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Abdullah chairs board meeting of Masdar Institute

(Wam) / 22 November 2011

ABU DHABI - Minister of Foreign Affairs Shaikh Abdullah Bin Zayed Al Nahyan chaired on Monday the annual meeting of the Board of Trustees of Masdar Institute of Science and Technology (MIST), an independent, research-driven graduate-level university focused on advanced energy and sustainable technologies The meeting reviewed the achievements of MIST over the past year and considered its strategic and academic plan for 2012.

His Highness General Shaikh Mohammed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, is the Chairman of the Board of Trustees of Masdar Institute, while HRH Prince Charles, Prince of Wales is the patron of Masdar Institute.

Over the past year, Masdar Institute has continued to consolidate its status as a world class institution and a source of innovation and human capital. In June 2011, the first batch of 71 post-graduate students received their Master’s degrees from Shaikh Hazza bin Zayed Al Nahyan, National Security Adviser and Vice-Chairman of Abu Dhabi Executive Council, and His Excellency Shaikh Nahyan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, the UAE Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research.

During the year, Masdar Institute placed significant emphasis on education and research programs that are relevant to Abu Dhabi’s requirements in clean energy, sustainable technology and climate change. The driving force behind Masdar Institute’s research is its strategic relevance and benefit to the Abu Dhabi government and the industry.

By focusing on projects that address specific needs of government agencies and industry, Masdar Institute is making a direct contribution to the economic development of the region. With its research focus, Masdar Institute engages with local institutions such as Emirates Aluminium (EMAL), Abu Dhabi Company for Onshore Oil Operations (ADCO) as well as other Abu Dhabi Government organizations, through a number of mechanisms that have helped to increase its visibility and promote its research acumen. Research work is also under progress in collaboration with multinationals such as Boeing, Honeywell UOP, and Siemens.

Masdar Institute also launched the Master of Science program in Chemical Engineering, received accreditation for two additional Master’s programs (Electrical Power Engineering and Microsystems Engineering), recruited more than 20 faculty members and effected curricula changes to enhance the educational experience of the students.

In its formative first five years, Masdar Institute has succeeded in attracting outstanding faculty and students, building a state-of-the art campus and laboratories, and launching many collaborative research projects of relevance to the Institute’s mission and to the government of Abu Dhabi as articulated in its Vision 2030 Plan.

Dr. Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber said: “The first-ever graduation ceremony marked another key academic milestone for Masdar Institute. Integrating education, research and scholarly activities, Masdar Institute prepares students to become innovators, creative scientists, researchers and critical thinkers in the areas of technology development, systems integration and policy. It also serves as a source of innovation and human capital to all the other units of Masdar.

“The Board of Trustees members will continue to provide guidance and support as Masdar Institute progresses towards further success in the coming years, contributing to make Abu Dhabi a knowledge-based economy while demonstrating its status as one of the key pillars of the Vision 2030 program. We remain grateful to the country’s wise leadership for their consistent patronage and their vision that continues to steer us towards achieving future milestones.”

Presenting the Masdar Institute annual report to the Board of Trustees, Dr. Fred Moavenzadeh said: “A total of 240 students have been registered across all the eight different programs at present. From the total number of students, 71 are UAE nationals, representing a substantial increase in Emirati enrolment. The number also reflects a significant achievement compared to 10 UAE nationals for the 2009 intake and 29 for 2010.”

The Board of Trustees members commended the progress and accomplishments achieved by Masdar Institute, while appreciating the substantial increase in the number of UAE national students enrolled across all the programs. They urged the Masdar Institute management team to further develop long-term relationships with local government institutions as well as indigenous and international private sector companies.

In addition, the Board of Trustees members asked Masdar Institute to encourage other academic institutions to work with the research-driven institution and emphasized the importance of engaging the youth in the field of advanced energy and sustainability.

By the commencement of the 2011-2012 academic year, the total number of faculty members across the eight programs, including the new Chemical Engineering program, has reached 63. Women represent 11% of the faculty body. Currently, representing 27 countries, the faculty members are the alumni of some of the globally renowned universities including the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Harvard, Stanford, Cornell, Berkley, CalTech, Oxford and Cambridge among others.

During the year, Dr Joseph L. Cecchi, an acclaimed academician and an authority in the field of semiconductor engineering, was named the Provost of Masdar Institute. Holder of a Bachelor’s degree in physics from Knox College, Dr. Cecchi received his Master’s and doctorate in Physics from Harvard University. He also has an MBA from the University of New Mexico.

