Under the Patronage of His Highness General Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan Masdar Institute Hosts 7th Commencement for Class of 2017

September 21, 2018

Under the patronage of His Highness General Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, His Highness Sheikh Hamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Chief of the Abu Dhabi Crown Prince’s Court, and His Highness Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, Minister of Culture and Knowledge Development, today attended the graduation ceremony of the Masdar Institute Class of 2017.

His Highness Sheikh Hamed congratulated the graduates and wished them success in the future and urged them to strive further to continue learning and developing their capabilities and skills, contributing to the development of their countries. He also urged them to promote renewable energy technology, as an enabler of future development and progress.

His Highness Sheikh Hamed presented the PhD and Master’s degrees to graduates. His Excellency Dr Thani bin Ahmed Al Zeyoudi, Minister of Climate Change and Environment, His Excellency Dr Sultan Al Jaber, Minister of State, His Excellency Dr. Ahmad Belhoul Al Falasi, Minister of State for Higher Education, Her Excellency Shamma bint Suhail bin Faris Al Mazrui, Minister of State for Youth Affairs, were also present at the ceremony. Former United States Secretary of Energy Dr. Ernest Moniz, Professor Emeritus and Special Advisor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), delivered the keynote address at the seventh Masdar Institute commencement. Masdar Institute is part of Khalifa University of Science and Technology.

Also present on the occasion were dignitaries, ministers, ambassadors, government officials, and CEOs of private and government sector organizations, members of the Khalifa University of Science and Technology Board of Trustees, and families and guests of graduating students.

Masdar Institute’s seventh commencement ceremony is significant not only because it marks the 10th year since the Institute’s inception, but also the first batch of students will be graduating from the Master’s Concentration in Space Systems and Technology. As of this year, Masdar Institute is now part of Khalifa University of Science and Technology, following a strategic merger that is expected to contribute to the advancement of the knowledge economy in the UAE.

In his keynote address, Dr. Ernest Moniz, commended the graduates, saying: “The science and technology skills you have learned at Masdar Institute will continue to be crucial for supporting society’s progress – not just through developing new technologies and discovering interesting facts, but also by driving economic growth, transforming communities and laying the foundation for sustainable progress. I encourage you to continue to think critically and use those skills in energy, advanced materials, water, and space systems, to lead society forward throughout your career, wherever it may take you. Congratulations to the Class of 2017 graduates and congratulations to Masdar Institute on your first decade of ‘Learning to Change the World.”

The Masdar Institute Class of 2017 Master’s and PhD graduates totaled more than 100, including 47 UAE nationals and 75 international graduates from 30 countries. The graduates received degrees in the specialized Master’s programs in Engineering Systems and Management, Computing and Information Science, Materials Science and Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, Water and Environmental Engineering, Microsystems Engineering, Electrical Power Engineering, Chemical Engineering, and Sustainable Critical Infrastructure. The Class of 2017 also included a large number of graduates from the PhD in Interdisciplinary Engineering program, as well as the first graduates from the concentration in Space Systems and Technology, which relates to seven of MI’s nine Master’s programs.

Dr. Behjat Al Yousuf, Interim Provost, Masdar Institute, said: “The 2017 Commencement is special as it marks the 10th anniversary of the inception of Masdar Institute. The first set of Master’s graduates from the Concentration in Space Systems and Technology makes this event even more significant this year, in which three academic institutions have come together under Khalifa University of Science and Technology. Congratulations to all the graduating students who we believe will make their mark in their professional lives, implementing the green and sustainable practices they have learnt at Masdar Institute.”

Masdar Institute currently has more than 580 alumni, over 90% of which are either employed or pursuing PhD programs locally and internationally. The total number of enrolled students in September 2016 at Masdar Institute was 456, with 52% of them UAE nationals. Female students represent 51% of the total student headcount, and 68% of all Emirati students. Currently a total of 149 PhD students are enrolled at Masdar Institute of which 26% are UAE nationals.


As of January 2017 Masdar Institute had achieved 14 US patents, filed more than 100 US patent applications, and received over 140 invention disclosures from faculty and students, firmly establishing its status as a leading research-based academic institution in intellectual capital development in the UAE. It had also published more than 1,200 articles in peer-reviewed journals, 700-plus conference papers, and 27 book chapters.

Some of the other achievements and recognitions during the year include the Mohammed bin Rashid Global Water Award 2017 to Dr. Peter Armstrong, Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering, for his inexpensive device for water desalination, and the 10th edition of the ‘Khalifa Award for Education’s (2017) ‘Distinguished University Professor in the Field of Scientific Research’ in the ‘Higher Education within the UAE and the Arab World’ category for Dr. Hassan Arafat, Professor of Chemical and Environmental Engineering.

Masdar Institute Research Scientist Dr. Imen Gherboudj was also recognized for her scientific excellence this year when she was awarded the Middle East Solar Industry Association’s (MESIA) Woman of the Year Award 2017, for her research on dust, soil moisture, and solar irradiance using satellite remote sensing.

The Class of 2017 includes a number of internationally-recognized future innovators, including PhD student Nazek El-Atab, who won the 2017 L’Oréal-UNESCO For Women in Science (FWIS) Rising Talent Award for the African and Arab region. Fellow Class of 2017 PhD student Ahmad Alozn recently achieved the distinction of being the only Masdar Institute PhD student to ever have taught a for-credit course at MIT. Alozn’s role in MIT reflects a key accomplishment of the Masdar Institute-MIT partnership, which aims to cultivate high-caliber human capital in both institutes through the sharing and exchange of research and ideas.

Another prominent Class of 2017 graduate is Fedeyya Al Mansoori, an MSc student in Computing and Information Sciences, with a concentration in Space Systems and Technology, who won the YahSat Innovation Award – Fekrati – for her project on a mission data platform that allows satellites and spacecraft to use previously-collected data along with new data collected during orbit to produce an accurate real-time simulation of the space environment.

These and other achievements in science and innovation helped place Masdar Institute at the top of the Nature Index 2016 rankings, where Masdar Institute was ranked the top academic institution in the UAE and 20th in the Middle East & West Asia region. The Institute also ranked 8th out of the top 25 institutions in the Middle East & West Asia in the Nature Index 2016 Rising Stars list, which includes institutions showing the most significant growth in high-quality research publications.

Other noteworthy research-related initiatives in 2017 include the launch of the Yahsat Space Laboratory at Masdar Institute, which aims to develop and advance technologies within the space sector and to make continuing strides toward the UAE’s advanced space ambitions. The lab is a collaboration with Al Yahsat Satellite Communications Company (Yahsat), and Orbital ATK.

This year Masdar Institute also signed a research collaboration agreement with Thales and MINES ParisTech to develop environmental and energy applications for an innovative new part satellite and part drone technology called Stratobus. It also partnered with leading global information and communications technology solutions provider Huawei to develop applications for increased health, productivity and sustainability in cities.

Masdar Institute entered into another research collaboration agreement with the Korea University aims to develop energy-efficient desalination technologies, with Masdar and the Korea Agency for Infrastructure Technology Advancement (KAIA) acting as co-signers. The Institute also embarked upon a collaboration with the UAE Ministry of Energy and SKM Air Conditioning to develop energy-efficient GCC-friendly chillers, while it also launched phase two of its air quality monitoring collaboration with the Ministry of Climate Change and Environment, which has a goal of establishing a UAE-wide standard for air quality model.

Masdar Institute secured US$80 million in industry and government sponsored research contracts with more than 50 organizations in the UAE and worldwide.

Clarence Michael
News Writer
17 May 2017