‘Ex­plor­ing tech­nol­ogy for sus­tain­able fu­ture’

KFAS or­ga­nizes in­ter­na­tional fo­rum

Kuwait Times - - LOCAL -

KUWAIT: In col­lab­o­ra­tion with imec, the world lead­ing na­no­elec­tron­ics Bel­gian re­search cen­ter, Kuwait Foun­da­tion for the Ad­vance­ment of Sci­ence (KFAS) or­ga­nized a sem­i­nar yes­ter­day, 2016 themed ‘Ex­plor­ing Tech­nol­ogy for a Sus­tain­able Fu­ture’, which ad­dressed sev­eral sig­nif­i­cant and vi­brant ar­eas such as health and en­ergy. The one day fo­rum was at­tended by more than 300 re­searchers, spe­cial­ists and other in­ter­ested par­ties such as min­istries, gov­ern­men­tal en­ti­ties, re­search cen­ters and academies, in ad­di­tion to pri­vate com­pa­nies, univer­sity stu­dents and rep­re­sen­ta­tives of em­bassies across Kuwait.

KFAS Direc­tor Gen­eral, Dr Ad­nan Shi­hab-Eldin, com­menced the event with an open­ing state­ment stat­ing that this fo­rum is the first of its kind in Kuwait and the Arab world, and en­tails seven dif­fer­ent lec­tures in re­la­tion to fu­ture ap­pli­ca­tions of tech­nol­ogy in sev­eral ar­eas in­clud­ing en­gi­neer­ing, health­care, and life sci­ences. In ad­di­tion, two par­al­lel dis­cus­sion ses­sions were held to al­low at­ten­dees to in­ter­act with Imec sci­en­tists and dis­cuss tech­ni­cal is­sues in more de­tail.

Dr Shi­hab-Eldin also stated that the Sem­i­nar aims to de­liver a strong foun­da­tion for promis­ing sci­en­tific ideas and to al­low par­tic­i­pants to ex­change knowl­edge and tech­ni­cal­i­ties, in ad­di­tion to de­liv­er­ing an in­ter­ac­tive plat­form that cre­ates an op­por­tu­nity for sci­en­tists, tech­ni­cians, in­dus­tri­al­ists and busi­ness­men to dis­cover new in­vest­ment op­por­tu­ni­ties in fu­ture tech­nolo­gies.

He added: “We live in an ex­cit­ing era, where tech­nol­ogy drives the imag­i­na­tion and imag­i­na­tion in turn-drives the de­vel­op­ment of tech­nol­ogy, often dis­rup­tive, and where there is no limit as to how far we can progress, as long as we are will­ing to com­mit to our goals and nur­ture the cul­ture of in­no­va­tion. In­vest­ment in in­fra­struc­ture, but more im­por­tantly, in the de­vel­op­ment of hu­man cap­i­tal is key to­wards ad­vance­ments in sci­ence and tech­nol­ogy.

The out­come of such in­vest­ments is ev­i­denced by the enor­mous progress that has been achieved by a great num­ber of in­di­vid­u­als and en­ter­prises in many coun­tries around the world. As an ex­am­ple of such progress, the In­tel pro­ces­sor to­day is the size of a fin­ger nail and has over 7 bil­lion tran­sis­tors (Xeon Broad­well), each is 14 nanome­ters in size. So what was once con­sid­ered to be unimag­in­able is to­day’s re­al­ity. “

Dr Shi­hab-Eldin af­firmed that Kuwait strongly be­lieves in the im­por­tance of global tech­no­log­i­cal ad­vance­ment to world economies, and KFAS be­lieves that en­abling Kuwaiti sci­en­tists, en­gi­neers, the business com­mu­nity and so­ci­ety at large with these tech­no­log­i­cal ad­vance­ments is the path­way to a sus­tain­able, knowl­edge-based fu­ture for Kuwait. KFAS en­cour­ages col­lab­o­ra­tive projects among na­tional, re­gional and in­ter­na­tional in­sti­tu­tions in ar­eas of mu­tual in­ter­est par­tic­u­larly in water, en­ergy and en­vi­ron­ment. In 2015, KFAS pro­vided a to­tal of KD 6.5 mil­lion in grants for fund­ing mis­sion-ori­ented col­lab­o­ra­tive re­search projects aimed at ad­dress­ing key na­tional pri­or­i­ties and un­der­taken by re­searchers from lo­cal in­sti­tu­tions such as Kuwait In­sti­tute for Sci­en­tific Re­search (KISR) and Kuwait Univer­sity (KU) and in­ter­na­tional cen­ters of re­search ex­cel­lence such as Mas­sachusetts In­sti­tute of Tech­nol­ogy (MIT), In­teruni­ver­sity Mi­cro Elec­tron­ics Cen­ter (Imec) and Ox­ford In­sti­tute for En­ergy stud­ies (OIES), to name a few.

