Working towards social, economic and ecological sustainability is one of the biggest challenges for India today, but it is also a great opportunity for the country and its people. Introducing the concept of sustainability as a systems science at universities—both in research and teaching—means to transgress long-standing disciplinary boundaries and departmental barriers. As a German visiting professor, I act as a bridgehead, navigating between two academic cultures and structures, with a view to provide an interface for students, scholars and scientists from both countries to leverage their knowledge for mutual benefit.