Under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces and Chairman of the Board of Trustees of Masdar Institute, H.H. Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Foreign Minister; Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, Minister of Culture, Youth and Community Development; and others, yesterday attended the graduation ceremony of the Masdar Institute of Science and Technology Class of 2015.
Saqr bin Ghobash Saeed Ghobash, Minister of Labour , Dr. Sultan bin Ahmed Sultan Al Jaber, Minister of State and Chairman of Masdar, and Chairman of the Masdar Institute Board of Trustees Executive Committee; Khaldoon Khalifa Al Mubarak, Chairman of Abu Dhabi Executive Affairs Authority, Member of Abu Dhabi Executive Council, and CEO of Mubadala Development Company; Dr. Mugheer Khamis Al Khaili, Chairman of Health Authority Abu Dhabi (HAAD); Saeed Eid Al Ghafli, Chairman of the Department of Municipal Affairs, Abu Dhabi; Abdulla Nasser Al-Suwaidi, ADNOC Director General; and other dignitaries also attended the ceremony.
Sheikh Abdullah awarded graduation certificates to the first two Masdar Institute PhD graduates in Interdisciplinary Engineering and more than 100 Masdar Institute Master of Science graduates. The commencement, which was Masdar Institute's fifth, was held at the Emirates Palace Hotel, Abu Dhabi.
In his keynote speech, Sheikh Abdullah said that Masdar Institute's Class of 2015 commencement was a testament to the efforts being undertaken to achieve the country's National Innovation Strategy goals, which require high-value human capital to advance the key high-tech sectors targeted in the strategy.
Sheikh Abdullah said, "As a member of Masdar Institute's Board of Trustees, I have witnessed the results of its commitment to laying the foundation for the UAE's global technology leadership. Its faculty, students and researchers have produced six full patents, with dozens more in the pipeline. Its research has appeared in hundreds of papers published by leading scientific journals. Its name has been illuminated through numerous awards, including a Medal of Top Emiratis for one pioneering student researcher But the greatest proof of Masdar Institute's value to the UAE's economic vision isn't its remarkable facilities or labs. It is you, the graduates, the Masdar Institute Class of 2015."
He thanked President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan and Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, for leading the country towards such a future full of innovation and prosperity.
He also thanked Sheikh Mohamed for his tireless efforts to support and develop that future.
The Masdar Institute Class of 2015 included 22 UAE nationals and 84 international graduates from 36 countries. The graduates received degrees in Masdar Institute's specialised programs developed in response to the UAE's strategic and economic goals – Engineering Systems and Management, Computing and Information Science, Materials Science and Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, Water and Environmental Engineering, Microsystems Engineering, Electrical Power Engineering, and Chemical Engineering.
Dr. Sultan Al Jaber said, "Masdar Institute has been playing a critical role in the UAE's knowledge-economy transformation since it was established in 2007. Following the announcement by the UAE leadership of the National Innovation Strategy, Masdar Institute has strengthened its focus on supporting the innovative capacity of the UAE in key economic sectors.
"With this fifth commencement taking place in the UAE's Year of Innovation, Masdar Institute is making a sizeable contribution to those sectors and the country's overall innovation ecosystem, providing the highly-skilled engineering graduates who will drive the country's targeted high-tech industries," he added.
Speaking at the commencement, Dr. Behjat Al Yousuf, Interim Provost, Masdar Institute, said: "With every passing graduation, our alumni have somehow managed to improve upon the last. Each year, we seem to attract more and more talented young men and women; young men and women who are willing to meet our strict academic requirements; who recognise the value and importance of our mission and want to learn how to change the world. They inspire me and give me hope that the world can achieve its necessary sustainability goals."
Within a few years since inception, Masdar Institute has built a reputation as a leader in locally relevant and world-class research innovation by nurturing talented faculty and students, equipping them with the resources they need and connecting them with academia, government and private sector research partners.
Masdar Institute's notable research outcomes have helped it secure the number one ranking in university research citation impact category for the Arab region in the 2015 US News and World Report rankings.
A number of Masdar Institute's Class of 2015 graduates have concluded their research thesis on issues of strategic relevance and economic value to the UAE. These areas include clean energy, advanced technology, and water-related technologies. In 2015 alone, faculty and students have more than doubled Masdar Institute's issued US patents to six and those in the pipeline now include 54 pending patent applications and 96 invention disclosures, thus firmly establishing their place as leaders in the development of intellectual capital.
The ceremony also highlighted the commencement of Masdar Institute's PhD graduates in Interdisciplinary Engineering program.
UAE national Faisal Al Marzooqi was the first Masdar Institute PhD student cleared to graduate after successfully defending his dissertation focused on a novel desalination membrane that he developed. A technology patent resulting from Al Marzooqi‘s thesis is now pending with the US Patents Office. Another UAE national PhD student Aamena Ali Alshamsi's thesis covers some of the highly technical aspects of ‘Big Data' and explores the possibilities of using social media and mobile phones to understand what makes society happy. The findings could be used to provide real-time analytics about individuals and collectives for timely intervention by decision-makers. They could also be leveraged to build productive teams and design informed strategies to achieve desirable goals in many aspects, including sustainability.
The Class of 2015 graduates are expected to apply the knowledge and expertise gained during their Masdar Institute studies to advancing technology, research, government, academia and entrepreneurship, here in the UAE and abroad. Masdar Institute has successfully facilitated placement of 96 per cent of its previous graduating class who now serve as innovation leaders at organisations and institutions including Microsoft, GE, YahSat, Mubadala, Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA), Siemens, and the Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation (ENEC).