KFAS also, fa­cil­i­tates market pen­e­tra­tion of tech­nolo­gies that can be of great ben­e­fit to Kuwait. As an ex­am­ple, KFAS re­cently spon­sored some vi­tal pilot and demon­stra­tion projects to pro­mote the ex­panded use of roof-top so­lar pan­els in res­i­den­tial build­ings and park­ing ar­eas in co­op­er­a­tive so­ci­eties. Dr Shi­hab-Eldin added: “In 2013, KFAS en­gaged with IMEC, and Kuwait Univer­sity, in a three-year col­lab­o­ra­tive agree­ment tar­get­ing the field of pho­to­voltaics and re­new­able en­ergy. The col­lab­o­ra­tion be­tween KU and imec sci­en­tists was part of a larger in­ter­na­tional re­search con­sor­tium, where imec aimed at de­vel­op­ing ad­vanced and more ef­fi­cient pho­to­voltaic so­lar cell tech­nolo­gies at lower man­u­fac­tur­ing costs.

Upon the suc­cess­ful com­ple­tion of the first phase, KFAS ex­tended its sup­port to the sec­ond phase of this project that com­menced in 2016, which is ex­pected to be com­pleted by the end of 2018. This col­lab­o­ra­tion has led to the de­vel­op­ment of cut­ting edge sil­i­con based so­lar cells with ef­fi­cien­cies of 23% and higher and at a com­pet­i­tive cost. As a re­sult of the suc­cess­ful col­lab­o­ra­tion be­tween KFAS, KU and Imec, KFAS an­tic­i­pates cul­ti­vat­ing ad­di­tional sci­en­tific al­liances in promis­ing fields, some of which will be show­cased to­day in this Sem­i­nar. The Kuwait-Imec Vi­sion­ary Sem­i­nar con­sisted of seven dif­fer­ent ses­sions pre­sented by re­searchers from re­search cen­ters. The first was en­ti­tled ‘imec and Smart Sys­tems & En­ergy Tech­nolo­gies (SSET)’, and fo­cused on imecs his­tory, mis­sion, and ac­tiv­i­ties as a tech­nol­ogy en­abler in the dig­i­tal econ­omy.

The sec­ond ses­sion was en­ti­tled ‘Semi­con­duc­tor Tech­nolo­gies for Health­care Ap­pli­ca­tion’, and ad­dressed in­stru­ments avail­able to make a pre­cise diagnosis and pre­scribe a cor­rect treat­ment and the Chip tech­nol­ogy which of­fers a so­lu­tion, as it ex­cels mak­ing ex­tremely com­plex in­stru­men­ta­tion and data an­a­lyt­ics avail­able at the lowest pos­si­ble cost. The third ses­sion un­der the ti­tle ‘The Dawn of a New Health­care Sys­tem’ fo­cused on wear­able sen­sors that have the po­ten­tial to be­come a cor­ner­stone tech­nol­ogy in care, cure and true preven­tion.

The ses­sion themed ‘An In­tu­itive In­ter­net of Things’ was the fourth ses­sion which fo­cused on the pos­si­bil­ity of mak­ing net­works in­ter­op­er­ate, hav­ing the right data avail­able, mak­ing the in­ter­faces more in­tu­itive, real­iz­ing new sen­sors, or min­ing big data ef­fec­tively, whereas the fifth ses­sion was en­ti­tled ‘Tech­nol­ogy Driv­ers for ThinFilm Flex­i­ble Elec­tron­ics’ and tack­led the uses of thin-film, flex­i­ble elec­tron­ics that can be fab­ri­cated on all types of sub­strates. The sixth ses­sion themed ‘En­abling the In­ter­net of Power En­ergy Re­search at imec’ fo­cused on the en­abling tech­nol­ogy de­vel­oped by imec, that of­fers high-per­for­mance pho­to­voltaic gen­er­a­tion, highly re­li­able cost-ef­fec­tive elec­tri­cal stor­age and high-per­for­mance power de­vices.

The sev­enth and fi­nal ses­sion themed ‘En­ergy for Smart Cities’ fo­cused on the main trends in tech­nol­ogy to ar­rive at such smart sus­tain­able en­ergy sys­tems, in­clud­ing in­no­va­tive power con­vert­ers and smart grid im­ple­men­ta­tions. Imec was founded in 1984 as an NGO and is con­sid­ered one of the largest na­no­elec­tron­ics re­search cen­ter, with a team of more than 2300 re­searchers, and works in col­lab­o­ra­tion with an es­ti­mate of 200 pres­ti­gious uni­ver­si­ties and 600 in­ter­na­tional pri­vate com­pa­nies, across a broad scope of ad­vanced tech­nol­ogy fields, in­clud­ing roof-top so­lar pan­els.

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