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INGENIoS: Indo-German Network Interaction of Scientists

Funding: DAAD

Objectives

  • Development and establishment of an interdisciplinary research and teaching cooperation format
  • Intensification of partnership-based cooperation on an institutional level
  • Inclusion of further partners from science and industry

The primary goal of INGENIoS is to establish integrated and multidisciplinary institutional relationships between the University of Cologne (UoC) and the Indian Institute of Science (IISc) Bangalore. Based upon previous collaboration experience and workshops between UoC and IISc faculty, we identified the common core theme of implementing the Indo-German Network of Environmental Systems-Hydrology. The term “Environmental” implies an integrative environmental approach addressing the natural science as well as the social science perspective. The term “Systems” implies a system approach facilitating a method based system analysis with particular focus on investigating cause and effect relationships to analyze scenarios of change in water supply and water demand. It implies a strong scientific computing component, a technical perspective such as water filtration and purification as well as a strong applied perspective. Finally, the term “Hydrology” implies the focus upon water. This thematic focus requires the expertise of different disciplines and interdisciplinary integration. It strongly supports the development of institutional partnerships resting on many participants rather than bilateral cooperation of individual researchers. While this approach facilitates the development of coordinated research and teaching projects, bilateral partnerships between individual faculty and disciplines are equally important and supported. This core theme brings together areas of competence of both institutions providing mutual benefit in education and research as well as concerning application, thus facilitating cooperation with partners in academia and industry.

Both institutions (IISc, UoC) and its local partners (e.g. ABC-J Geoverbund, Univ. of Agricultural Science Bangalore) are well-established research institutions with a particular strength in environmental research, water science and scientific computing. IISc operates a critical zone observatory in the Kabini watershed. The Geoverbund operates a similar observatory in the Rur watershed. The similarities in the observational setup and the large differences in the climatic and societal conditions provide particular mutual benefits for coordinated research. To facilitate sustainable integration into the teaching and educational structure of UoC, the International Master of Environmental Research (IMES) is utilized as a well-established educational structure.

One focus of the research will be on surface and groundwater interactions. Unsustainable water use with respect to quantity and quality is a key problem in India, requiring concerted action of scientists and practitioners. Overexploitation of groundwater as a hidden resource is not inevitable. Reliable and valid indicators about the state of the resource (e.g. groundwater level, predictability of flow, extent of the groundwater resource) must be made available to stakeholders and decision makers. Stakeholder attributes refer among others to resource dependence, common understanding about resource use, norms of trust, autonomy and organizational experience. Thus, man-environment interactions must be understood and predicted, and competence of the stakeholder to understand these interactions and to contribute to a common water management strategy must be built. This requires integrative modelling as well as education and capacity building.