Masdar Institute sets up iSmart to design and develop sustainable infrastructure systems

ABU DHABI: The Masdar Institute of Science and Technology, an independent, research-driven graduate-level university focused on advanced energy and sustainable technologies, today announced the launch of the Institute Centre for Smart and Sustainable Systems (iSmart), a centre that applies state-of-the-art analyses in the design and development of sustainable infrastructure systems to interface between technology and society.

iSmart will contribute to turning the U.A.E. into a global leader in engineering systems methods and applications by providing strategic and operational direction to research in these areas. The creation of iSmart is part of the regrouping of all of Masdar Institute’s research activities under different thematic umbrellas for better coordination and productive R’&’D outcome.

Headed by Dr. Sgouris Sgouridis, Associate Professor, Engineering Systems and Management, iSmart will aim to serve faculty, students and stakeholders by supporting a collaborative environment for developing engineering systems research relevant to the U.A.E.. In effect, it will contribute to the U.A.E.’s long-term goal of developing robust policies and strategies for critical economic sectors such as energy and water, transportation and logistics, urban development and telecommunications.

Dr. Fred Moavenzadeh, President of the Masdar Institute, said, “The creation of iSmart reflects our commitment to taking science and technology research into the next stage of innovation. Systems approaches to policy and infrastructure development are expected to have an increasingly large role in sustainable energy. With the support of the U.A.E. leadership, the Masdar Institute has progressively steered research and innovation in renewable energy and advanced technology. We hope this centre will contribute to the establishment of new strategies, policies and models that benefit the community.” The creation of iSmart illustrates the increasing need for smart and sustainable systems in an energy-conscious global environment. A new report from the Cleantech market intelligence firm, Pike Research, forecasts that investment in smart city technology infrastructure will total US$108 billion from 2010 to 2020. By the end of that period, it is anticipated that annual spending will reach nearly US$16 billion.

According to Bloomberg New Energy Finance, in the last three years, global investment in smart grid’ is estimated to have doubled from US$16.2 billion in 2010 to US$36.5 billion in 2012.

Some of the research areas on which iSmart will focus include the development and application of systems design and analysis methodologies, information and computation for sustainable infrastructure transformation, regulatory policy analysis and managerial options analysis.

Dr. Sgouridis’ current research interests focus on socio-technical systems modelling, including sustainable transportation systems and sustainable energy systems management. He is the principal investigator researching Commercial Aviation in a Carbon-Constrained Future at Masdar Institute and is co-leading the development of the Sustainable Bio-resource Projects.

Dr. Sgouridis said, “Smart technologies, already on the threshold of new breakthroughs, are set to drastically transform the way communities live in the future. The setting up of iSmart at Masdar Institute further signifies the relevance of research into various fields for developing smarter infrastructure systems. We believe this centre will help Masdar Institute develop new technologies, leading to greater energy efficient systems.”