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Board of Trustees Annual Meeting Reviews Masdar Institute’s Next Phase Growth Plan

 New Academic Departments, Fresh Collaborations, Higher Number of Graduates and Increase in Enrollments Mark 2013

Abu Dhabi-UAE: 12 November, 2013 – The Board of Trustees of Masdar Institute of Science and Technology, an independent, research-driven graduate-level university focused on advanced energy and sustainable technologies, reviewed the progress of the research-based institution during an annual meeting and approved its next phase growth strategy for the coming years.


His Highness General Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, is the Chairman of the Board of Trustees of Masdar Institute.

The members of the Board of Trustees include His Highness Sheikh Diab bin Zayed Al Nahyan; His Highness Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Minister of Foreign Affairs; His Excellency Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, Minister of Culture, Youth and Community Development; His Excellency Mohammed Ahmed Al Bawardi, Member of the Abu Dhabi Executive Council and Chairman of the Executive Committee; His Excellency Khaldoon Khalifa Al Mubarak, Chairman of the Executive Affairs Authority and CEO of the Mubadala Development Company; His Excellency Ahmed Al Sayegh, Chairman of Masdar; His Excellency Abdulla Nasser Al Suwaidi, Director-General of Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC); His Excellency Dr. Adnan Badran, President of Petra University and Deputy Director-General of UNESCO; Dr Rafael Reif, President, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT); His Excellency Dr. Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber, CEO of Masdar and Chairman of the Executive Committee of the Board of Trustees of Masdar Institute;  and Dr. Fred Moavenzadeh, President of Masdar Institute.

Dr. Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber said: “Masdar Institute has grown tremendously over the past year and has achieved several milestones, including the establishment of various research partnerships with the public and private sector. The research-based institution’s contribution remains consistent with its mission and in line with the directives of our wise leadership’s economic ambitions. With the support of the Board of Trustees, we are confident Masdar Institute will further support the UAE’s capacity building efforts and help position Abu Dhabi as a global clean-energy technology leader.”

The graduation of nearly 90 Master’s students of Class 2013 marked one of the most significant moments during the year. The group was also the largest in a single year from Masdar Institute so far. At the same time, the Fall 2013 new student enrollments increased to 203, taking the current total number of students to 417, representing 58 countries. The number of UAE nationals has increased by more than 15% compared to last year. However, the most important strategic development came during the new academic year that witnessed the regrouping of the eight academic programs under four departments. The new initiative aims to lay the ground for the institution’s transition to the next stage of growth in the coming years.

In his annual report to the Board of Trustees, Dr. Fred Moavenzadeh said: “The year marked a strong impetus towards our transition to the next stage. Every academic institution reaches a threshold from where it has to elevate its projections, raise excellence standards and widen its academic offerings. During 2013 we have begun the process and as guided and supported by the UAE’s leadership and the Board of Trustees we are firmly progressing on our way forward. We hope to achieve more milestones in the coming years.”

One of the most important innovations was announced in February 2013 when two faculty members achieved a pioneering breakthrough in developing a novel membrane that can operate in an ‘in-situ’ cleaning system for desalination purposes. A patent application was then filed for the new system that is considered superior to other existing techniques. Masdar Institute currently has one approved patent with 20 patent applications pending. These are in addition to papers in 375 peer-reviewed journals, 196 conference proceedings, 19 book chapters, two full books and one trade publication.

In technology-related achievements, three students successfully completed a semiconductor chip design using GLOBALFOUNDRIES 65nm process, the first GLOBALFOUNDRIES tape-out from the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region. Owned by the Advanced Technology Investment Company (ATIC), GLOBALFOUNDRIES is collaborating with Masdar Institute, having granted access to leading-edge technology platform for researchers and students. Moreover, researchers have also placed the UAE on the global map of printed organic optoelectronics, by commencing projects in organic photodetectors including solar cells and photodiodes.

Locally and regionally, Masdar Institute hosted several events and announced various partnerships. A collaboration project with Bayanat for Mapping and Surveying Services, a Mubadala company, focused on developing water quality monitoring tools in the Arabian Gulf, using the satellite receiving station at the research-based institution. At the same time, Masdar Institute entered into a collaborative research project with Tawazun Economic Council, which is mandated to oversee implementation of the UAE Tawazun Economic Program, to focus on land systems and advanced materials. A scholarship agreement with the Abu Dhabi Water and Electricity Authority (ADWEA) ensures sharing of knowledge, expertise and technology as well as capacity building in the UAE.

