Exploration. An Indo-German Partnership

At the end of 2020, a major new international partnership project kicked off: With Exploration. An Indo-German Partnership (IGP), a project funded by the DAAD and the Indian University Grants Commission, TUM and the two Indian Institutes of Technology Bombay and Kharagpur join forces to push forward research in the highly topical fields of climate, environment, energy, mobility, and transportation.

TUM has maintained close partnerships with IIT Bombay (IITB) and IIT Kharagpur (IITKGP) for almost 20 years. As part of the IGP project Exploration and under the leadership of Prof. Miranda Schreurs for the areas of climate, environment, and energy and Prof. Constantinos Antoniou for the topics of mobility and transportation, new and sustainable formats for different institutional spheres are being developed.

The aim is not only to intensify the institutional exchange between the researchers and scientists of the three institutions, but also to open up new opportunities for interaction in the future, especially for their young talents and administrative staff.

Mobility and Transportation

Germany and India have complementary expertise in the area of mobility and transportation, which they also strive to use effectively to further strengthen their institutions' leading role in this field. One example demonstrating such close cooperation in higher education is the Indo-German Collaborative Research Center on Intelligent Transportation Systems, which was founded in 2018 by TUM and IIT Kharagpur. Within the IGP research group on Mobility and Transportation, this cooperation is being extended to also include IIT Bombay. The initiative brings together German and Indian students and researchers from all three universities to jointly develop novel ideas and address significant issues, such as anticipating emerging mobility solutions, safety verification for cooperative, connected and automated vehicles, and energy use reduction in relation to transportation.

IGP student challenges in the research group Mobility and Transportation

Finding safe, comfortable and traffic-rule compliant motions in complex traffic situations is one of the major challenges for fully autonomous vehicles.

To support researchers and developers working on safe motion planning algorithms, the Cyber-Physical Systems group at TUM has developed CommonRoad, an open-source benchmark suite that contains a large database of traffic scenarios for evaluating and comparing motion planners.

Based on CommonRoad, the IGP is launching a programming competition in which student teams should compete to develop a motion planner that can solve as many traffic scenarios as possible. Teams should consist of four members – including two students from TUM and two students from one of our partner institutes IIT Bombay and IIT Kharagpur. Master's students and doctoral candidates from all fields of study can participate.

With CommonRoad, we provide the traffic scenarios, a simulation framework, vehicle models, and a variety of useful tools for motion planning. In addition, we provide the basic implementation of a search-based motion planner that can be used as a starting point for the competition. Student teams can either improve the existing planner or implement their own ideas to develop the best-performing motion planning algorithm. 

Participants will learn the exact questions and competition modalities at the IGP Mobility & Transportation Competition kick-off workshop which will take place on September 21, 2021, from 9am until 1pm (CEST) via Zoom

Zoom-Link: https://tum-conf.zoom.us/j/62322242290 
Meeting ID: 623 2224 2290
Passcode: 826565

Participating pays off: The Indo-German winning teams can look forward to attractive cash prizes!

The fields of mobility and transportation are being researched intensively worldwide, with Germany and India being particularly engaged. The IGP Essay Competition aims to bring together students from TUM, IIT Kharagpur and IIT Bombay to address key issues in this domain. By forming Indo-German project groups, we aim to initiate a creative process that is not present when homogeneous groups of students work together.

This Challenge is designed to foster collaboration between student research groups through intensive collaboration. The goal is to write a critical essay on global challenges that transcends disciplinary boundaries. The question for the essay will address technological, societal, environmental, and economic issues and, of course, the contexts in Germany and India. 

The program will

  • introduce students to deep and global issues and problems,
  • encourage Indo-German student groups across research fields to understand each other's context, constraints, aspirations, and preferences in order to undertake deep analysis and strategy development on global issues,
  • create a simple process for conducting and developing stimulating essays; and
  • generate publicity and recognition for their efforts (e.g., through awards and certifications).

Master's students and doctoral candidates from all fields of study can participate.

Participants will learn the exact questions and competition modalities at the IGP Mobility & Transportation Competition kick-off workshop which will take place on September 21, 2021, from 9am until 1pm (CEST) via Zoom

Zoom-Link: https://tum-conf.zoom.us/j/62322242290 
Meeting ID: 623 2224 2290
Passcode: 826565

Participating pays off: The Indo-German winning teams can look forward to attractive cash prizes!

Climate, Environment, and Energy

Germany and India have much to share and learn from each other when it comes to sustainable development. Whether it is dealing with challenges related to water – floods as well as droughts – climate change, biodiversity loss, or plastic waste, to increase impact through cooperation is large. Cooperation between TUM, IIT Bombay and IIT Kharagpur in the fields of Environment, Energy and Climate Change seeks to bring together faculty and students who want to make a difference by contributing to social, political and technological solutions. A particular focus will be placed on climate change and water management from a socio-political-technical perspective. Initial cooperation has resulted in guest lectures and student video projects.

