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Inauguration Of Masdar Institute Campus At Masdar City Underscores Abu Dhabi’s Commitment To Build A Knowledge-Based Economy

Under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, His Highness Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Presidential Affairs, today officially inaugurated the Masdar Institute of Science and Technology campus at Masdar City. The Institute is the Middle East’s first graduate research institution dedicated to renewable energy and clean environmental technologies.

“Backed by the visionary leadership of His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the UAE, and His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, the UAE is committed to the development of human capital as a foundation to drive the country’s long-term economic viability,” His Highness Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan said during the official inauguration of the Masdar Institute.

His Highness added that Abu Dhabi is committed to strengthening its intellectual capital and moving to a knowledge-based economy through the investment in higher education as well as research and development, particularly in the field of renewable energy. He further added that the students at Masdar Institute represent the world’s future researchers, academics and leaders who will be responsible for developing and advancing the technologies which will address some of the world’s most pressing energy challenges and contribute to Abu Dhabi’s economic growth and diversification.

The inauguration ceremony was attended by a number of high profile dignitaries from the UAE including His Highness Sheikh Abdulah bin Zayed Al Nahayn, Minister of Foreign Affairs; His Highness Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, Minister of Higher education and Scientific Research; His Excellency Mohammed Ahmed Al Bowardi, Secretary-General of the Abu Dhabi Executive Council; His Excellency Khaldoun Khalifa Al Mubarak, Chairman of the Executive Affairs Authority; and His Excellency Ahmed Ali Al Sayegh, Chairman of Masdar. The event was also attended by a number of notable guests including His Excellency  Mr. Ólafur Ragnar Grímsson, President of Iceland; His Excellency Dr. Adnan Badran, Former Prime Minister of the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan; Lord Norman Foster, famous British architect; and L. Rafael Reif, Provost of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

His Highness Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan and the dignitaries toured the Masdar Institute campus to observe the innovative, energy-efficient construction and to meet with faculty and students. HH the Deputy Prime Minister stressed the importance of investing in higher education, research, renewable energy and clean technologies due to the vital role they play in diversifying and strengthening Abu Dhabi’s economy.

His Highness the Deputy Prime Minister was briefed on the Institute’s major accomplishments during the past two years. To date, some notable achievements include a 20 percent increase in UAE nationals enrolled to the Masters Programme, the unveiling of a new Master of Science Programme in Microsystems Engineering, the submission of several patents pending and the establishment of the Masdar Institute Ph.D. Program. 

Dr. Sultan Al Jaber, CEO of Masdar, and chairman of the executive Committee of the Board of Trustees of Masdar Institute, said: “Thanks to the guidance of His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan and His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Abu Dhabi is dedicated to higher education as a key element to the successful integration and adoption of clean energy and forging commercialisation opportunities for the region. Masdar Institute is the foundation for shaping future scientists, and is a core driver in moving to a knowledge-based economy, with a strong focus on intellectual capital.

“Along with strong policies and initiatives, education is a core component in discovering, incubating and accelerating the technologies of tomorrow – and Masdar Institute will play a vital role in helping that effort,” added Dr. Al Jaber. “The advancements in renewable energy and clean technology are vital to diversifying Abu Dhabi’s economy, creating jobs, helping meet rising energy demands, expand its energy portfolio and to conserving its hydrocarbon resources.”

Dr. Al Jaber further added that Masdar has demonstrated that being a leader in alternative energy requires focus on long-term strategic planning, careful decision-making, adaptability and flexibility to market conditions and technological innovation.

Professor Fred Moavenzadeh, President of Masdar Institute, said: “Thanks to the wise leadership of Abu Dhabi, Masdar Institute will facilitate academic study and research to drive new innovations into commercial opportunities for the region. Connecting some of the brightest minds from the region and the world, our students will unlock the answers to some of the greatest challenges of our time, such as climate change and energy security. By doing this, they will help to maintain Abu Dhabi’s position as a global energy leader.

“The sophisticated campus provides the ideal setting to drive real innovation and a concrete path to the technologies critical to powering tomorrow,” said Professor Moavenzadeh. “Momentum is building and the global community is taking notice of our enhanced programs and unique research and development within the renewable energy and clean technology sector.

The Institute has been designed to improve both the living and working experience through smart, high performance building design. Today, Masdar Institute and its facilities uses 54 percent less potable water consumption, has a 51 percent reduction in electrical demand and is fully powered by solar energy. These reductions are based on comparisons to UAE standard baselines for buildings of similar size and specifications. While constructing the buildings, a special mix of concrete was also used to minimize carbon emissions, and the wood used came from sustainable forests. These measures underscore Masdar’s ongoing focus to use environmentally-friendly materials and recycling all that is unused in order to minimize the ecological footprint.

Having welcomed its second cohort of students in September 2010, Masdar Institute currently has 41 professors and 170 students from the United Arab Emirates and 32 other nations.

Masdar Institute is an innovation accelerator and a place where students can live and learn. Students and faculty members are now using these unique facilities to conduct research in key scientific areas including aviation biofuels, clean energy production, sustainable development, microsystems, nanotechnology, energy efficiency, carbon capture and storage and solar energy.

The Institute’s research in renewable energy and clean technology underpins the development of a robust pipeline of commercialization opportunities for Abu Dhabi, as well as tackling some of the most pressing energy challenges. Students and professors at the Institute are undertaking projects in critical areas such identifying less carbon-intensive methods for water desalination and discovering technologies to efficiently integrate renewable power into the electrical grid.

Masdar Institute is situated in Masdar City, an emerging global clean-technology cluster that aims to be one of the world’s most sustainable urban developments, powered by renewable energy.  Recently, the Institute announced the commencement of the second phase of construction and extension of its existing campus. The addition will incorporate similar energy efficient design elements such as shaded streets, natural ventilation and heat reflecting facades that make the Masdar Institute facility one of the most technically and architecturally unique buildings in the world. On completion of the second phase, the Masdar Institute will educate in excess of 600 graduate students with 9 open laboratories, 2 clean rooms, 13 hi-bay laboratories, a 90 seat auditorium, 12 classrooms and 324 student apartments.

The two clean rooms – rated at class 1000 and class 100 respectively – are used to support the educational and research needs for the Microsystems Engineering Masters program. The program will support research in the areas of semiconductor devices and fabrication technologies, and the creation of new electronic and photonic circuits. The launch of this program allowed for the establishment of the first clean room in the Middle East and North Africa. The clean rooms are currently being equipped with state-of-the-art equipment for educational and basic research activities.

Masdar Institute was established as part of the Government of Abu Dhabi’s vision and commitment to a long-term, sustainable knowledge economy. The research-driven Institute has been developed in cooperation with one of the world’s most respected academic institutions, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in Cambridge, Massachusetts, USA. Masdar Institute, which will be the centerpiece of the multifaceted Masdar Initiative, launched by Mubadala Development Company, will feed Abu Dhabi and the region with highly talented individuals and research expertise, thereby enhancing economic development and diversification through human capital and technological innovation. 

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