MIT and the Abu Dhabi Future Energy Company (ADFEC) today announced the signing of a cooperative agreement preparing the way for MIT's Technology and Development Program to help develop the Masdar Institute of Science and Technology in Abu Dhabi.
The agreement paves the way for MIT faculty, coordinated by MIT's Technology and Development Program, to assist Masdar in the development of a postgraduate educational and research institute, making it the first institution dedicated to research-driven graduate programs in the region.
The Masdar Institute of Science and Technology is envisioned as the centerpiece of a multifaceted, regional economic development program-the Masdar Initiative-announced in April 2006 by the Abu Dhabi government.
"MIT faculty and staff will provide advice, scholarly assessment and assistance in connection with the establishment of the Masdar Institute," said MIT Chancellor Phillip Clay. "This includes working with ADFEC to develop collaborative research and create indigenous academic programs, to create a strategy for commercializing Masdar Institute's research results and to build the institute's organizational and administrative capabilities."
Efforts are presently under way for MIT faculty to assist Masdar with recruiting faculty and administrators, developing joint research and designing educational programs. Student recruitment will follow. The Masdar Institute plans to admit its first postgraduate students in Abu Dhabi in the summer of 2009.
"The Masdar Institute will serve as the nucleus of the Masdar Initiative, feeding it with talent and innovative technologies to enhance economic development and promote new industries using renewable energy and resources in the emirate and the region," said Sultan Al Jaber, CEO of ADFEC. "This cooperative agreement will lead to a superior relationship between the Masdar Institute and MIT to jointly address global energy issues."
Al Jaber highlighted the importance of developing indigenous R&D capabilities in Abu Dhabi to address issues of particular regional importance, such as energy, water and sustainability. "The guiding philosophy of Masdar is to transform the natural resource wealth of the country to a long-term, sustainable knowledge economy through the development of human capital that can effectively compete in the global marketplace," he added.
The collaborative research programs between MIT and the Masdar Institute will be interdisciplinary and will focus on areas central to the mission of the Masdar Initiative's goal of diversifying the region's economy.
The Masdar Institute will operate as an independent, non-profit research and educational institution, conducting courses in English and offering postgraduate degrees to men and women in the United Arab Emirates, Middle East, North Africa and the South Asian region. It will augment academic resources of the region by providing a suitable vehicle for expanding R&D, developing strategic alliances with global corporations, providing entrepreneurial opportunities for startups and training and educating a work force to compete in the global market.
A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on February 28, 2007 (download PDF).