Masdar Institute PhD Student among 43 Medal of Top Emirati Award Recipients

September 21, 2018

Abu Dhabi-UAE: 8 December, 2014 – Masdar Institute of Science and Technology, an independent, research-driven graduate-level university focused on advanced energy and sustainable technologies, today announced that its PhD student, Ahmed Al Harethi, became one of the proud recipients of the Medal of Top Emiratis on the occasion of UAE National Day.

His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE, and Ruler of Dubai, presented the award to Al Harethi and 42 other top Emirati achievers in the fields of education, research, health, economy, military, and sports, as part of the 43rd UAE National Day celebrations.

The Masdar Institute student was nominated for the distinguished innovators, inventors and achievers award by Masdar Institute and the Abu Dhabi Government Technology Development Committee Takamul Program for his academic and research achievements.

Dr. Fred Moavenzadeh, President, Masdar Institute, said: “This UAE National Day honor for Masdar Institute’s Ahmed Al Harethi is a testimony to the research and innovation calibre of our students and faculty members, as well as the continuing support Masdar Institute receives from the UAE leadership in its efforts to develop the UAE’s human and intellectual capital. We congratulate Al Harethi and all the faculty members who guided him in his research work and believe this honor will help motivate more students to pursue meaningful sustainable research.”

Over 137,000 applications were submitted for the Medal of Top Emirati prizes, out of which 43 were selected in honor of the 43rd UAE National Day. Al Harethi and the other recipients will have their names archived with their achievements in the UAE Government Year Book.

Al Harethi was honoured for being “the first Emirati to invent a mechanism for generation of biofuels with industrial quantities using genetically-modified algae”, which relates to his ongoing doctorate research at Masdar Institute.

Al Harethi said: “I believe that algae hold a great potential for the UAE. It is the only biomass that we can mass produce in the UAE without fresh water or arable lands. It has applications that have direct relevance to the challenges of water, food, and energy security. I hope that this award will attract more students and researchers to our field and lab.”

He added: “I would like to thank the UAE leadership, Masdar Institute and its senior management, who enabled me to transition from a regular engineer into a researcher. I am especially grateful for the important role played by my advisor Dr. Hector Hernandez. He welcomed me to his laboratory as a student and as a friend, gave me the confidence to think and act as a scientist, inspired me to think outside the box, worked hard to provide us with new opportunities, and supported every decision that I have made.”

Al Harethi is one of 491 students currently pursuing studies at Masdar Institute, of which nearly half, like him, are UAE nationals. Masdar Institute’s mission is to position Abu Dhabi as a knowledge hub and engine for socioeconomic growth, and as such, its research-focused degree programs in clean energy and advanced technologies aim to produce the innovative human and intellectual capital required for the UAE’s high-tech competitive knowledge economy. 

The research-based institution currently has four registered US patents, 42 patent applications pending and 69 invention disclosures. Its faculty, post-docs and students have published over 500 papers in peer-reviewed journals and participated in over 380 conference proceedings. They have also published four book chapters and two full books.