Interview with Mr. Stephan Lanzinger, Counsellor and Head of the S&T Section at the German Embassy, New Delhi

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Summary of bio-data:

In July 2015, Mr. Stephan Lanzinger has taken over as Counsellor and Head of the Science and Technology Section at the German Embassy, New Delhi. In June 2019 he will be posted back to the Federal Foreign Office in Berlin. From 2009 to 2012, Mr. Lanzinger headed the Press Division at the German Embassy in Cairo, before being stationed as an Officer at the Human Rights Desk in the Federal Foreign Office from 2012 to 2015. Mr. Lanzinger did his Masters in Oriental Studies, Political Studies and Philosophy in Berlin and in Damascus.


In your four years as Head of Science and Technology Section at the German Embassy in India, what have been the most important developments between the two countries?

Science and Technology is a very important pillar of our bilateral relations. We have developed numerous comprehensive long-term programmes, institutions and partnerships, such as the Indo-German Science and Technology Centre (IGSTC) or the German Centre for Research and Innovation (DWIH) New Delhi. Our cooperation is therefore less based on individual, short-term ad-hoc initiatives than in the past. This is a very solid foundation for the future.


 Where do you see Indo-German collaboration developing in the coming years?

Today, excellent science is internationally oriented. India is becoming an increasingly important and interesting partner, e.g. in developing scientific solutions to global challenges such as climate change or antibiotic resistance. There is a great deal of potential for further expanding cooperation both in basic research and in applied research in the natural sciences as well as in the humanities and social sciences.


 What role does innovation play in this collaboration?

Germany is one of the most innovative countries in the world. India requires both high-tech and frugal innovations to cater to its large population. Innovation therefore plays a pivotal role in our cooperation. Innovation is also the focus for the German Centre for Research and Innovation (DWIH New Delhi). DWIH has also organised various events in this field in the past years.


For German researchers, what are benefits from working in a collaborative project funded by Horizon 2020 joint India-EU Calls?

For both German and Indian researchers, the benefit of working in a collaborative EU project is the multilateral dimension which the EU projects give. Not only can a German researcher work with an Indian partner but have multiple partners including ones from EU partner countries. This widens the horizon and gives EU researchers another platform to work with each other.


Which areas of research benefit the most from India-Germany collaboration?

A large number of Indian students visit Germany for higher studies and research in the STEM subjects. A lot of collaborative projects are also in natural sciences and technology. With some new initiatives, we are also trying to promote collaborative projects and joint research in the area of social sciences and humanities as well.


What advice do you have for Indian researchers who seek collaboration with German partners?

My advice to Indian researchers would be to do some ground work and look for potential partners in Germany. It is important to take a targeted approach and carefully select suitable partners which have the right profile. Once you have found a partner, there are many ways to finance joint projects. On the German side, traditionally a variety of scholarship and funding programmes is available. Recently the Indian Government has launched some excellent initiatives like GIAN and SPARC. In addition there are bilateral programmes and funding platforms, such as the Indo-German Science and Technology Centre. My advice to both Indian and German researchers would be to take maximum advantage of these programmes and platforms.


The number of students from India in Germany is increasing. In your eyes, what makes Germany such an attractive study destination?

High quality teaching and research, a large number of degree courses being offered in English language, low or no tuition fee at German Universities and great career prospects make Germany an attractive destination.


What advice would you give Indian students aspiring to study in Germany?

Studying in Germany is both challenging and rewarding. Germany offers excellent conditions. Nevertheless, international students must meet the academic requirements and prepare well for their stay. My advice to Indian students would be to check out the conditions and collect all information required either by contacting the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) or the International Office of the University of their choice and carefully make all necessary arrangements including applying for a student visa in time.


After spending the last four years in India, what will you miss the most?

I will miss many, many people with whom I have had the honour and pleasure of working here for the past four years, resulting in many successful projects. I have made many friends here and it is hard to leave all these great and fascinating personalities.

Besides, I love mangoes and it is very hard to leave India in the middle of the mango season.


Thank you, Mr. Lanzinger!