IGP student challenges in the research group Climate, Environment, and Energy

How can climate, environmental and/or energy issues be best understood and efficiently addressed? Whoever can most aptly tackle this question in a joint

  • video, podcast, website
  • student paper, or 
  • student workshop idea

will be the winner of the respective challenge. The teams must consist of master's students or doctoral candidates from TUM and at least one of our two Indian partners, IIT Bombay, and IIT Kharagpur, in order to be eligible to participate.

Best video/podcast/website project: The project can have either a technical or a social science starting point. Winning projects will be featured on the IGP website. 

Best joint student paper: The paper can have either a technical or a social science starting point. The IGP leadership team will assist the students in trying to have their paper published.

Best joint student workshop idea: The student workshop should be conceptualized in an online format and include presentations from both master's students and/or doctoral candidates as well as faculty. The best workshop idea will be organized together between TUM, IIT Bombay and IIT Kharagpur and will be supported by the IGP program, with the goal of conducting the workshop in late 2021 or early 2022. 

Participating pays off: The Indo-German winning teams can look forward to attractive cash prizes!

Funding opportunities within the framework of Exploration

Due to current travel restrictions, IGP funding opportunities will not be available until 2022. Information about calls for proposals will be announced on this website. We would be happy to add you to our e-mail distribution list for IGP funding programs. To do so, please send an e-mail to igp@tum.de.


Our IGP project is designed to explore new synergy potentials in Indo-German academic collaboration. These will be further developed during Exploratory Research Workshops and reciprocal research visits. At an annual TUMxIIT Research Forum, the IGP research groups will present and discuss their scientific findings and strengthen the dialogue with external stakeholders. TUMxIndia Research Mobility Grants as well as TUMxIndia Exploration Grants will support the IGP projects of senior researchers and postdocs starting in 2022.

Young talents

For master's students and doctoral candidates, the IGP project will create new spaces for exploration: Through various initiatives such as thematic conferences or competitions, young talents will strengthen their scientific competencies and build their own networks in an international environment. Travel grants – available from 2022 – will help the young scientists to actively participate in the current research activities of the IGP groups and will support their participation in field trips or other thematically relevant short research stays.

Administrative staff

MUSE – Mumbai/Munich Staff Exchange: This staff exchange program, developed specifically for the IGP project Exploration, is designed to further advance the internationalization of university administration which is firmly anchored in the TUM Agenda 2030. MUSE will create valuable opportunities for administrators from the three partners to exchange and build their international competencies and share best practices on institutional internationalization, inclusion, and governance issues. MUSE will launch in the fall of 2022.

Road to Exploration. An Indo-German Partnership

With a representation in India starting in 2011 and the opening of a liaison office in Mumbai in 2014, TUM intensified its efforts to expand its relationships with Indian universities and research institutions in the country. 

Of our nine Indian partners, IIT Bombay and IIT Kharagpur are among the oldest. TUM signed its first partnership agreement with IIT Bombay back in 2003. Since then, a successful student exchange and a number of research collaborations have been established, mainly in the fields of hydrology, media technology, climate and environmental policy, automatic control and management.

The partnership with TUM's top publishing partner in India, IIT Kharagpur, dates back to 2004. Particularly intensive research cooperation exists in electrical engineering, information technology, and engineering sciences. On June 19, 2018, TUM and IIT Kharagpur also sealed the establishment of a joint Indo-German Collaborative Research Center on Intelligent Transportation Systems  on the campus of IIT Kharagpur. The center will serve as a platform for German and Indian scientists and industry in the field of transportation research.

Following completion of the first program phase from 2016 to 2020, Germany and India extended the Indo-German Partnership in Higher Education Programme (IGP) for a further four years at the end of 2019. Together, India and Germany are investing seven million euros in projects designed to strengthen existing academic ties and create new opportunities in Indo-German academic cooperation.

With its 2020 concept Exploration. New Opportunities in Indo-German Academic Cooperation, TUM was among a small group of successful applicants.

With the help of funding from the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) and the Indian University Grants Commission (UGC), the three successful IGP project partners TUM, IIT Bombay, and IIT Kharagpur will join forces to expand research collaborations in the areas of climate, environment, energy, and mobility and transportation, addressing entrepreneurial and innovative dimensions.

The Kick-off Workshop for Exploration was held virtually on November 25, 2020 due to travel restrictions. The project leaders of all three partners Prof. Constantinos Antoniou and Prof. Miranda Schreurs, Prof. Swati Patankar and Prof. Siddhartha Mukhopadhyay gave brief overviews of their respective research priorities.

High-ranking representatives of the partner universities and the DAAD were also present:

  • Prof. Juliane Winkelmann, TUM Senior Vice President (International Alliances & Alumni).
  • Prof. S. Sudarshan, IIT Bombay Deputy Director - Academic and Infrastructural Affairs 
  • Prof. Baidurya Bhattacharya IIT Kharagpur Dean International Relations
  • Katja Lasch, Director of the DAAD New Delhi

After the presentations, the 65 participating scientists met in two virtual workshops: Here, possible cooperation formats on the topics of climate, environment and energy as well as mobility and transportation were concretized and initial joint research agendas were formulated.