Complex Made Simple

Masdar Institute and BP further ramp up innovation drive in UAE

The Institute Center for Innovation and Entrepreneurship (iInnovation) at Masdar Institute of Science and Technology and BP ramped up their contribution to the UAE’s innovation drive by naming two recipients for the inaugural BP Innovation Scholarship.

Saeed Al Nofeli, a first year graduate student from Masdar Institute’s Engineering Systems and Management Program, and Eanna R. Farrell, a first-year graduate student from Masdar Institute’s Water and Environmental Engineering Program, have been chosen as the BP Innovation Scholars for 2014. The selection of these scholarships was made by a panel that included Dr. Bruce W. Ferguson, Head, Innovation and Professor of Practice, Engineering Systems and Management, Masdar Institute, and Dr Issam Dairanieh, Global Director, BP Ventures.

Dr. Fred Moavenzadeh, President, Masdar Institute, said: “The awarding of the inaugural BP Innovation Scholarship to two students illustrates the kind of ecosystem we provide for stimulating the process of innovation. The support of the UAE leadership continues to enable us to provide such facilitating measures to students. Congratulations to the two scholarship recipients. We believe they will be encouraged through this collaborative program between the Institute and BP to seek new innovations and achieve sustainable solutions in clean energy areas.”

As a central part of their thesis, the two BP Innovation Scholars will work towards creating new technology-based businesses. They will focus their thesis research on developing new products and services based on a technology related to Masdar Institute’s mission of addressing real-world energy and sustainability challenges from an integrated technology, systems and policy perspective. In case the scholars choose to participate in forming a company before graduation and provide a satisfactory business plan, a limited amount of seed capital funding may also be made available.

The BP Innovation Scholarship is a two-year merit scholarship awarded to graduate students in any one of Masdar Institute’s nine engineering concentrations.

AbdulKarim AlMazmi, BP’s General Manager and Chief Representative in Abu Dhabi, said: “BP Innovation Scholars are encouraged to identify compelling opportunities that enable them to participate in forming a start-up, or introducing a new product or service within an existing company, before graduation. We are committed to developing local capability in the country as a key to a successful and innovative society.

“The new scholarships help implement the goals of BP’s collaborative program with the Institute, which aims to create an on-site Technology Accelerator to strengthen innovation and entrepreneurship in Abu Dhabi and the region. It is part of BP’s effort in support of Abu Dhabi’s goal to build a diverse and sustainable economy. We wish the two scholars success in their academic and entrepreneurial ventures.”

Dr. Bruce Ferguson said: “The BP Innovation Scholarship program, which is itself quite innovative, reflects a recognition that technology entrepreneurship is an educational process as much as a business investment. These two students will help us develop a new pathway to technology innovation. We expect the Scholarships and similar programs to yield important dividends in human capital development, knowledge creation and economic growth.”

The BP Innovation Scholarships are funded in part under the new US$7 million collaborative innovation agreement that Masdar Institute and BP signed earlier in 2014. Scholarships include full tuition, housing, living expenses, insurance, travel costs and certain patenting expenses. The scholarships are awarded to applicants with outstanding academic records, who demonstrate initiative and creativity.