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KU Prolific Scientists Awarded Golden Residency Visa

October 12, 2020

Three more Khalifa University faculty members have been awarded the 10-year golden residency visa by the UAE government.


Dr. Rashid Abu Al-Rub, Acting Chair of Aerospace Engineering and Professor of Mechanical Engineering; Dr. Mohamed Shawky El Moursi, Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science; and Dr. Ammar Nayfeh, Associate Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, have been recognized for their work and contributions to the UAE. They join nine other Khalifa University faculty who were honored with the golden visa last year.

All three faculty are also members of the the Mohammed bin Rashid Academy of Scientists, the primary body representing the UAE’s science community composed of the UAE’s top researchers from several institutions in the country.


Pioneer of 3D Printing in the UAE


Dr. Rashid Abu Al-Rub is the first to work on advancing 3D printing in the Middle East as a technology at the forefront of the fourth industrial revolution. Currently, he is the Director of the Advanced Digital & Additive Manufacturing (ADAM) research center at Khalifa University. ADAM is the first 3D printing center in the Middle East that focuses on education and R&D in the area of additive manufacturing. 


Dr. Abu Al-Rub’s work is significantly contributing to the UAE strategic vision in making the country one the world’s 3D printing hubs. His research has accelerated the development of advanced 3D printing materials and technologies that has found many applications in different sectors such as aerospace, defense, automotive, healthcare, water, and energy. 


He has developed advanced multi-functional, ultra-lightweight, and ultra-strong 3D printable materials made of plastic, metals, ceramics, and composites called “multi-functional meta-materials” that are digitally designed using elegant mathematics and then 3D printed using plastic, metallic, or ceramic 3D printing technologies. These are very porous lightweight materials with novel properties and functionalities that are driven by the topology of the pores or voids rather than its chemical composition. 


These 3D printable materials have demonstrated superior physical (electrical, thermal, chemical, flow) and mechanical (stiffness, strength, damage-resistance) properties that have not been achieved before by other materials. They have been used, for example, in making lightweight sandwich panels for aircrafts, vibration absorbers for spacecrafts, catalytic support structures for the oil and gas industry, thermal management devices such as heat exchangers and heat sinks, membrane spacers for water technologies, three-dimensional energy storage devices, and scaffolder for bone growth and tissue engineering. In collaboration with the University of Manchester and Professor Kin Liao from the Aerospace Engineering Department, these porous materials have been 3D printed using the well-known wonder-material “graphene,” opening the doors for many technological applications.


Dr. Abu Al-Rub’s work on 3D printing caught the imagination of many UAE and international industries. His work has resulted in industry milestones such as 3D printing the first certified Etihad aircraft component and 3D printing desalination membrane spacers that were considered as one of the most disruptive water technology innovations in 2019 according to Lux Research.


Upon receiving the Golden Visa, Dr. Abu Al-Rub said: “I feel truly honored in receiving the UAE Golden Visa from the UAE government recognizing my contribution to the scientific research in the area of additive manufacturing here in UAE and internationally. This would not have been achieved without the significant support of Khalifa University. 3D printing is at the forefront of the fourth industrial revolution, and being recognized for my national and international efforts for advancing the state-of-the-art of 3D printing is a testimony of the serious commitment of the UAE in accelerating the adoption and use of this emerging technology in various sectors here in the UAE and abroad.” 


Champion of Renewable Energy and Smart Grids


Dr. Mohamed Shawky El Moursi specializes in renewable energy integration and smart grid development. He is also the theme lead of Renewable Energy Integration at the Advanced Power and Energy Center (APEC) at Khalifa University. 


His professional experience is based on a solid and profound expertise on practical system implementation as evidenced by his work with Siemens in PV systems, R&D technological development with leading wind turbine manufacturer Vestas Wind Systems in Denmark, and transmission system planning and operation with Abu Dhabi Transmission and Dispatch Company (TRANSCO). 


In 2012, Dr. El Moursi was a Visiting Professor in the EECS Department at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).  He has received several international and national prestigious awards such as the UAE Mission Innovation Champion in 2019, Faculty Research Excellence Award in 2018, and Expert and Key Employee award in Denmark. Dr. El Moursi has been also conferred the Faculty Award for Excellence in Collaborative Research (Academic Year 2012-2013) and a medal of recognition from the Abu Dhabi Technology Development Committee for Innovation in 2015, among others. He was also selected to join the Engineering Advisory Board of the Mohammed Bin Rashid Scientists Council (UAE) in December 2018. 


In his vast and long experience in the industry, Dr. El Moursi was extensively involved in different industrial projects in North America, Europe, Australia, and the Middle East. These have enriched his profile with a solid track record and contributions in both industrial and academic sectors. His professional expertise has tailored his research interests such that innovative solutions and technologies are proposed and developed to address the practical needs and problems that arise in the industry of renewable energy integration and power grid operation and control. This has resulted in significant international funds for research on electrical power engineering in the UAE. He was able to successfully secure US$7,873,377 worth of internally- and externally-funded research grants from Europe, North America, GCC countries, and South Korea. These projects resulted in remarkable research outcomes and innovations that have been published in top-quality publications (161 papers), as well as two US patents. 