Globally, the year also witnessed fresh partnerships in addition to productive yields from existing research collaborations. Masdar Institute became an affiliate of the US-based Joint Institute for Strategic Energy Analysis (JISEA) to collaborate in three areas – water-energy nexus, clean energy policy with focus on the Middle East/North Africa region, and energy access in developing countries.

An academic collaboration with University of Southern California’s Viterbi School of Engineering in the US resulted in 18 UAE national students participating in a two-week summer continuing education program. The focus areas included experiential engineering in renewable energy, sustainable infrastructure systems, and innovation and entrepreneurship.

Among global-level conferences, Masdar Institute and the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (UN-ESCWA) jointly organized a two-day expert group meeting (EGM) on carbon capture and storage (CCS). More than 50 international experts gathered at the campus for the event that was titled ‘Carbon Capture, Utilization and Storage in ESCWA Member States: Enhancing the Sustainability of the Energy System in a Carbon Constrained Development Context’.

Also, more than 200 distinguished speakers, panelists, and invited guests, whose diversity mirrors the complex ecosystem for innovation, participated in the ‘UAE Innovation and Entrepreneurship Forum 2013’ that was held in Abu Dhabi. The event was jointly organized by Masdar Institute and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) under the patronage of His Excellency Sheikh Nahayan Mabarak Al Nahayan, UAE Minister of Culture, Youth and Community Development.

During the year, Masdar Institute further intensified engagement with its stakeholders. High-ranking officials from Mubadala entities including Suhail Mahmood Al Ansari, Executive Director, Mubadala Healthcare, Maurizio La Noce, Chief Executive Officer, Mubadala Petroleum, and Ahmed Yahia Al Idrissi, Executive Director, Mubadala Industry, shared their expertise with students and faculty. Several experts including Tariq Al Gurg, Chief Executive Officer of Dubai Cares, a philanthropic organization, Dr. Sandro Tedde, Senior Key Expert Research Scientist, Siemens AG, and Dr. Tomas Svitek, CEO of Stellar Exploration, also shared their experiences with the Masdar Institute community. The Masdar Institute-Toyota Scholarship program and the IRENA Scholarship programs continue to benefit students.

Also, Masdar Institute received accreditation for its Ph.D. program from UAE Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research. The total number of faculty rose to 82, representing more than 30 countries. The number of accomplishments registered by the research-based institution’s faculty continued to show an uptrend during the year.

The annual accomplishments were acknowledged by the members of the Board of Trustees who urged Masdar Institute to further intensify research in areas that are strategically relevant to the UAE and the region. They also complemented the Masdar Institute community for consistently contributing to knowledge and human capital development in the fields of clean energy and advanced technology research.

Among the outreach initiatives, members of the 2012 Young Future Energy Leaders (YFEL) program successfully completed their annual program and received their certificates during a ceremony in January 2013. Some YFEL members, who are also students of Masdar Institute, took up new projects and initiatives during their year-long activities. A 10-day intensive field-based course for YFEL members in India’s far-northern Ladakh region earlier this year proved extremely effective in designing and implementing energy projects that can make remote rural areas self-sufficient. YFEL members also projected the capabilities of the UAE at the World Energy Congress 2013 in Daegu in South Korea, making the country a strong contender to be named the venue for the next congress.

While UAE national graduate students enthusiastically participated in the research-based summer internship program, seven students spent their summer in Japan under an eight-week internship program organized by the Japan International Co-operation Center (JICE). Ektashif, a residential program targeting UAE students, received an enthusiastic response with the participation of 22 Emirati undergraduate students.

Dr. Moavenzadeh concluded: “The increasing contribution to knowledge development, higher number of invention disclosures and widening engagement with stakeholders on strengthening innovation and entrepreneurship will continue in the coming year. As our involvement in more knowledge-intensive sectors intensifies, our collaborations and partnerships will similarly expand, contributing further to making Abu Dhabi a clean energy hub.”

Serving as a key pillar of innovation and human capital, Masdar Institute remains fundamental to Masdar’s core objectives of developing Abu Dhabi’s knowledge economy and finding solutions to humanity’s toughest challenges such as climate change.

Established as an ongoing collaboration with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Masdar Institute integrates theory and practice to incubate a culture of innovation and entrepreneurship, working to develop the critical thinkers and leaders of tomorrow.  With its world-class faculty and top-tier students, the Institute is committed to finding solutions to the challenges of clean energy and climate change through education and research.

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