Alumni Expert Seminar in combination with the International Trade Fair IFAT München 2020

foto cewas - workshop
foto cicd


On behalf of the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD), the Centre for International Capacity Development at University of Siegen in cooperation with cewas is organizing the

International Germany Alumni Seminar 2020:
“Design Thinking for Innovation Development in the Water and Environment Sector”

26 April – 03 May 2020 in Siegen, Germany

followed by the participation in

the International Trade Fair IFAT München

04 - 09 May 2020 in Munich, Germany


Seminar aims

The water and environment sector is in need of innovative ideas to effectively and sustainably address the challenges caused by pollution, resource exploitation and growing amount of waste. Business innovation in the environmental sector is an emerging topic around the globe, but the number of entrepreneurs with high potential business ideas is still low. One of the reasons is the lack of creative processes for developing sustainable value propositions with a strong market fit. A way to improve and assist the ideation and innovation process is the integration of design thinking, an approach and framework for identifying and solving problems. While being useful to many disciplines and actors, it is particularly useful for (future) entrepreneurs because it seeks to develop creative and user-relevant ideas for long-term water, sanitation and waste solutions. Design thinking involves understanding how to uncover customers’ real needs; how to productively generate ideas for solving them; and how to quickly learn which of those ideas are viable in the marketplace.


This seminar addresses young and innovative Germany alumni that seek to step into the entrepreneurial journey or initiate change processes within their institutions. The program and content of the seminar follows a participatory, cross-institutional and interdisciplinary approach. While outline the program, great emphasis is laid on participant’s interaction: besides face-to-face inputs, group works and case studies, a field visit to a successful environmental business case.


Overall, the alumni seminar aims at training in four selected topics :

(1) strengthen competences to develop business ideas in the environment sector with a strong practical component,

(2) foster cooperation in a multi-disciplinary team as a central idea of “Design Thinking”,

(3) exposure to private sector innovation and testing of business ideas at the fair IFAT München, and

(4) motivate participants to engage in networks like the German Alumni Water Network (GAWN), especially with regard to the worldwide networking possibilities at the interface of research and business development.


The seminar and trade fair visit are offered by the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) in the framework of the program Alumni Special Projects. The International Germany Alumni Seminar is organized and hosted by the University of Siegen in cooperation with the Swiss organization cewas. The costs will be mainly covered by funds from the DAAD, provided by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ).

Tentative Program

The seminar will have two parts:

1.     Six day´s seminar at University of Siegen, including:

  • Sessions on Design Thinking and how does it support the innovation process
  • Discover/Explore - Practice empathy tools and learn from users
  • Define/Reframe - Gather user information to derive deep insights into the problem
  • Ideate/Generate - Brainstorming and ideation techniques to develop new ideas
  • Presentations of the developed prototype to interested groups
  • Excursions and cultural events

2.    Five days visit of the International trade fair IFAT München

All alumni participate at the IFAT München 2020. Prototypes and group work results will be presented at IFAT to the broader public. Pitching of innovative business ideas, market research and validation strategies will be further continued. Networking approaches and consolidation of networking are also topics at IFAT München. Side events and a social programme at the fair will be organised in cooperation with DAAD and DWA.

The final program will be published once all applications have been reviewed. It is necessary to participate in the whole program: seminar, trade fair and social programme.


At IFAT München there will be the Conference Waste-Water-Women, organized by the German Association for Water, Wastewater and Waste (DWA). It will take place on 5 May 2020, followed by a networking session at DWA´s booth. Female applicants interested in speaking on this conference please answer in three sentences following questions (Make it short and clear!):

* What are you working on (current working project)?

* What exactly would you report about at the Conference Waste-Water-Woman?



This seminar targets alumni of German universities from countries listed on the DAC list of ‘developing’ countries, who carried out research or studied in Germany for at least 3 months, and who are currently living and working in their home countries.

You should have

(1)    a proven background in academic fields relevant to the topics of water, waste water and/or waste, environmental engineering, environment technology, water use efficiency, water reuse and waste water treatment.

(2)    professional experience and personal interest in one of the following areas:be ready to bring new ideas and innovations into public related to waste water reuse, recycling, zero waste, alternative sanitation systems, improved water treatment systems, grey water use and to environment and resource protection.

(3)    the requirements to act as a potential multiplier who will present the seminar results in your home country and thus disseminate the acquired knowledge as well as develop ideas and projects for regional implementation

(4)    adequate language proficiency which is essential to actively participate in the workshops and discussions as the seminar will be held in English

Eligibility for repeated attendances at Alumni Special Projects:

Participations in Alumni Special Projects are limited to a maximum of 2 participations within 4 years. The year of participation, not the year of application, is decisive for the calculation.


Travel dates:

26 April 2020: Arrival at the venue in Siegen

3 May 2020: Travel from Siegen to Munich

09 May 2020: Departure from Munich


Application procedure

If you are interested, please download the call for application and the application form and follow the procedures described.

Please send your application by 15 January 2020 via e-mail to:

Mr. Ruger Winnegge, ruger.winnegge(at)