IIT Madras Launches School Of Sustainability To Address Global Challenges

IIT Madras Launches School Of Sustainability To Address Global Challenges

The Indian Institutes of Technology (IIT), Madras, launched a School of Sustainability on Saturday, aiming to offer interdisciplinary courses in sustainability, promote collaborative research to address significant challenges, and provide a platform for events and technologies that support both practical application and policy development. In addition to offering sustainability courses and an interdisciplinary Master's program, the school intends to provide a range of sustainability-related capacity-building courses for professionals, both online and in person. Beyond education, the school's activities will prioritise scientific research, technology development, real-world project implementation, and policy advisory efforts.

The school will bring together faculty members from various departments and research centers within the Institute.

Chief guest Jayant Sinha, Member of Parliament and chairperson of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Finance, emphasised the urgency of addressing climate change and extreme weather events, highlighting the need for innovative solutions.

Mr Sinha said, "Today, the world is on fire. If you have seen the research, we have had the warmest September on record, and it's warmer not just by 0.5 degrees centigrade but much warmer than people had anticipated. We are in 2023, experiencing the warmest year that humanity has ever experienced. We have seen that in the extreme weather events across the world this year, from the fires in Canada to the flash floods in Sikkim. We do not know what once in a 100 years is going to bring."

Kala Vairavamoorthy, executive director of the International Water Association, noted the transformation occurring in the water sector toward a low-carbon approach and a circular economy.

Speaking on the occasion, professor Kala Vairavamoorthy, executive director, International Water Association, said, "In the water sector, we are seeing this major transition taking place. We are moving much more to a low-carbon way of doing business. Water was very carbon-intensive historically. But with huge investments taking place, particularly in the Global South, we are seeing this opportunity to rebuild and re-imagine our water infrastructure in a much more low-carbon way. We are also seeing this transition to a circular economy, which is a big thing in the water sector."

Key highlights of the school's initiatives include the introduction of a minor course in sustainability in 2024, available to all IIT-Madras students. Additionally, the school plans to launch an Integrated Dual Degree Program (IDDD) on Sustainability within the next 3-5 years, offering a full-fledged Master's degree with a thesis project. The school's research areas include decarbonisation, human settlements, modeling and scenario development, and behavioral and industrial change.

In each of these areas, the school will engage in scientific research, product development, pilot implementations, and policy advisory activities, contributing to critical discussions such as Climate Finance.