In line with its vision of building a world-class R&D
hub in Abu Dhabi, ASPIRE, today announced four Visiting International Professorships
(ViPs). With AED10 million of research funding, the program has attracted the highest-
caliber researchers from leading global institutes to build international networks and further
advance meaningful research in priority areas for the Emirate.
Khalifa University (KU) will host two ‘Established Researcher’ ViPs, who possess extensive
international credentials in their research areas. Professor Hany Farag, with expertise in
sustainable transport solutions, will join KU from York University, Canada. During his tenure
at KU, he will collaborate on research focused on distributed energy resources, such as
electric, gas, and hydrogen transport systems, to implement a unified smart energy
The second ViP to be based at KU is Professor Huai Wang, from the University of Aalborg,
Denmark, who holds expertise in the research field of power electronics. He will collaborate
with peers at KU to address long-standing challenges in the reliability and operational
efficiency of power electronic converters applied in energy systems using tools such as
physics-informed Artificial Intelligence (AI). KU will provide both visiting professors with
access to its best research teams to facilitate their efforts in achieving impactful solutions to
key challenges in this area.
The United Arab Emirates University (UAEU) and Zayed University (ZU) are to host two
‘Rising Star’ ViPs. These professorships are aimed at mid-career scholars with established
reputations in their focus areas; these awards will offer them the opportunity to scale up and
further advance the scope of their research.
UAEU will host Professor Adriano Camps, a renowned global scholar working in remote
sensing, microwave engineering, and GNSS-Reflectometry. Having established a small
satellite facility at his home institution, the Universitat Politecnica de Catalunya, in Catalonia,
Spain, Prof. Camps will share his extensive experience with both UAEU and the National
Space Science and Technology Center (NSSTC) in Abu Dhabi, where the first satellite
manufacturing facility in the UAEU is being set up in collaboration with Tawazun and Airbus.
Professor Jalel Ben Othman, from the CentraleSupélec of Paris-Saclay University, in Paris,
France, will bring his expertise to ZU. His research focuses on intelligent transportation
management, and he will work to revolutionize the transportation infrastructure in Abu Dhabi
through optimized and efficient road management. He will employ technologies such as
artificial intelligence, intelligent networking, connected and autonomous vehicles, and
unmanned aerial vehicles to enhance transportation management in the Emirate.
Speaking about the announcement, Dr. Ray O. Johnson, CEO, Technology Innovation
Institute (TII) and ASPIRE, said, “The ASPIRE ViP Program will bring some of the world’s
leading researchers in their fields here to Abu Dhabi. Their work will help develop solutions
to some of the most complex challenges we face in the UAE. This global collaboration and
integration with Abu Dhabi’s R&D ecosystem will advance our research and deliver results
with real-world impact in key sectors. I am very excited about these partnerships.”
Dr. Johnson, continued, “At TII, we look forward to collaborating with such eminent
international researchers and sharing insights across the fields of energy, aerospace,
mobility, and sustainability. TII’s advanced technology research centers are committed to
partnering with like-minded peers from around the world to advance science and innovation.
We look forward to welcoming them to Abu Dhabi’s thriving research ecosystem.”
Earlier this year, ASPIRE announced a AED200 million investment to fund three research
institutes to enhance food security, biotechnology for precision medicine, and sustainable
energy systems. The research institutes, located in UAEU and KU, will similarly facilitate
collaboration between leading global research centers around the world and Abu Dhabi’s
R&D ecosystem to advance the Emirate’s knowledge economy.