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22 February 2009


Sheikh Saud opens 1st International Workshop on Advanced Materials in RAK

Sheikh Saud opens 1st International Workshop on Advanced Materials in RAK

H.H. Sheikh Saud bin Saqr Al Qasimi, Crown Prince and Deputy Ruler of Ras Al Khaimah, opened the 1st International Workshop on Advanced Materials (IWAM- 09), in which he unveiled the emirate's plans to create a flagship centre for materials science research in the region.

The three- day workshop, organized by the Ras Al Khaimah Centre for Advanced Materials (RAK- CAM) under the patronage of H.H. Sheikh Saud bin Saqr Al Qasimi, is being attended by world's leading materials scientists and around 100 researchers from 20 countries.

Delivering the keynote address at the inaugural session held at Hotel Al Hamra Fort, Sheikh Saud said that Ras Al Khaimah will set up by 2010 one of the most sophisticated research facilities for Advanced Materials in the region under the banner of RAK- CAM, which was launched in 2007.

'The construction of a stunning 7500 square metre building for RAK- CAM will begin in early 2009 at a site close to the Emirates Road. By early 2010, the facility will be equipped with state- of- the- art equipment such as electron microscopes, x-ray diffractometers, optical spectrometers and so on,' Sheikh Saud added.

He said that the scope of RAK- CAM embraces materials science in its broadest sense, from well- known construction materials like concrete and glass, to sophisticated materials that underpin the function of solar cells, catalytic converters, computers and cell phones.

'RAK- CAM will play a number of roles as its programmes develop over the next 5 years, including the pursuit of world class scientific research here in RAK, providing facilities and support for local industries, and offering training and educational opportunities for young people in the community who are interested in science,' he said and added that a world class Scientific Advisory Board, under the chairmanship of Professor Anthony K Cheetham of the Department of Materials Science at the University of Cambridge, has been established for RAK- CAM.

Professor Samy El- Shall, who was recently appointed as the Director of RAK- CAM, said that nanotechnology and nanomaterials would be in the forefront of research at RAK- CAM, along with cutting- edge research in organic hybrid materials, structural materials, magnetic materials and advanced materials for use in energy, water purification and environment.

'Our strategy is based on selecting a research area and hiring the most qualified researchers in the world to accomplish the project and making sure that the research team is equipped with state- of -the- art tools in an inspiring and nice facility. RAK- CAM will in the first phase create eight interdisciplinary research groups, each consisting of 4-5 scientists including post doctoral researchers and visiting professorship from across the world,' he said.

'RAK- CAM has already started providing the 'Sheikh Saqr Al Qasimi Research Fellowship' to support post doctoral research. Currently Sheikh Saqr Fellowship programmes are being held in Bangalore, University of Pennsylvania, University of Cambridge and Virginia Commonwealth University,' Samy El- Shall said and added that the purpose of the fellowship was to further scientific research and help create a permanent research team at RAK- CAM.

RAK- CAM would also establish research initiatives for undergraduate students in the region thereby enabling them make use of the advanced laboratory facilities at RAK- CAM, apart from special programmes for science teachers and high school students in the region.

Prof Anthony K Cheetham, Chairman of the Advisory Board of RAK- CAM, Prof Sir Richard Friend, Cavendish Professor of Physics at the University of Cambridge, Prof CNR Rao, Chairman of the Scientific Advisory Council to the Prime Minister of India, Prof Paras N Prasad from State University of New York at Buffalo, Prof Mildred Dresselhaus from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Dr. Saif Al Ghais, Executive Director of RAK Environment Protection and Development Authority, and several other leading scientists presented papers and participated in the discussions at the workshop.

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