‘Exploring technology for sustainable future’
KFAS organizes international forum
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.