Press Releases

The source of future energy technologies: Abu Dhabi brings together the best for research and innovation

Abu Dhabi Future Energy Company has launched Masdar Research Network - a global research network to develop alternative technologies for advanced energy and environmental solutions. The Masdar Research Network has pulled together programs from leading universities and institutes from Asia, Europe, and North America to accelerate innovation in new energy technologies and natural resource-sustaining systems. These projects will address issues of global importance, affecting the more industrially developed as well as developing countries.

23 July 2006

Abu Dhabi Future Energy Company has launched Masdar Research Network - a global research network to develop alternative technologies for advanced energy and environmental solutions. The Masdar Research Network has pulled together programs from leading universities and institutes from Asia, Europe, and North America to accelerate innovation in new energy technologies and natural resource-sustaining systems. These projects will address issues of global importance, affecting the more industrially developed as well as developing countries.

The Masdar Research Network is part of the grander Masdar Initiative launched in April this year, including a $250 million Clean Tech Fund, a Special Economic Zone for advanced energy industry, a graduate teaching and research institute being planned in Abu Dhabi, and a clean development company for carbon emission reduction.

“Each institution has been selected on the basis of its strategic commitment to innovation in energy and environment, top-tier interdisciplinary research, and a culture of international collaboration. We want to nurture an ecosystem of researchers who can work together with greater freedom in imagination”, explains Sultan Al Jaber, CEO of Abu Dhabi Future Energy Company.

“The Masdar Research Network will allow these universities and institutes to diversify and expand blue-sky research projects, work closely with industry in translating the research potential into benefits for citizens worldwide and cross-fertilise ideas and opportunities” he added.

The Energy Futures Lab of Imperial College London has a strong suit in systems design and carbon management, RWTH Aachen University for energy and water research through its several research institutes and close cooperation with major industrial partners, and University of Waterloo in solar, wind, and hydrogen energy through the Centre for Advanced Photovoltaic Devices and Systems (CAPDS) and the Green Energy Research Institute (GERI). Other network members include Columbia University, a leader in developing sustainable energy solutions, through the Earth Institute and Columbia’s School of Engineering and Applied Science, the German Aerospace Centre, with leading R&D programs in concentrating solar power, and the Tokyo Institute of Technology through its advanced research on innovative solar thermal systems. The Masdar graduate and research Institute, scheduled in three years, will become the hub of this international research activity.

“We want the Masdar Research Network to act as the catalyst for fusing research and innovation from the best research groups around the world, whether in academia or corporations, enabling creative technology breakthroughs at a faster pace than is possible through traditional funding routes. All projects are being selected on the basis of imagination, scientific creativity and practical outcomes. Each project under evaluation has an industry partner to assure that the research leads to real solutions with broad market appeal. We have a vision of Abu Dhabi becoming an incubator of next-generation research and its practical applications in the advanced energy and environment sector. We want to assist the world’s premier scientists and engineers to develop their most imaginative and exciting research ideas in our network”, Sultan Al Jaber further explains.

The projects pipeline of the Masdar Research Network already contains exciting prospects including research into electro-dialysis technology for water desalination, advanced solar panels, solar structures for buildings, and solar thermal towers which may demonstrably change existing markets and industries, as well as make critical improvements to our quality of life. In addition, the Masdar Research Network is looking at systems-level projects for carbon sequestration, cleaner transport systems, green development and urban water management.

Dr. Tidu Maini, pro-rector at Imperial College remarks, “The Masdar Research Network initiative is highly exciting. It is not just of value to the Gulf region but to the whole world. I know of no other initiative that is bringing together such leading research groups from across the world and providing them with the resources to carry out blue-sky research aimed at new energy and environmental sustainability solutions. I am particularly impressed by the joined-up thinking of Masdar and how the research can then be further leveraged through joint ventures with industry and an investment fund to develop a portfolio of groundbreaking companies.”


Abu Dhabi Future Energy Company is a private joint stock company incorporated in Abu Dhabi and wholly-owned by Mubadala Development Company. Abu Dhabi Future Energy Company has been mandated to drive the Masdar initiative, champion the adoption of advanced energy technologies, and contribute to the diversification and sustainable growth of the Abu Dhabi economy. The company will also host a “think tank” that advises the government on the development of new sustainability policies.

Within the Emirate of Abu Dhabi, the Abu Dhabi Future Energy Company will operate in close coordination with ADNOC, ADWEA, the Abu Dhabi Environmental Agency, and the Abu Dhabi Education Council, as well as various other government departments.

The Masdar Initiative is Abu Dhabi’s multi-faceted response to the need for a global focus on resource conservation and the alternative energy sector. It is designed to ensure in the long term that Abu Dhabi retains and even grows its share of the global energy market. It is a new economic program in Abu Dhabi aimed at fostering the development and commercialization of advanced and innovative technologies in renewable energy, energy efficiency, carbon management and water usage and desalination.