Some are also currently with leading universities including the University of California-Los Angeles (UCLA), MIT, NYU, UC Berkeley, UT Austin, and Imperial College, London, as faculty or PhD students.
Masdar Institute held its first graduation ceremony in June 2011, where more than 70 students graduated. With the fifth commencement now, the total number of Masdar Institute graduates has crossed the 400 mark.
During the 2014-2015 academic, year Masdar Institute received approval for its ninth Master's programme from the Commission for Academic Accreditation of the Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research.
The Sustainable Critical Infrastructure programme, launched in Fall 2014, offers learning in integrated sustainable infrastructure planning and development, with an initial focus on urban operations planning and transportation systems.
The 2014-2015 academic year was also marked by several notable achievements. Masdar Institute's PhD student Ahmed Al Harethi was honoured with the Medal of Top Emiratis on the occasion of 43rd UAE National Day by Vice President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum.
Al Harethi became "the first Emirati to invent a mechanism for generation of bio fuels with industrial quantities using genetically-modified algae," which relates to his ongoing doctoral research.
In the US News & World Report's inaugural ‘Best Arab Region Universities' listing 91 institutions across 16 countries, Masdar Institute was also ranked second in the ‘percentage of total publications in top 10 percent' category, third in the ‘percentage of total publications in top 25 percent' category and ranked 6th in the ‘energy' subject area.
The UAE became the first country in the region to develop its own publicly available wind atlas when Masdar Institute's Research Centre for Renewable Energy Mapping and Assessment, ReCREMA, launched the UAE Wind Atlas. ReCREMA also released ‘UAE LiveSolar,' a mobile application that allows users to access solar resource information for their location in near real-time through their GPS-enabled smartphones using the unique satellite-based solar mapping algorithm developed at Masdar Institute.
A memorandum of understanding, MoU, signed with the Korea Basic Science Institute, KBSI, to collaborate on research in the field of energy storage devices and nano-materials. The two institutions agreed to drive innovations and organise joint knowledge sharing sessions, joint studies, research projects and training activities, to bring technical expertise and human capital to the UAE and the region.
Masdar Institute also signed a collaboration agreement with NEST AS to build a thermal energy storage, TES, pilot at the ‘Beam Down' facility in Masdar City. The Norwegian company specialises in developing large-scale TES technology.
Last year also saw the announcement for four grants under the Masdar Institute and MIT Innovation programme, MMIP, to fund research projects run jointly by faculty members at both institutions. The MMIP is focused on achieving commercial applications from research performed across various iCentres. On the human capital front, two Masdar Institute students were awarded the inaugural two-year BP Innovation merit scholarships to encourage pre-graduation start-ups.
Other key developments include the Institute Centre for Energy's , iEnergy, launch of a new global partnership in waste management during the fourth Global Green Growth Forum (3GF2014) in Copenhagen, the launch the Horizon 2020 programme by European Commission and regional stakeholders with the Institute Centre for Smart and Sustainable Systems' iSmart, the biggest gathering of international microscopy experts for a seminar and symposium, the Masdar Institute-MIT Research and Innovation Conference 2015 hosted by the Institute Centre for Innovation and Entrepreneurship, iInnovation, the Statistics in Hydrology, STAHY, 2014 workshop organised by Institute Centre for Water and Environment, iWater, and the contribution of Institute Centre for Microsystems, iMicro, for the successful deployment of a pilot programme for a cloud-based semiconductor design workflow in the UAE.
RTA completed projects worth Dh80 billion since 2005
Mattar Al Tayer, Director General and Chairman of the Board of Executive Directors of the Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) , has disclosed that RTA's expenditure on infrastructure projects since established in November 2005 has reached about Dh 80 billion, and its assets amounted to more than 85 billion dirham.
Al Tayer made these remarks during the launch of Projects Management Development Programme (Projects) organised by the RTA in collaboration with the Project Management Institute (PMI) in a periodic meeting with the Executive Directors, Directors and Managers at the RTA .
The giant projects undertaken by the RTA contributing to ranking the UAE at the top of all countries of the world in terms of the quality of roads in 2012 and 2013 according to the Global Competitiveness Report published by the World Economic Forum. These projects also contributed to improving the quality of life of residents where Dubai was clinched the first position in the quality of living in the MENA region in 2014. Thus RTA's projects have had a positive bearing on the economy of Dubai Emirate, with savings in time and fuel exceeding 87 billion dirham during the period from 2006 till the end of 2014.
"Maintaining the achievement and excellent standing achieved by the RTA warrants taking a continual review of RTA's assessment with the aim of learning and improving the business conduct, and identifying lessons learned from the past besides translating them into a factual reality. This can only be achieved through mapping out improved work plans, developing new unconventional initiatives, picking up new knowledge and expertise capable of meeting future requirements, improving points of strength, and engaging in a continuous process of learning and improvement," explained Al Tayer.
The RTA Director-General reviewed the future drive of the RTA, which is highlighted by the implementation of the directives of Vice President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, in terms of reducing the number of visitors of all government's customers service centres by as much as 80% in 2018. Future plans also envisage leveraging customers service strategies as well as the smart city projects, maintaining academic and training programmes to qualify second and third generation of leaders, enticing national talents to meet the needs of future phases, and running a new initiative in the field of project management.
The RTA's 'Projects' programme complements the project management programme accomplished in 2014. The new programme aims at uplifting the skills and capacities of employees to be engaged in project planning, construction and management in future to ensure that they are accomplished in a highly professional manner and at world-class standards. It also seeks to qualify and train individuals in various levels of corporate project management, groom young national cadres to take up the role of projects management, qualify some directors and project managers to manage a portfolio of the programme's projects, and upgrade the efficiency of managing and monitoring project portfolios.