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His Highness Sheikh Hamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan Attends a Signing Ceremony to Establish AED 55 million Aerospace Research Center

Agreement signed at Dubai Airshow 2013

His Highness Sheikh Hamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Chairman of the Abu Dhabi Crown Prince's Court and Vice Chairman on Khalifa University’s Board of Trustees, today attended a signing ceremony between Mubadala Development Company, and Khalifa University, to jointly establish a research center at the University’s campus in Abu Dhabi.

The AED 55 million project, which will be named Aerospace Research and Innovation Center (ARIC), will have approximately 50 percent of the investment placed in establishing state of the art research facilities and capabilities, with the remainder being invested in research and development (R&D) projects that are directly related to the needs of the aerospace industry in the UAE.

The agreement was signed by Homaid Al Shemmari, Executive Director of Mubadala Aerospace, Communications Technology and Defense Services and Professor Tod Laursen, President of Khalifa University, in the presence of senior representatives from Mubadala and Khalifa University.

Commenting on the signing, Homaid Al Shemmari said:

“To make the aerospace industry in Abu Dhabi truly viable, competitive, and sustainable on a global scale, two fundamental elements need to be addressed: building local “know-how” and creating an R&D ecosystem.  The signing of this agreement marks an important step on both these fronts as enablers for development and to grow the aerospace industry in UAE. Not only will the research center develop essential future technologies, but it will also fill the skills gap in providing young Emiratis with essential training in aerospace and empower future talent. We are confident that Khalifa University is the ideal partner for us in this field and we are always looking to develop aspects of cooperation with them.”

Prof. Tod Laursen, President, Khalifa University commented:

“Aerospace has always been one of the key strategic research priorities for us at Khalifa University. The establishment of ARIC in collaboration with Mubadala is another important milestone towards producing regionally relevant research and providing the skills and human capital necessary for a sustainable aerospace industry in the UAE.”

The center is based on a shared 50:50 contribution model from Mubadala and Khalifa University, covering a five-year term, and will be directed by Prof. Wesley Cantwell, who is an internationally recognized expert in composites and aerospace structures. The strategic direction of the center will be overseen by a senior management board comprised of members from both Mubadala and Khalifa University.

The center will initially focus on composite aerostructures and the automation of their manufacturing processes, with the plan to expand in the future into other technical areas such as maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO), air transportation and other technologies to provide a pipeline of innovation in these areas.

“The initial technology focus areas have been identified through a Road-mapping process that considers the current and future state of the industry. Our goal is to create a research ecosystem that allows industry and academia to work together towards that future state,” commented Dr. Abdelqader Abusafieh, Head of Research and Development-Mubadala Aerospace, Communications Technology and Defense Services.

“This is a very important milestone in our growing portfolio of research programs that have national and international significance,” commented Dr. Mohammed Al Mualla, Senior Vice President for Research and Development at Khalifa University. “I am delighted that Khalifa University is collaborating with Mubadala and I am confident that this initiative will leverage the strength of our faculty and the quality of our students towards advancing the aerospace industry in the UAE and supporting the Abu Dhabi 2030 vision. This initiative will provide an opportunity for more than ten UAE national students to perform their senior design and Master and PhD thesis work within this advanced field of research and development.”