Over one hundred and twenty member states of the agency, represented by over 500 delegates accompanied by Masdar Institute students and faculty attended the special reception hosted by President of Masdar Institute, Dr. Fred Moavenzadeh.
The special guests comprised of Ministers, Heads of Directorates and departments in ministries, policy experts and technical experts on renewable energy, gained a unique insight into the new campus facility, sharing in the experiences of the city’s first residents, the students of Masdar Institute.
The incoming Interim Director General of IRENA Mr. Adnan Amine welcomed the indispensable contribution that the Masdar Institute could play in supporting the mission of IRENA and stressed the need to develop knowledge and technical capability on renewable energy technology for capacity building; particularly in developing countries.
He said: “The innovative thinking that lies at the heart of the Masdar Initiative attests to the increased relevance that renewable energy, in the context of climate change and current development, needs and it will serve as a model for others.”
Speaking on the significance of the event Dr. Fred Moavenzadeh said “The UAE, through the foresight and commitment of its visionary leadership, has quickly become the destination and platform to discuss and debate the challenges and opportunities of clean energy and climate change. Welcoming representatives of IRENA to the new campus of Masdar Institute within Masdar city marks a defining and proud occasion for the UAE”.
Masdar Institute is currently in the process of finalizing a Memorandum of Understanding with the Agency which will award twenty scholarships to qualified students nominated by IRENA from around the world. IRENA will also benefit from the total human capacity of the Institute and have access to Masdar Institute research facilities.
“The research facility is a remarkable feat of engineering that truly pushes the boundaries of sustainable living. Yet it is more than a building. The campus is a physical demonstration of what can be achieved, symbolizing the progress and continued commitment of the UAE in response to the world’s energy challenges”, commented Dr. Fred Moavenzadeh.
Welcoming the attendees, Dr. Fred Moavenzadeh emphasized the importance of the Institute in developing human capacity and ensuring future energy sustainability saying “The Masdar Institute campus provides a world-class research and education environment but it’s most impressive feature is undoubtedly the quality of people studying and living within it. In a short space of time a living, vibrant and creative research community has been created in Abu Dhabi.
“Both organizations recognize that challenges of climate change and energy security require a dedicated response from the brightest and best minds, working in collaboration. With this shared vision, I am confident that the world-class faculty and students of Masdar Institute will make a significant contribution to IRENA, through research expertise and fostering talented individuals to support its mandate.”
The reception comes at an exciting time for Masdar Institute of Science and Technology, the Middle East’s first graduate research institution dedicated to alternative energy and environmental technologies, developed in cooperation with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).
In recent weeks students have moved into the ‘living lab’ environment of the new campus facility and an expanded academic program including an enriching Foundation Program, seven Master’s of Science programs and an interdisciplinary PhD program has commenced.
The increased academic program has also seen a further 20 new faculty appointments with PhDs from internationally renowned universities such as MIT, Stanford, University of California – Berkeley, University of Michigan, Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology and University of Waterloo. This brings the total number of faculty teaching and conducting cutting-edge research at Masdar Institute to over 40 from 20 different countries. The total student population is close to 170, 40 percent female from 32 countries.
With a unique focus on the integration of technology, policy and systems, the faculty, students and researchers of Masdar Institute are involved in over 30 research projects tackling important subjects including solar energy, energy efficiency, carbon sequestration, smart grids, waste to energy and water.