Dr. Vega is also appointed to lead the newly formed Engineering and Technology Advisory Board.
Khalifa University’s Dr. Lourdes Vega now joins the prestigious Emirates Scientists Council (ESC) as a new member. Since its establishment in 2016, the Council has been working in transitioning the UAE from knowledge user to knowledge developer, positioning the country as a destination conducive to scientific research and innovation.
“I feel very honored and excited to be a member of the Emirates Scientists Council (ESC). As members of the ESC, our duties include, among others, suggesting policies that would create a stimulating environment for innovation and research in order to attract and retain a generation of scientists in various fields, providing scientific advice to the Council of Ministers when required, raising nationally and internationally awareness above the science and technology developed in the country, and effectively establishing collaborations between the public and private sectors to make an impact in the economy and well-being of the country,” Dr. Vega commented about her appointment.
“Hence, being a member of the Council comes with a great honor and responsibility, as it implies being fully engaged in such an important endeavor. I deeply thank HE Sarah Al Amiri and the Council of Ministers, for allowing me to be an active part of the present and future knowledge-based economy and society of the Country, while contributing to attract the next generation of talented scientists and engineers to be part of the joint effort,” she said.
Aside from being a new member of the ESC, Dr. Vega is also leading the ESC Advisory Board on Engineering and Technology. The Board was created to support and advise the federal government in matters related to science and technology research and policy to further advance in this direction.
“It is clear that research and innovation in engineering and technology has already played a key role in the advancement of the Country, and it is expected to have a huge impact in the development of the society of knowledge the Emirates is building, and our quality of life. The Board, led by myself as a member of the ESC, is integrated by a selected team of scientists and experts in their specific fields of science from different universities and institutions in the Emirates, which will work together to accomplish our mandate,” she explained.
The Board and the Council will work hand in hand in developing the engineering and technology talent pool in the UAE. Part of this is to develop programs to entice the younger generation to become engineers and entrepreneurs. The Board will also actively promote collaborations between public and private research institutions focused on engineering and technology. Describing further the Board’s role and objectives, Dr. Vega said: “We want institutions to go beyond and above individual achievements. Part of our role is to also highlight, nationally and internationally, the impact engineering and technology research and innovation developed here in the Emirates has on the economy and the society. As a Board, we will propose and develop different initiatives in all these areas, including mapping the current capabilities and interests aligned with the needs of the country, successful stories, international practices, different collaborations, etc. This is a very exciting task where many scientists and engineers in the Emirates can also contribute.”
Dr. Vega is a Professor of Chemical Engineering and the Director of the Research and Innovation Center on CO2 and Hydrogen (RICH) at Khalifa University. She is an internationally recognized leading authority in her field of molecular thermodynamics, clean energy, and sustainability, now focused on hydrogen production and uses, CO2 capture and utilization at large scale, alternative fuels and sustainable cooling systems. Aside from her new appointment as member of the ESC, Dr. Vega is also a member of the Mohammed Bin Rashid Academy of Sciences (MBRAS). In 2020, she was recognized for her work and expertise in sustainability and clean energy and was awarded the Mohammed bin Rashid Medal for Scientific Distinguishment.
“As mentioned, I feel very honored for being a member of the Emirates Scientist Council; I came to the Emirates several years ago with the goal to leverage my expertise and knowledge in science and technology for the needs of the country. The dream has come true; now I have an additional responsibility to do it from above, which I am happy to take. Serving is my goal. Paraphrasing the great scientist Isaac Newton, ‘If I have seen further it is by standing on the shoulders of giants’.”
Dr. Vega added, “Being a KU faculty and a member of the ESC reinforces how the country values our knowledge, skills and impact. I would like to remind the KU community that as an institution we have the honor and the responsibility to contribute to the knowledge-based society the country is building, and the role of each of us is equally important to accomplish it. In spite of the difficulties that we may find in our daily tasks, the efforts are worth, as any scientific or technological achievement, big or small, is part of our contribution to the present and future of the country. The better we work together, the higher the impact we can achieve as an institution. In addition, as an educational organization, we are very lucky to have the opportunity to help young talented scientists and engineers to follow their dreams.”
Ara Maj Cruz
13 January 2022