Complex Made Simple

Grants awarded to Masdar Institute-MIT Joint Research Projects

Masdar Institute and MIT Innovation Program Grants Help Researchers Explore Commercial Applications of Early-Stage Technologies.

The Masdar Institute of Science and Technology, an independent, research-driven graduate-level university focused on advanced energy and sustainable technologies, today announced the award of six grants to collaborating faculty teams from Masdar Institute and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

The Masdar Institute and MIT Innovation Program (MMIP) grants help faculty to assess the commercial prospects of promising technologies and to reduce the technical and market risks associated with their innovations through prototyping and other forms of translational research. The grants are also designed to assist researchers in raising third-party funding for follow-on development of commercial products, services and processes.

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. The one year grants range in size from US$50,000 to US$150,000 per team at each university.

Dr Behjat Al Yousuf, Interim Provost, Masdar Institute, said, “The research concepts undertaken by the faculty of both institutions represent cutting-edge technology leads that seek to bring valuable innovations. The six MMIP grants are significant examples of the intensity of our commitment to developing sustainable new technologies that can be commercialized to benefit the wider community in energy conservation, solar power, and sustainable desalination in the UAE and globally. We believe the grants will not only encourage the current researchers but also inspire current and future faculty and students to initiate and participate in such transformational research projects.”

The 2015 projects include self-tracking solar concentrators, electrochromic windows that can change from transparent to dark based on voltage application, an optical sensor that can rapidly detect an electrical current overload, a wastewater treatment system combining nanowire filtration and bio-electrochemical treatment, energy-efficient water desalination through membrane distillation (MD), and a transmitter built from new materials that can help reduce the footprint and power consumption of wireless radios. Three of the projects represent continuation of grants awarded in 2014, and three are new projects.

MMIP grants aim to help MIT and Masdar Institute faculty and students bring their research concepts a step closer to commercialization by transforming them into innovative products and spinout companies. The grants are offered only to projects in which faculty from both institutions have Principal Investigator (PI) status, thus combining research strengths of the two universities and of their innovation ecosystems. The innovative program illustrates the strong overall collaboration between Masdar Institute and MIT and between their proof-of-concept centers, iInnovation and the Deshpande Center.