Imperial College London

Consistently rated in the top three UK university institutions, Imperial College London is a world leading science-based university whose reputation for excellence in teaching and research attracts students (11,500) and staff (6,000) of the highest international quality. Innovative research at the College explores the interface between science, medicine, engineering and management and delivers practical solutions that enhance the quality of life and the environment - underpinned by a dynamic enterprise culture. Website:

RWTH Aachen University

The RWTH Aachen University is one of Europe’s leading technology institutions renowned for its standard of education and research. Founded in 1870, the university is largely known for its application-oriented fundamental research with 260 institutes and 410 professorships. The current student body counts 28,500 students, including 5,000 international students from 130 countries.

The University has been a pioneer in fostering interdisciplinary research and teaching which led it to become one of the top German Universities and the number one in engineering, enjoying strong links with the German industry (€ 142 million third party funding in 2005).

The scale of differentiation and specialization of the competence centres of the RWTH Aachen is complemented by successful collaborations in interdisciplinary groups and forums combining the expertise of fields or faculties.

The innovation strength of the university is also evidenced in the large number of start-up companies founded over the last 20 years turning the region into to a type of German Silicon Valley. Website:

DLR (German Aerospace Center)

DLR is Germany national research centre for aeronautics and space. Its extensive research and development work is integrated into national and international cooperative ventures. As Germany space agency, DLR has been given responsibility for the forward planning and the implementation of the German space program by the German federal government as well as for the international representation of German interests. Furthermore, Germany’s largest project-management agency is also part of DLR.

Approximately 5,100 people are employed in DLR´s 27 institutes and facilities at eight locations in Germany. DLR also operates offices in Brussels, Paris, and Washington, D.C.

The DLR Institute of Technical Thermodynamics, being one of DLR’s institutes and facilities, has leading competence in research and development of innovative energy conversion methods for environmentally benign electricity generation, in particular of concentrating solar power technologies, solar cooling, renewable hydrogen production and fuel cell technology, as well as energy scenarios and life cycle assessment. DLR is a member of numerous national and international associations and academic as well as industry-related consortia dealing with research, development and market introduction of concentrating solar thermal technologies. Website:

University of Waterloo

University of Waterloo (UW) is committed to advancing knowledge through teaching, research, and scholarship. UW has the largest post-secondary co-operative education program in the world. Every year, Maclean’s magazine measures the reputation of Canadian universities, and for 13 of the past 14 years, UW has been ranked most innovative among 47 universities across Canada. As a research-intensive university, UW is the national leader in the transfer of ideas and technology to the private sector. More Canadian high-tech and knowledge-based spin-off companies trace their roots to UW than to any other school. In 2004/05 alone the research dollars by UW researchers exceeded $109M. From a strong foundation in fundamental work, UW now encompasses a full spectrum of research in the arts, social & behavioural sciences, humanities, engineering, environmental studies, applied health sciences, physical & life sciences and mathematics. In order to strengthen its position as a leader in the transfer of technology and ideas to the private sector, UW recently established the Research and Technology Park, providing more than 1.2 million square feet of building space. Website:

Columbia University

Founded in 1754 as King’s College, Columbia University in the City of New York is the fifth oldest institution of higher learning in the United States and today is one of the world’s leading academic and research institutions. Columbia has more than 3,000 faculty members and enrols nearly 24,000 students, including more than 5,000 international students. The University spans three undergraduate schools, 13 graduate and professional schools, a school of continuing education, four affiliated institutions, a world-class medical centre, 22 libraries, and more than 100 research centres and institutes. Columbia University is home to a spectrum of energy and sustainability related research activities within the Earth Institute, the School of Engineering and Applied Science, the School of International and Public Affairs, the Earth Engineering Centre, Centre for Carbon Management, Nanoscale Science and Engineering Centre and the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory. Website:

Tokyo Institute of Technology

Tokyo Institute of Technology (Tokyo Tech) has been acclaimed in Japan, as well as abroad, as a leading research university with the highest standards of advanced study and education. Tokyo Tech has carved its name among the top technical institutions of Japan with over 120 years of history, very well equipped facilities and internationally recognized professors and researchers. The number of teaching staff is 1,141 (professor and associate professor; 716), and the number of students is 10,061.

Tokyo Tech has six graduate schools offering excellent education and distinctive research opportunities in enhanced academic environment. Each school offers a two-year course that leads to a Master’s degree followed by three more years of study and research to a Doctor’s degree.

Tokyo Institute of Technology is also gaining national recognition for its outstanding education programs. While promoting original research, we encourage our students to be creative, to develop their ability to exercise leadership, and to help build a world leading center of research and education. Website: