Indo-German University Partnership

RWTH Delegation visits IIT Madras Copyright: IIT Madras

RWTH Aachen University Delegation visits Indian Institute of Technology Madras


RWTH Rector Professor Ulrich Rüdiger and Vice-Rector Professor Ute Habel visited the Indian Institute of Technology Madras (IITM) in Chennai, India, with high-ranking university members of an RWTH delegation. The trip was taken on the occasion of the tenth anniversary of the Indo-German Centre for Sustainability (IGCS), to review and develop the Strategic Partnership, and to award Professor Bhaskar Ramamurthi, the Director of the IITM, with an honorary RWTH fellowship. Members of both universities were joined by the German Ambassador to India, Walter J. Lindner, the President of the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD), Professor Joybrato Mukherjee, as well as representatives from other universities, funding organizations, the German Consulate General in Chennai and the Indo-German Chamber of Commerce. The visit was used to deepen and give new impetus to collaborative activities in additional areas.

„The visit to IIT Madras has left a lasting impression on me,“ RWTH Rector Professor Ulrich Rüdiger reported. „You can see the development here from the signing of a first cooperation agreement in 1966, to a thematic focus in the field of sustainability with the Indo-German flagship project, the IGCS, and finally to today‘s broad-based Strategic Partnership that encompasses many disciplines," continued Rüdiger. It was important, he said, that this development be driven forward and filled with life by the many participants on both the German and Indian side. It was their commitment that made the partnership possible in the first place.

The two universities occupy a unique place in the Indian-German university landscape. Their shared history goes back to 1959 when RWTH supported the founding of IIT Madras. Since then, an environment has been created that facilitates lively exchange and joint research between India and Germany.

Since 2016, the Strategic Partnership has been funded within the framework of the program "Indo-German Partnerships in Higher Education" funded by the DAAD from the budget of BMBF, and the Indian University Grants Commission. So far, more than 100 visits have been made, and joint research projects on various topics have been initiated.

Securing Future Livelihoods

A flagship project is the jointly managed IGCS at IIT Madras. Since 2010, the IGCS has been promoting the development of solutions to secure future livelihoods. This includes the topics of water, energy, land use, urban and regional planning, and waste management. Funding is provided to individuals for research stays, workshops as well as summer and winter schools. Important partners of RWTH and IITM are the TU Berlin, the University of Stuttgart, and Kiel University. The IGCS is supported by the DAAD from the budget of BMBF, the Indian Ministry of Science and Technology, and the Maschinenfabrik Reinhausen GmbH as an industrial partner. More than 800 visits have already been sponsored by the IGCS, 95 of which were made by RWTH members.

The Director of IIT Madras, Professor Bhaskar Ramamurthi, plays a prominent role in the collaboration. During the recent meeting, he was awarded the honorary title "Honorary Fellow of RWTH Aachen University" for his scientific achievements and his services to bilateral cooperation. In his response, Professor Ramamurthi emphasized the special relationship and thanked RWTH for the award on behalf of IITM.