ABU DHABI - The Khalifa University of Science and Technology was able to achieve many accomplishments during the year 2019 that contributed to consolidating its position as a prestigious academic institution locally, regionally and globally.

The launch of the Emirates Nuclear Technology Centre in collaboration with stakeholders including Emirates Nuclear Energy Corporation and the Federal Authority for Nuclear Regulation, marked a key milestone moment for Khalifa University’s contribution to enhancing the UAE’s nuclear technology research capability.

An agreement with Korea Basic Science Institute, to launch the Korea-UAE Joint R&D Technical Centre to promote scientific exchange between the two countries, was another step that solidified the existing collaboration with Korean institutions.

Khalifa University, the University of Milan and the Scuola Superiore Sant’Anna, SSSA, of Pisa signed an agreement to set up a Joint Lab for Embodied Artificial Intelli-gence that will be physically located within the University’s Artificial Intelligence and Intelligent System Institute, AI Institute, in Abu Dhabi, enabling AI applications to medical research with the strength of Milan in life sciences and of SSSA in bio-robotics.

Dr. Arif Sultan Al Hammadi, Executive Vice-President, Khalifa University of Science and Technology, said: "Our excellent track-record continued during the year 2019 especially in new initiatives, international collaborations, global academic rankings as well as faculty and student achievements. We believe as a top-ranked research-intensive university focusing on science, engineering and medical fields our contributions to building new capacities, creating intellectual capital and registering new milestones will remain on track in the years ahead as well." A string of laurels came the Khalifa University way when the students won top position overall, first position in electric Grand Prix, and second position in the Hybrid Electric categories at the Global Hybrid Electric Challenge in UAE (GHEC-UAE) 2019. Khalifa University’s two student teams also won awards for Best Sportsmanship, Best Workmanship, Best Technical Report, Best Presentation, Best Technical Innovation, and for Best Usage of 3D-Printing.

A White Coat Ceremony marked the start of Fall 2019 classes for the newly enrolled first cohort of 30 students at the College of Medicine and Health Sciences. ‘The Body Museum’ – the region’s first-ever Body Worlds Exhibition, a traveling exposition of dissected and ‘plastinated’ human bodies, was inaugurated at the Main Campus on the same day. The exhibition that will remain open until March 2020, offers free entry for school and university students with their family members.

Reiterating its role as a leading academic institution that continues to support the UAE’s growing space sector, Khalifa University presented its first-ever honorary doctorate degree to the UAE astronaut Hazza Al-Mansoori in recognition of his historic achievement, during the Class of 2019 graduation ceremony that celebrated the academic success of 408 bachelors, Master’s and PhD students.

New agreements with leading industry stakeholders signed during Dubai Air Show 2019 marked Khalifa University’s continuously expanding status in research and innovation. These include a collaboration with Etihad Aviation Training for a three-year study to develop innovative and more engaging training procedures, drawing upon neuro-cognition, to train the next generation of airline pilots.

Also during the Dubai Air Show 2019, Mubadala Investment Company signed an agreement with Khalifa University, extending the industry-leading aerospace R&D collaboration for the Aerospace Research and Innovation Centre for another four years, and supporting the UAE’s ambitions for developing a global aerospace hub.

Earlier, the university also launched the AI Institute, and a Programme in Artificial Intelligence during the year. The AI Institute aims to bring all the university’s research in robotics, artificial intelligence (AI), data science and information and communication technologies under a single umbrella. The programme in AI, first-of-its-kind in the UAE, is available to all undergraduate, graduate and PhD science and engineering students from Fall 2019 semester.

Khalifa University also received accreditation from the UAE’s Commission for Academic Accreditation for its Physics BSc degree during the year. The new degree adds to the rapidly growing range of science degrees on offer at the university, including BSc programmes in Petroleum Geosciences, Applied Mathematics & Statistics, and Chemistry.

In line with its status as a research-intensive academic institution, Khalifa University launched three new research centres focusing on carbon capture, advanced materials and supply chain logistics, bringing the total number of specialized research centres to 18 across all campuses.

Launched over this summer, the three new research centres include the Research and Innovation Centre on CO2 and Hydrogen, the Advanced Digital & Additive Manufacturing Centre (ADAM), and the Centre for Digital Supply Chain and Operations Management (DSOM). The research centres are located at the Main Campus and the Sas Al Nakhl Campus, depending on their research focus and association of subject areas.

Khalifa University further expanded its range of international collaborations during the year, entreing into a Partnership and Cooperation Memorandum’ with the Global Energy Association to help build academic and research ties between the UAE and Russia across all energy-related areas.

