Abu Dhabi-UAE: 20 January, 2014 –Masdar Institute of Science and Technology an independent, research-driven graduate-level university focused on advanced energy and sustainable technologies, and the International Center for Biosaline Agriculture (ICBA) today jointly announced that they will partner with each other to deliver agricultural and water scarcity solutions in marginal environments.
Masdar Institute and ICBA have agreed to lay the foundation for further cooperation on ways to develop greater understanding of the water, agricultural production and climates of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries and the wider Middle East North Africa region, as well as conduct research and educate professionals in this field.
The announcement was made during the World Future Energy Summit 2014 that is being organized from 20-22 January in Abu Dhabi 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.
Dr. Ismahane A. Elouafi, Director General, International Center for Biosaline Agriculture, and Dr. Fred Moavenzadeh, President, Masdar Institute, signed an agreement during the seventh edition of the World Future Energy Summit (WFES).
Dr. Fred Moavenzadeh said: “The agreement with the International Center for Biosaline Agriculture will help the UAE by creating a unique expertise in the fields of climate, water and agriculture in arid regions. Supported by the leadership, the UAE can then lead the region in the development of agricultural and water management techniques that are adapted to arid regions. The two research-based entities will also help Abu Dhabi to develop human capacity in this area through the training of students and researchers.”
Dr. Ismahane Elouafi said: “We are already collaborating with Masdar Institute on research projects and project ideas and the current agreement will further consolidate our technological cooperation. ICBA has strength in the biological sciences, which balances nicely with the research done by the Masdar Institute, making this a good partnership based on mutual complementarities. As a not-for-profit international center of excellence for research and development in marginal environments, we will continue to partner with key research-focused institutions. We look forward to this initiative helping us to contribute towards finding water-related solutions in arid regions.”
The current agreement will cover areas such as climate, water and agricultural modeling, monitoring and analysis. It will include developing research initiatives in key areas of common interest and seeking joint sources of funding in order to fund research activities. It will also include holding training and qualifying courses as well as workshops and regular meetings between technical and scientific experts from both parties in the areas of assessing, modeling and managing water, agriculture and climate; conduct joint experiments and research studies on water, agriculture and climate monitoring and modeling using the latest concepts and techniques. Additionally, the agreement will aim to explore and engage in events relevant to the joint research activities and efforts, and share expertise in monitoring and modeling water, agriculture and climate, as well as hold joint workshops and conferences.
The International Center for Biosaline Agriculture is already involved in research activities with Masdar Institute. As a specific example, Dr. Taha Ouarda, Head of Masdar Institute’s Center for Water and Environment and Professor of Water & Environmental Engineering, has been collaborating with researchers from ICBA for the past two years on research activities related to the use of gels and water retainers in the soil to reduce the amount of water used in agriculture and increase the yield by reducing the water stress on plants. Professor Ouarda has been using the facilities at the International Center for Biosaline Agriculture for joint research efforts in this field.
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 on-going 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.