My name is Brian Kiprono Rotich a master’s student of Environmental and Land Planning Engineering at Politecnico di Milano in Milan, Italy. In 2021, I got a golden opportunity to do my research thesis in collaboration with my parent university and the Technische Universität Berlin under the umbrella of the Ide3a Program sponsored by DAAD. This was a three months program which took place from 1st September to 30th November 2021. I had the pleasure of working under Professor Andrea Cominola who is the Assistant Professor of Smart Water Networks at the Technische Universität Berlin and the Einstein Center Digital Future. He is easily the best supervisor I have ever worked with. He really helped me purposefully from the onset in many ways ranging from my research work to my life in Berlin in general. He has also been gracious enough to continue working with me beyond the period of the program to see to it that I complete my research work successfully. I am extremely grateful and lucky to have had the opportunity to work under him for this period.
My research topic was “the analysis of the water footprint of electricity generation in Kenya from 2015 to 2021 and the determination of a realistic less water intensive national energy mix for the year 2030 and beyond”. I was able to work closely with my supervisor to the completion of more than 50% of my research during the period of the program. The program was timely and very important for my study life as it was able to give me financial stability and supervisorial expertise for my graduate research. This gave me an ample time and the technical ability to focus on my research and to ensure that I achieved the best and most reliable results. Good quality and reliable results for my research is important because it will help the government of my country Kenya make sound decisions in terms of generation and consumption of electricity with sustainability and precious water resource management in mind which is a noble cause.
The welcome and the overall help from the Ide3a team during this period was tremendous. This was led by Johannes Reheis who was very helpful in enabling me obtain documents required for my stay in Berlin. I am wholeheartedly grateful to everyone. I especially enjoyed the moments we met with staff and fellow students of the program for coffee and catch up from time to time. They were really helpful in relieving the tension and pressure from the day to day research activities. The social exposure I received during this period is also huge. I have been able to meet and interact with people within and outside of this program and surely built long-lasting relationships that are now dear to me. It has also been a great experience living in Berlin for this period. Despite the cold weather, Berlin is a great city to live in with state-of-the-art infrastructure and nice people. I am now convinced in my mind that if I get another opportunity to come back to Berlin in future. I would not hesitate to come and hopefully give back to the German society for their hospitality and kindness.
The challenges on the other hand were few. I felt that the time period for the program was a little bit short. If possible, I would propose a period of six months. This would be enough time for students to be able to complete their research. This is because most research take more than 3 months to complete. Apart from this, everything else was to my complete satisfaction. I am eternally grateful and honored to have been part of this program. I can dare say that this is going to bring great impact to many students in the years to come.