During the Aqdar World Summit in Moscow, Khalifa University and Russia’s National Research University (Moscow Power Engineering Institute – MPEI), signed an MoU to establish a joint research programme in power and energy-related fields to bring together multidisciplinary scientists, experienced engineers, talented students, industrial partners, and stakeholders. Globally, Khalifa University already has collaborations agreements with Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Russian and other European academic institutions.

Also during the year, a research collaboration with the University of Manchester resulted in the publishing of the third scientific paper on developing graphene-based membranes for desalination in the Journal of Membrane Science. Additionally, the Swedish solar energy company Azelio partnered with Khalifa University and Masdar to run a pilot project to evaluate and demonstrate Azelio’s Stirling engine systems and integrated thermal energy storage solution for renewable energy projects that use photovoltaic solar, concentrated solar power (CSP) and wind energy, or projects that provide off-grid solutions.

Khalifa University broke new ground when it signed a milestone commercialisationand licensing agreement that was granted to a technology startup established by an Emirati alumnus. The technology behind the product was developed by Dr Ahsan Khandoker, Associate Professor, Biomedical Engineering, and granted to Advanced Research Projects, the start-up established by Biomedical Engineering graduate Saeed Alteneiji, and was incubated at Khalifa Innovation Centre.

In another first, a group of Khalifa University researchers led by Dr. Habiba Al Safar, Acting Associate Dean for Student Affairs, College of Medicine and Health Sciences, Associate Professor at Department of Genetics and Molecular Biology, and Director of Khalifa University Centre for Biotechnology, and Dr. Guan Tay, Associate Professor, Biomedical Engineering, successfully completed the Whole Genome Sequencing on two UAE nationals. The project aims provides a starting point for constructing a UAE reference panel that will lead to improvements in the delivery of precision medicine, quality of life for affected individuals and a reduction in healthcare costs.

Meanwhile, researchers from Khalifa University’s Emirates ICT Innovation Centre won two honors at the AI and Machine Learning Awards 2019 in London – ‘Outstanding AI/ Machine Learning Project’ and ‘Most Innovative use of AI/Machine Learning’ – for developing a cutting-edge tool called Intuitu. The AI-based tool Intuitu optimises the deployment of warehouses for large service organizations such as telecommunications companies.

Moreover, Dr. Ibrahim Elfadel, Professor, Electrical and Computer Engineering, showcased the first ever successful body-coupled communication transceiver that transmits and receives information using human skin as a communication medium at the 41st Engineering in Medicine and Biology Conference in Berlin.

Furthering industry-academia collaborations, Khalifa University partnered with DarkMatter Group, the region’s first and only fully integrated digital and cyber transformation firm, for the US$1.5-million Cyber Security Research Award (CRA). The award focuses on generating ideas that will safeguard the world’s smart cities against the cybersecurity threats of tomorrow.

Khalifa University will be proudly hosting the US$5-million Mohammed Bin Zayed International Robotics Challenge (MBZIRC), one of the world’s largest and most prestigious AI and robotics competitions, in February 2020. Designed to further advance innovation in robotics and artificial intelligence, the international biennial challenge will select 34 robotics teams from top universities around the world to compete in Abu Dhabi for a three-day event that will test the innovation and science and engineering skills.

More than 200 students from Khalifa University successfully interned within the UAE at various government organizations, private sector entreprises, and leading multinational corporations, as well as across the world at renowned scientific research institutions, universities, and major companies as part of the 2019 Summer Internship programme.

Over 40 organizations located in the UAE and 20 international organizations across the world, as well as some of the Khalifa University research centres and facilities hosted these interns throughout the summer for the internship programme.

In global recognitions, for the first time, the university became the only institution in the UAE to be ranked in the prestigious Shanghai-based Academic Ranking of World Universities, ARWU. The ARWU Global Ranking of Academic Subjects 2019 placed Khalifa University in the top 100 leading universities in Chemical Engineering and the world’s top 150 universities in Mechanical Engineering.

More recently, Khalifa University was ranked top in the UAE in the 2020 edition of the Best Global Universities rankings by the US News & World Report, the global authority in education rankings, which evaluated over 1,500 universities in 81 countries. In Subject rankings, the university was placed #114 in ‘Engineering’ in general, and #123 in Electrical and Electronic Engineering.

In other rankings, Khalifa University topped in the UAE, came second in the Middle East and North Africa region and was listed within the top 200 globally in the most recent Times Higher Education, THE, World University Rankings 2020 by Subject: Engineering and Technology, which covered more than 1,000 Universities from 70 countries. The University is also ranked first in the fields of ‘research’ and ‘industry income’ – strong indications of its research status. Moreover, it is ranked 28th among Asian universities in the THE Asia Universities ranking, while remaining among the top 31% of the 1011 global institutions assessed by the 2019 Quacquarelli Symonds World University Rankings.

© Copyright Emirates News Agency (WAM) 2019.