Dr. El Moursi is also an editor for several top-tier IEEE Transactions, a Regional Editor of IET RPG, and appointed as a Guest Editor-in-Chief for a special joint section between IEEE Transactions of Power Systems and IEEE Transactions on Power Delivery. He was elected in 2018 to chair the IEEE PES UAE chapter after serving more than two years as a Vice Chair (2015-2018). Dr. El Moursi has also been a mentor to his students and served as advisor to seven Ph.D. graduates and 22 M.Sc. graduates; many of whom achieved several best thesis and national awards. He has had a great opportunity to empower his students with the required knowledge, skills, and expertise, which enabled them to secure positions in international companies and tier I universities worldwide.


Dr. El Moursi, along with his research team at KU, has designed and developed several in-house experimental prototypes and tools. He and his team have developed a novel Renewable Energy Management System (REMS) Tool that has been financially supported by Elia Grid International in Belgium, which is currently in operation. At implementing a novel Stability Assessment, Visualization and Enhancement (SAVE) Tool for TRANSCO’s network based on novel AI techniques, data analytics, and deep machine learning. This project is financially supported by TRANSCO and Manitoba Hydro International, Canada. 


“I am truly honored and deeply thankful for this valuable recognition of being awarded the 10-year golden residency visa in the UAE. This wouldn’t happen without the great support from the UAE government and Khalifa University since 2011. I also would like to express my sincere thanks to my research team for their outstanding achievements and contributions that resulted in remarkable research outcomes and innovations that have been documented with record of publications in top quality journals and US patents. With Khalifa University’s great support, we have graduated high caliber Ph.D. and M.Sc. students, whereby they received several best thesis and national awards. We have applied the highest standards for developing our research based on well-defined R&D vision and a clear plan for technology development to pave the way for seamless integration of renewable energy systems into smart grids. With this valuable recognition of the 10-year golden residency visa, I’m looking forward to maximizing my efforts and contributions to effectively bridge academia to industry and to advance the UAE R&D agenda to another height of success with global recognition.”


Nanotechnology Expert


Dr. Ammar Nayfeh’s research in the UAE has focused on the development of new nanomaterials and structures for future semiconductor devices including memory, photovoltaics, photodetectors, and transistors. This includes several activities on the growth, modeling and application of these materials in devices. Dr. Nayfeh was instrumental in helping to establish the first state-of-the-art cleanroom laboratory in the UAE at Khalifa University. 


His research has also attracted a significant amount of funding. He has been awarded approximately US$1.2M dollars in external research grants. These grants are from the Office of Naval Research Global, Masdar PV, and Twin Labs. Dr. Nayfeh was also awarded approximately US$3M in internal funding including the Masdar-MIT flagship project on advanced solar and a project on nanomaterials and low temperature germanium growth. 


Dr. Nayfeh has authored and co-authored over 100 publications, many of which are in top-tier journals including, Nature, IOP Nanotechnology, IEEE Journal of Photovoltaics, Applied Physics Letters, and Elsevier Solar Energy to name a few. He has continued to publish his work in top conferences worldwide including IEEE nano, MRS, ECS, and PVSC. He has also contributed two book chapters and penned a book titled “Nanomaterials-based Charge Trapping Memory Devices” with former PhD student Dr. Nazek El-Atab. In addition to publications, he has filed three patents, including one from his research in the UAE. The patent is for a novel solar cell: “METHOD AND DEVICE FOR LOW COST, HIGH EFFICIENCY STEP PHOTOVOLTAIC CELLS PCT/US2017/056335. 


Dr. Nayfeh has also spent time visiting local schools in the UAE to help spark the next-generation of scientists in the country as part of the science in residence initiative of the Mohammed bin Rashid Academy of Scientists (MBRAS). 


More recently, Dr. Nayfeh has put his work in nanotechnology to good use in the fight against COVID-19. The novel study uses silicon nanoparticles to model how droplets that carry the virus spread, and how this spread impacts the effectiveness of masks. The study is in collaboration with Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi and will help healthcare professionals better understand how the virus spreads.  


“I am deeply honored and thankful for being awarded the 10-year golden residency visa in the UAE.   Due to the continued support from the government and Khalifa University in the 10 years since I arrived here, we were able to accomplish a plethora of great achievements, such as setting up the region’s first cleanroom facility and fabricating nanodevices, graduating PhD students, publishing in top-tier journals, writing books, and filing patents in the area of semiconductors, photovoltaics, nanomaterials, and nanodevices. The 10-year golden residency visa system for top scientists highlights the priority the UAE sees in the future of science, technology, research, and higher education. I am extremely humbled to be one of the selected few that are trusted to help reach these goals. I am looking forward to the next 10 years of scientific endeavors and accomplishments and in helping the UAE and Khalifa University rise up the research ranks.”   

Ara Cruz
Creative Writer
12 October 2020


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