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Participants from the University of Waterloo and Indian Institute of Technology Delhi are selected for an event around a sustainability topic based on the Waterloo Institute for Sustainable Energy’s ‘Innovation Lab’ framework. During a global pandemic, the goal of the event is to build connections between students and institutions, and to challenge students to work together to use their skills and address a sustainability issue that impacts both their countries.

Both India and Canada face issues regarding Sustainable Development Goal number 7 – access to affordable and clean energy. In particular, remote and off-grid communities in both countries have reduced or costly electricity services, and in some cases do not have access to clean-burning cooking fuels.

Students created projects that are cost effective, provided meaningful services to community members, placed community voices and opinions at the forefront of decision making, and are planned for self-sufficiency within three years. The innovation lab brought together students to design sustainable energy solutions for both communities, given information on technology and costs.

Students were split into groups of three - five, with a mix of students from each university, and assigned a sub-topic: technology, economy, society, or environment. After individual discussions with their group members, and three sets of twenty minute meetings for groups to discuss with other groups, the four groups developed a single cohesive solution for each community, combining technology, economy, society, and environmental aspects. Students briefly presented their solution, and then participated in a guided discussion and debrief to the Innovation Lab.


Professor Ian Rowlands, Associate Vice-President International at the University of Waterloo

Professor Naveen Garg, Dean of International Programs at IITD

Professor Jatin Nathwani, Faculty of Environment and Engineering, University of Waterloo

Professor SK Tyagi, Department of Energy Science and Engineering at IITD

Professor Dipanjan Basu, Faculty of Engineering, University of Waterloo


Professor Dibakar Rakshit, Department of Energy Science and Engineering at IITD

Dr. Abdelsalam Eajal, Faculty of Engineering, University of Waterloo

8:30am-8:40am EST /7:00pm-7:10pm IST: Introductions and opening remarks from Professor Rowlands and Professor Garg.

8:40am-9:00am /7:10pm-7:30pm: Individual group discussions - each of the four groups go into individual breakout rooms to touch base. Professors may join breakout rooms to observe and provide feedback if desired, or leave and return for the presentations. 

9:00am-9:15am /7:30pm-7:45pm: Technology & economy, social & environmental teams discuss. Professors welcome to join breakout rooms.

9:15am-9:30am /7:45pm-8:00pm: Social & economy, technology & environmental teams discuss. Professors welcome to join breakout rooms.

9:30am-9:45am /8:00pm-8:15pm: Technology & social, economy & environmental teams discuss. Professors welcome to join breakout rooms.

9:45am-9:55am /8:15pm-8:25pm: Final discussion and presentation preparation in individual group breakout rooms.

9:55am-10:30am /8:25pm-9:00pm: Group presentations (15 minutes), feedback and questions from professors (10 minutes), closing discussion (10 minutes) 

10:30am-11:00am /9:00pm-9:30pm: Feedback to the organizers, social discussion among students.


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