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HCT Hosts 400-plus Researchers at 5th International ASET 2023 Multi-Conferences to Support the Year of Sustainability

The 5th edition of the Higher Colleges of Technology’s (HCT) annual 4-day international Advances in Science & Engineering Technology (ASET) multi-conferences, saw more than 400 engineering researchers and academicians, from over 30 countries, present research and developments in nine disciplines, seeking to uncover solutions to global engineering & technology challenges.

The ASET 2023 conferences, sponsored by the IEEE, and which is aligned to the UAE’s National Innovation Strategy, connect academicians, researchers, engineers and students with interested organizations, in order to share and discuss both theoretical and practical knowledge, best practices, innovations and emerging high-tech trends pertaining to the global engineering disciplines.

Dr. Faisal Al Ayyan, HCT President & CEO, stressed the significance of the ASET conferences, which HCT is keen to host annually as an interactive platform that brings together academics, researchers, specialists and entrepreneurs to discuss the most recent technologies, research and applications in key areas of science and engineering.

He added the conferences support knowledge development and innovation, aligned to the country’s interest in promoting active participation of young students and graduates across different universities and colleges to keep them updated on the latest developments, and give them the opportunity to demonstrate and showcase their innovative projects.

Dr. Al Ayyan noted this year's conferences attached particular importance to sustainability, in line with the UAE's Year of Sustainability and the community orientation towards promoting a culture of sustainable work and performance. He pointed out that the event included two conferences on sustainability – “Renewable and Sustainable Energy” and “Sustainable Environment and Urban Infrastructure”, noting that these global events are of great importance in today's rapid information and knowledge revolution.

Professor Saud AlDajah, HCT Executive Dean of Engineering Technology & Science and ASET 2023 General Chair, said the SCOPUS-indexed conference was the largest of the 5-year series, with over 400 papers accepted and presented. “This represents an acceptance rate of about 65%, the highest to date and we are very pleased to note that we are joined by presenters and participants from over 30 countries,” Prof. AlDajah said.

He also noted there were more than 40 teams from different universities across UAE competing in the ASET Student Poster Competition that will see students display and discuss their innovative engineering solutions to pressing societal issues.

Keynote speaker Professor Yousef Haik, Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs at the University of Sharjah, a prominent researcher in nanotechnology, shared his fascinating research into energy harnessing and utilization from three sectors – algae, seawater and ambient energy sources –very salient fields of research in light of the UAE declaring 2023 as the Year of Sustainability. “Algae is a small uni-cell species that contains a lot of oil (lipids) and if you are able to extract that oil you can utilize that for subsequent applications,” Prof. Haik said.

He also discussed in detail the advancing research of using nanotechnology to harness the properties of seawater to produce hydrogen and the use of different devices to capture and store ambient energy.

Prof. Haik said his areas of research were designed to address specific needs of the global society over the next 50 years – those of energy, water, health and environment. “If you have energy, you will be able to produce clean water. If you have energy, then health could be improved, and the environment could improve,” he said.

He shared the three-pronged research was to address current energy sources, which are seen as not sustainable and environmentally unsafe. “Therefore, we are trying to find cleaner energy solutions, to be produced by solar and other solutions, such as nuclear micro-modular reactors. But you need to have other alternative energies that come with it (solar).”

Prof Haik noted that algae is seen as a possible solution to climate change, as it feeds on CO2 and with the relevance of COP27 and COP28, there is a global call to find a solution to CO2. “The good thing about algae is that it is a primitive plant that divides very fast. The cells contain lipids and its shell contain proteins. That cell divides very, very fast if you have the proper conditions … sunlight, a carbon source and water,” he said.

With the shortage of potable water, Professor Haik’s research used sewage and waste water. “If you have the land, water and sunlight you are able to produce a lot of algae,” he said. From that Prof. Haik said a biodiesel could be created from the algal lipids, resulting in future large-scale algae production as a biofuel, resulting in added values of reduced carbon monoxide and dioxide levels from diesels, environmental added values and better performance levels.

 ASET 2023’s 2nd Keynote Speaker, Sir Julian Young, Former-President of the Institution of Engineering & Technology in the UK - , described the symbiotic relationship between engineering skills, technology, people and global solutions, via personal and professional development, mixing academic and vocational training. “There is an absolute need to maintain that learning through life as technology is moving so quickly and it’s very easy to get left behind. We need to reflect on what almost all future engineers and technicians will need is to have some experience of digital skills,” Sir Julian said.

Sir Julian Young noted Engineers have a vital role to play in addressing the grave circumstances facing the world. “We already know that the biggest problem our globe faces at the moment is sustainability and to defeat climate change. It will be Engineers who solve those. We need everyone focused in order to do that. Engineers will ultimately save the world,” he said.

He also noted it was imperative for Engineers to keep up with the relentless speed of technological and digital change, lauding the UAE’s 2071 Centennial Vision, underpinned by its main objectives, particularly the investment in education, focusing on advanced digital skills, including AI, robotics and Machine Learning.

Sir Julian noted that by implementing such a mix of quality education, coupled with engineering and excellence and ethics in academic institutions, those institutions were able to grow entrepreneurship and innovation, investment in scientific research and advanced industries.

He encouraged industry, governments and academia to work more with schools to promote STEM learning programs and encourage creativity and problem solving – hallmarks of engineers. “Studying with practical training and experience helps bridge the gap of making young people work ready. It can work for anyone, in the UAE, in the UK, across the world,” he added.

Sir Julian said in order for engineers to avoid becoming irrelevant they need a broad range of educational and practical skills, particularly by maintaining professional development and training, as well as benchmarking internationally to “keep ahead of the field”. “One has to keep up with technology,” he said.

The nine sub-conferences covered the diverse fields of:

  1. Advanced Materials, Design & Manufacturing
  2. Aviation, Space Technology and Marine Transport
  3. Biomedical Engineering
  4. Innovations in Engineering Education
  5. Logistics and Industrial Systems Engineering
  6. Mechatronics, Industry 4.0, IoT and their Applications
  7. Nanostructured Materials and Nanotechnology
  8. Renewable and Sustainable Energy
  9. Sustainable Environment and Urban Infrastructure


A feature of the ASET 2023 multi-conferences was an exhibition of latest technologies, including robotics, by a number of HCT’s partners, as well as the international student poster competition, where over 150 Engineering students, from UAE-based universities, presented more than 40 innovative projects to a distinguished judging panel and to hundreds of scientists from around the world.


Visit https://hct.ac.ae/en/events/aset-2022/



Categories: Press Releases