United Arab Emirates: Emirates Global Aluminium, the largest industrial company in the United Arab Emirates outside oil and gas, and leading research academics from 10 local universities have met to plan how to enhance national academic research capabilities for industry in the UAE.
EGA has focused on technology and innovation for the past 25 years. The company has worked with local universities since 2011 to combine the latest academic thinking with EGA’s technology development and experience operating aluminium smelters. EGA also works with international academic institutions when there are no local academic research capabilities in specific fields.
‘UAE Vision 2021’ calls for innovation, research, science and technology to form the pillars of a knowledge-based economy, and for partnerships in these areas between the public and private sectors.
Abdalla Alzrooni, Vice President Technology Development & Transfer, said: “EGA is a major industrial company that focuses on research and development, and there is mutual benefit in working with UAE academic researchers. We hope by expanding our cooperation with local universities further we will both deliver breakthrough results for our company and help boost academic research capabilities for the nation to achieve the innovation goals of ‘UAE Vision 2021’.”
EGA and the academics agreed to launch two graduate research projects focused on developing engineering solutions to specific technical challenges in aluminium smelting. Engineering undergraduates and post-graduate students are required to complete research projects as part of their studies, and tying them to real-world challenges is intended to strengthen the links between academia and industry.
During the workshop, the EGA team also presented the universities with examples of research projects undertaken in the last five years with international university partners, which could ultimately be carried out in the UAE if sufficient local academic research capability is developed.
EGA currently has local academic partnerships with institutions including the American University of Sharjah, Khalifa University of Science and Technology, and Rochester Institute of Dubai.
Internationally, EGA has long-term collaborations with the University of Auckland, University of New South Wales, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
EGA’s research and technology development focuses on continual improvements in the aluminium smelting processes. EGA’s latest technology is amongst the most energy-efficient in the global industry. In 2016, EGA became the first UAE industrial company to license its core process technology internationally, in a major milestone in the development of a knowledge-based economy.