The Masdar Institute President also shared with the Board of Trustees that the number of awarded research projects during the year has touched 110 and they cover areas including water, environment and health, future energy systems, microsystems and advanced materials, and other ancillary fields. Masdar Institute has developed a research platform that explicitly recognizes the need for a multidisciplinary approach by promoting work in and across the domains of technology, systems and policy.

Dr. Moavenzadeh pointed out that Masdar Institute’s collaboration with MIT continues in education, research and innovation in sustainability, advanced energy and microsystems. In addition to being a founder partner of MIT Energy Initiative (MITEI), Masdar Institute also partners with MIT for the Technology Development Program (TDP), Earth and Planetary Sciences (EAPS) and Microsystems Technology Lab (MTL). Additionally, MIT supports students of the UAE National Foundation Program as well as members of the Young Future Energy Leaders (YFEL) through a practical experience program that blends theory with visits to local start-ups in Boston.

A new funding opportunity called the Masdar-MITEI Seed Fund Program has been recently launched to support early stage energy research projects in areas of joint interest to the Masdar Institute and MIT. Four full proposals were submitted in February and March 2011 and two of these have been selected with funding provided to the MIT side through the MITEI agreement and to Masdar Institute side from the Institute’s provision.

In YFEL 2011, a total of 150 students and young professionals participated. These included 60 UAE National students from key universities, as well as 20 young professionals from companies such as Etihad Airways, ADNOC, ADWEA, Emirates Foundation and Mubadala. The program has also increased international participation, inviting students from universities such as Harvard, MIT, Duke, and Hong Kong University of Science and Technology.

Masdar Institute also offers work placement internships in collaboration with local universities to provide hands-on professional experience and practical insight into the workplace ahead of graduation.

The Distinguished Lecturer Series initiated by Masdar Institute has been a great success. Leaders from government, industry and academia have come to Masdar Institute to share their views with the Institute’s faculty and students.

Details of several other partnerships with leaders in key energy, transportation and technology sectors are currently being worked out, added Dr. Moavenzadeh.

In October, Masdar Institute hosted 12 educational and research organizations for an Institutional Membership meeting of the EU-GCC Clean Energy Network in Abu Dhabi. Masdar Institute is the lead institution representing the GCC in the EU-GCC Clean Energy Network, which aims to advance the common interest between the EU and the GCC regions for strategic energy cooperation. Masdar Institute is working with its partner institution in the EU, the National Technical University of Athens, to create, operate, promote and disseminate information and proposals on sustainable strategies of the Clean Energy Network.

Dr. Moavenzadeh concluded: “Through its academic and outreach programs as well as pioneering research initiatives, Masdar Institute aims to contribute to the UAE’s efforts towards becoming an important player in the world of science, engineering and technology. As the scope of our activities in clean, advanced energy and sustainable technologies continues to expand, Masdar Institute will effectively explore further collaborations with industry and government bodies to foster a diversified knowledge-based economy in Abu Dhabi and the UAE.”

The centerpiece of Masdar City, one of the most sustainable cities in the world, Masdar Institute provides students an unparalleled opportunity in the entire spectrum of research, from theory to applied research to commercialization in a single location. With its best-in-class amenities for research and development in clean technologies, it aims to help drive economic diversification through human capital and technological innovation.

The Board of Trustees includes HH Shaikh Diab bin Zayed Al Nahyan; HH Shaikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, UAE Minister of Foreign Affairs; Shaikh Nahyan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, UAE Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research; Mohammed Ahmed Al Bawardi, Secretary-General of the Abu Dhabi Executive Council; Khaldoon Khalifa Al Mubarak, Chairman of the Executive Affairs Authority and CEO of the Mubadala Development Company; Ahmed Al Sayegh, Chairman of Masdar; Abdulla Nasser Al Suwaidi, Deputy CEO of Abu Dhabi National Oil Company; Dr. Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber, CEO of Masdar and Chairman of the Executive Committee of the Board of Trustees of Masdar Institute; Dr. Adnan Badran, President of Petra University, former Prime Minister and Education Minister of Jordan and Deputy Director-General of UNESCO; Dr Rafael Reif, Provost, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT); and Dr. Fred Moavenzadeh, President of Masdar Institute.

 
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