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Masdar Institute’s iSmart and Regional Stakeholders Join European Commission to Launch Horizon 2020 Initiative in Abu Dhabi

Abu Dhabi-UAE: 01 October, 2014 – Masdar Institute of Science and Technology, an independent, research-driven graduate-level university focused on advanced energy and sustainable technologies, today announced the Institute Center for Smart and Sustainable Systems (iSmart) will join the EU-funded international research and innovation cooperation project INCONET-GCC-2 to host a conference on smart cities and launch the Horizon 2020 program.

Titled ‘Smart Cities for Sustainable Development: European and GCC Perspectives & Horizon 2020’, the conference will be held from 14-15 October in Abu Dhabi. The first day of the event will focus on smart cities and sustainable urban development including a visit to Masdar City and Masdar Institute to view the smart features and sustainable architectural elements. The second day will witness the launch of Horizon 2020 in the UAE. Global leaders in the smart infrastructure, city planning and sustainability fields are expected to attend the event.

The inter-regional collaboration comes under Inconet-GCC2 – a network of 20 partner organizations from all over Europe and Arab Gulf countries, working together on strengthening bi-regional cooperation on research and innovation. It has a duration of three years (2014-2017) and is sponsored by the European Commission’s Directorate General for Research and Innovation. Horizon 2020 is the biggest-ever EU Research and Innovation program with nearly €80 billion (more than AED380 billion) of funding available over seven years (2014 to 2020) – in addition to private investment. It promises more breakthroughs, discoveries and world-firsts by taking great ideas from the lab to the market.

Dr. Fred Moavenzadeh, President, Masdar Institute, said: “The region’s leading research-based institution is privileged to partner with other stakeholders to lay greater emphasis on smart infrastructure and sustainable development. With the support of the UAE leadership, we have effectively raised our profile through hosting global and inter-regional conferences such as the Inconet-GCC2 for the Horizon 2020 initiative. We believe the conference will immensely help raise awareness on smart infrastructure, leading to the arrival of innovative new green solutions.”

Faculty from Masdar Institute will join the government, non-government and private sector stakeholders in leading regional participation in the event. Dr. Mohammed Atif Omar, Head of iSmart, and Associate Professor, Engineering Systems and Management, Dr. Hatem Zeinaldin, Masdar Institute, Smart Grid Specialist, and Dr. Khaled Al Awadi, Urban Planning Specialist, and Assistant Professor-Engineering Systems and Management, will each lead panel discussions on smart cities’ current achievements, ‘infrastructure’, as well as ‘city planning and resource management’.

Paula Hirst, Advisor to the World Cities Network, Dr. Thanasis Korakis, Lecturer at the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering in the University of Thessaly, Greece, and Muir Livingstone, who worked on Masdar City master plan, as well as Colette Maloney, Head of the Unit Smart Cities and Sustainability unit at the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Communications Networks, Content, and Technology, will participate in the event.

Various stakeholders will discuss challenges to strengthening EU-GCC cooperation on research and innovation, while a special open discussion session will hear views from diverse participants.

The ‘Smart Cities for Sustainable Development: European and GCC Perspectives & Horizon 2020’, seeks to highlight the challenges linked to urban development and the significance of adopting and promoting a coherent plan for tackling those challenges. At the same time it also aims to promote the ‘Smart Cities’ model and the related technologies and solutions linked to it with a particular focus to energy and environment.

Additionally, the conference will promote the dialogue among international key institutions and experts focusing on smart cities, to identify common areas for cooperation and promote action plans. Moreover, it will highlight various funding opportunities available for the promotion and development of the ‘smart cities’ model, the related technologies and the cooperation paths through EU’s Horizon 2020 Program as well as other national GCC programs and initiative.

Under the Horizon 2020 initiative, several regional projects are being implemented at present. In June this year, the Dasman Diabetes Institute (DDI) in Kuwait City hosted a series of workshops. The events were designed to present opportunities for EU and the Arab Gulf Countries to cooperate in the field of diabetes, by taking advantage of the European Commission research and innovation program Horizon 2020 (H2020).

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