KU Celebrates Bold Achievements from 2018-2019 Academic Year

Partnerships, Recognitions and New Launches Inspire New Successes in Year to Come

Launching of new initiatives, collaborations, regional and global recognitions, as well as participating in and hosting major international conferences have transformed 2018-19 into an academic year of milestones for Khalifa University.

The launch of the College of Medicine and Health Sciences (CMHS) began KU’s foray into the healthcare sector, designed to contribute to the UAE’s ecosystem with qualified, trained and skilled care providers and medical professionals.

The year also witnessed the official launch of the next edition of the Mohamed Bin Zayed International Robotics Challenge (MBZIRC), scheduled to take place in February 2020 to focus on the role of robotics and artificial intelligence as smart city solutions. The global competition aims to provide an environment to foster innovation and technical excellence in robotics, while encouraging spectacular performance with robotics technology.

Dr. Arif Sultan Al Hammadi, Executive Vice President, said: “Each year reflects our qualitative and quantitative success that consolidates our status as a globally recognized research-oriented academic institution. We believe our achievements will continue across all segments even as we seek to expand our research areas and diversify our academic offerings.”

The university marked the successful completion of the critical design review (CDR) for MYSAT-2, the university’s second CubeSat. Earlier, MYSAT-1,  the first CubeSat developed by Khalifa University students, successfully captured an image of earth in March 2019, following its launch in November 2018.

Reiterating its involvement in the rapidly growing space and aerospace sector, two Khalifa University start-ups – Ayn Astra and Utopia – won UAE Space Agency-Krypto Labs’ Joint GeoTech Innovation Program for Incubation. Ayn Astra focuses on providing land monitoring services using satellite data, while Utopia aims to develop optimal urban and rural land management strategies.

Tie-Ups and Collaborations

In partnerships, Khalifa University is collaborating with Dubai’s Road and Transport Authority (RTA) for the Dubai World Challenge for Self-Driving Transport, supporting the UAE’s progress towards adoption of this new mode of transport.

KU is also collaborating with the L’Oréal-UNESCO For Women In Science Middle East Fellowship Program, offering three post-doctoral and three PhD fellowships including one exclusively for a UAE national student. A partnership with the China Scholarship Council (CSC), the region’s first, enables up to 30 Chinese students each year to pursue their PhD studies at Khalifa University. The launch of a Joint Innovation Laboratory of Artificial Intelligence for Clean Energy with Alibaba Cloud, the cloud computing arm of Alibaba Group, was another key collaboration. The university also signed an MoU with Japan’s Institute of Energy Economics to further strengthen industry-academia collaborations.

Khalifa University hosted major events including the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region’s first-ever IEEE Global Communications Conference, Globecom 2018; the Khalifa University-Mubadala-SRC Forum on Artificial Intelligence (AI); and the Times Higher Education Asia Universities Summit 2019.

Khalifa University also participated in major events, including the 14th International Defense Exhibition (IDEX 2019), the 5th Naval Defense Exhibition (NAVDEX 2019), and Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week (ADSW) 2019. During ADSW 2019, KU celebrated the success of the its Sustainable Bioenergy Research Consortium (SBRC), which produced the first batch of sustainable halophyte-based biofuel at its Seawater Energy and Agriculture System (SEAS) facility that was combined with traditional jet fuel to power the world’s first commercial flight on an Etihad Airways Boeing 787 from Abu Dhabi to Amsterdam. The SEAS pilot facility recently completed a major upgrade to improve its performance and the healthy growth of its salt-tolerant plants and fish.

Local and International Recognitions

Student success at international and regional competitions not only marked faculty expertise at Khalifa University but also helped drive innovations. These include the 2019 MENA SPE PetroBowl® Regional Championship by Petroleum Engineering students, ninth place out of 104 universities at the Design Build Fly (DBF) 2019 American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA) Competition in the US, and top honors for two projects at the 14th IEEE UAE Student Day 2019 competition.

Several students won honors for their innovations at the Think Science Fair 2019 when a large number of school students from grades 9-12 as well as undergraduate and diploma levels students showcased their prototypes at the 2019 Think Science Competition.

Moreover, a team of six Electrical and Computer Engineering bachelor students became one of five global finalists to present a project at the IEEE Circuits and Systems Society (CASS) Student Design Competition during the International Symposium for Circuits and Systems (ISCAS) 2019 in Japan. Also, the ‘SparKU’ team of nine Mechanical, Electrical, Computer and Chemical Engineering students won eighth place out of 31 international universities at the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) Supermileage 2019 competition in the US.

KU students also claimed five of the 11 Best Paper Awards at the fifth UAE Graduate Students Research Conference (GSRC 2019) in which nearly half of the 120 finalist papers came from KU graduate students.

During the year, the Emirates ICT Innovation Center (EBTIC), which leads research into advancing intelligent systems technologies for next generation networks (NGNs) and NGN-enabled ICT applications and services for the UAE’s digital economy objectives, celebrated its 10th anniversary. Founded by Khalifa University, Etisalat and BT, and supported by the ICT Fund, EBTIC has over 40 patents granted, with 60 more currently being filed in ICT, big data, and data storage in its decade-long existence.

Climbing the Rankings

Capping these achievements came the international rankings. In the most recent Times Higher Education (THE) 2019 Young University Rankings, Khalifa University is placed among the top 40 leading institutions with a ranking of 38th out of 351 academic institutions, a jump of 11 slots from the last year. In the QS (Quacquarelli Symonds) World University Rankings 2020, the University is ranked 268th overall with a jump of 47 slots, out of the 1,000 universities assessed from 82 different locations across the world, and remains the top-rated institution in the UAE.

Clarence Michael
News Writer
1 August 2019