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Moavenzadeh named president of Masdar Institute

Longtime MIT engineering professor takes on role in Abu Dhabi, effective July 1.
MIT Professor Fred Moavenzadeh has been named president of the Masdar Institute of Science and Technology.
MIT Professor Fred Moavenzadeh has been named president of the Masdar Institute of Science and Technology.

The following is based on a press release issued this week by the Masdar Institute of Science and Technology.
Masdar Institute of Science and Technology, the world's first graduate research institution dedicated to alternative energy, environmental technologies and sustainability, has appointed MIT Professor Fred Moavenzadeh as its president.

General Sheikh 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. The patron of Masdar Institute is HRH Prince Charles, Prince of Wales.

Moavenzadeh, the James Mason Crafts Professor of Systems Engineering and Civil and Environmental Engineering at MIT, will take up his position in Abu Dhabi on July 1 to support the Masdar Institute's mandate of transforming the emirate into a leading source of advanced technologies and highly skilled human capital.

Developed with the support and collaboration of MIT, the Masdar Institute is a not-for-profit, post-graduate research institute dedicated to alternative energy, environmental technologies and sustainability. The institute is part of the Masdar Initiative, a multi-faceted initiative of the Abu Dhabi Government aimed at the development, deployment and commercialization of advanced energy solutions. Masdar Institute stems from the vision and commitment of Abu Dhabi's leadership to establish a sustainable knowledge-based economy.

The Masdar Institute is a founding public member of the MIT Energy Initiative. Moavenzadeh’s appointment comes at the completion of the institute's inaugural academic year.

Widely recognized for his innovative role in building global institutions and developing new models of teaching and research through international initiatives in education, science and technology, Moavenzadeh has a long and distinguished career at MIT. As the director of the Technology and Development Program, a position he has held for the past 39 years, he has facilitated the establishment of a research-based science and technology infrastructure, now regarded as a critical component in the economic development of any nation.

Dr. Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber, CEO of Masdar and the chairman of the Executive Committee of the Board of Trustee of Masdar Institute, said, “In a short period of time, Masdar Institute has made significant progress towards supporting Abu Dhabi's goal of cultivating the necessary human capital required to build a knowledge-led and technology exporting economy. I am confident that by bringing Dr. Moavenzadeh and his wealth of experience to Abu Dhabi another important stride has been taken towards our goal.

“This appointment exemplifies the very nature and strength of the relationship between Masdar Institute and MIT, with Dr. Moavenzadeh already a familiar figure to all at Masdar Institute due to the integral role he has played in establishing the close partnership with MIT. This also demonstrates MIT's keen interest in establishing Masdar Institute on a similar model of high academic and research standards as itself, “ added Al Jaber.

Commenting on his new appointment, Moavenzadeh said, “In responding to the defining challenge of our time — climate change and energy security — Masdar Institute of Science and Technology is embarking on an exciting and vital journey with a comprehensive approach to education and research. I am delighted to be appointed as its president.”

“My mission as president will be to advance the long-term sustaining development of Abu Dhabi by providing a highly trained caliber of people equal to the task and working with other academic institutions in the region, with government officials, and with industry to insure free-flow of information and coordination of effort across platforms that will provide answer to complex questions and needs.”

Based in part on his experience leading the Technology and Development Program at MIT, Moavenzadeh will seek close cooperation with local academic institutions, governmental organizations and industry to build a culture of R&D from within the UAE. “I will strive to create an atmosphere of understanding and solutions-based guidance within Masdar Institute and the cultural infrastructure of the region,” Moavenzadeh said.

“Universities outside the United States are often isolated from government and industry relationships, inhibiting the growth of research and development through a lack of large-scale funding. Contracts between government, industry and graduate-level research universities serve all parties in forwarding the socio-economic development of emerging countries, and this will be a priority for Masdar Institute,” he added.

Moavenzadeh received his master’s degree from Cornell University and his PhD from Purdue University. Moavenzadeh will reside in Abu Dhabi with his wife, Linda; during his term at Masdar, he will be on leave from the MIT faculty.

During his career, Moavenzadeh has conducted and supervised major research activities and served as a private consultant to the World Bank, the Inter-American Development Bank, the Asian Development Bank and various United Nations agencies. He has conducted studies on energy pricing policy and the effects of energy price change on the economy of four Latin American countries, for organizations such as the Organizacion Latinoamerica de Energia (OLADE).


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