Complex Made Simple

Four grants awarded to Masdar Institute-MIT joint research projects for technology-based innovation

Masdar Institute of Science and Technology, an independent, research-driven graduate-level university focused on advanced energy and sustainable technologies, today announced that it is collaborating with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) to fund four research projects run jointly by faculty members at both institutions. The grants are the first under a new program, the Masdar Institute and MIT Innovation Program (MMIP), that is focused on developing commercial applications of technology research.

The MMIP helps bring MIT and Masdar Institute faculty and students a step closer to commercialization by reducing the technology risk, and exploring possible market applications, of promising research results. Successful projects may result in the formation of start-up companies or license agreements. The MMIP grants are administered at Masdar Institute by the Institute Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (iInnovation), and at MIT by the Deshpande Center for Technological Innovation. In a unique collaboration that combines the innovation strengths of two universities, every MMIP project is formed of two teams, one at Masdar Institute and one at MIT, each with a faculty Principal Investigator (PI). The projects reflect the value of research being undertaken by Masdar Institute and MIT as well as the strong collaboration that exists between the two research universities.

The four selected early-stage MMIP projects include a project to develop novel low-cost on-chip sensing devices for continuous water monitoring that could provide early warning of algal blooms; a novel wastewater treatment system for the removal of heavy metals, organic contents, and microbes from water; a scalable and renewable energy-driven technology for handling different quantities of feed waters and high salinity levels; and a digital transmitter platform to reduce the foot print and power consumption in wireless radios.

Dr. Fred Moavenzadeh, President, Masdar Institute, said: “The MMIP grants testify to the collaborative partnership we have with MIT that is focused on guiding and inspiring innovation in the UAE. With the support of the UAE leadership, we have ensured the development of an innovation ecosystem in Abu Dhabi, now linked to the robust ecosystem at MIT, to assist local entrepreneurs with early-stage technologies. We believe awarding such grants will help researchers intensify their efforts to obtain solutions that benefit the wider community.”

The project for the low cost rapid algal bloom sensing device is being led by Dr. Anuradha Agarwal, Principal Research Scientist at MIT’s Microphotonics Center, and Dr. Prashanth Marpu, Assistant Professor, Water and Environmental Engineering, Masdar Institute, with Zhaohong Han and Vivek Singh contributing to the research.

The wastewater treatment project is led by Dr. Jing Kong, ITT Career Development Associate Professor of Electrical Engineering, MIT, and Dr. Shadi Hasan, Assistant Professor, Water and Environmental Engineering, Masdar Institute, with Wenjing Fang and Sungmi Jung contributing to the research.

The project for achieving high efficiency in membrane distillation is being led by Dr. John Lienhard, Abdul Latif Jameel Professor of Water and Food, Director, Center for Clean Water and Clean Energy at MIT and KFUPM, Director, Rohsenow Kendall Heat Transfer Laboratory, and Dr. Hassan Arafat, Associate Professor, Water and Environmental Engineering, Masdar Institute, with Faisal Al Marzooqi, Muhammad Roil Bilad, Hyung Wong Chung, Jaichander Swaminathan, and David Warsinger contributing to the research.

The project in high efficiency transmitters for wireless communication is led by Dr. Tomas Palacios, the Emmanuel E. Landsman Career Development Associate Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at MIT, and Dr. Mihai Sanduleanu, Associate Professor, Microsystems Engineering, Masdar Institute, with Puneet Srivastava contributing to the research.

The MMIP grants are offered to projects covering sustainable energy systems, water advanced technologies and environmental research, microsystems, and smart systems. The grants help recipients assess and reduce the technical and market risks associated with their innovations. In addition to financial support, the network of entrepreneurs, venture capitalists, and academic and legal experts associated with MIT and Masdar Institute help recipients assess the commercial potential of their innovations and make decisions that accelerate progress toward the development of business plans or licensing strategies.

For more information contact:
Name: Shaima Al Jarman
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