research Park anchored at an Indian university with an integrated Incubation Cell, which also offers promising perspectives from the university-industrial collaboration to the partnership with RWTH.

The Indo-German Center for Sustainability is also located at IIT Madras. It is the only center of its kind in India and is a center of excellence for integrated technology-oriented sustainability research in the areas of renewable energies, water and waste management, and rural and urban development. The German half of the cooperation includes involvement from the TU9 universities and CAU Kiel. However, RWTH serves as coordinator.