2018 Center Industry Affiliates Program (CIAP) 9th Annual Meeting

04 December, 2018



2018 Center Industry Affiliates Program (CIAP) 9th Annual Meeting

The 9th Annual Meeting of the Center Industry Affiliates Program (CIAP) welcomed over 40 participants from the industry partners of the Water Desalination and Reuse Center led by Saudi Aramco, SWCC, DOW, National Water Company and Nalco Water. Representatives from the Ministry of Environment Water and Agriculture (MEWA) also graced the event with their participation. The theme for 2018 was 'Transforming the water cycle'. Consistent with WDRC's new research direction, lectures were grouped based on the topics of the three flagship themes for the center, namely: water security, waste to resource and greener desalination.



KAUST President Tony F. Chan in his 'Opening and Welcome Remarks'










WDRC Director                                                                                                           Professor Johannes Vrouwenvelder,

 Professor Matthew McCabe, WDRC Associate Director

The meeting officially started Tuesday, Nov. 27th with a welcome remark from KAUST President Tony F Chan. Under his new leadership, Dr. Chan shared his mission of developing a new strategic direction for KAUST. 'As KAUST approaches its second decade, there's both a "sense of pride and modesty" in knowing that more needs to be done. I hope it will happen thru the university's growing relationship with the industry partners', Dr. Chan said. A presentation on 'Water Desalination and Reuse Center Updates' by Prof. Johannes Vrouwenvelder, Center Director immediately followed. Prof. Vrouwenvelder introduced the new members of the center, Paul Buijs as the Center Liaison Officer who came early this year and Prof. Geert-Jan Witkamp, a faculty who joined the center in September. He also discussed a renewed center mission and vision and gave an overview of the faculty's research work pertaining to each flagship theme. 



Keynote Lecture on 'Water Security' by Eng. Aref Alkalali from the Ministry of Environment Water and Agriculture (MEWA)

Morning sessions began with a keynote lecture on the theme of 'water security' by Eng. Aref Alkalali from the Ministry of Environment Water and Agriculture (MEWA). Eng. Alkalali discussed the government's development of new strategies to reduce water consumption in the agriculture sector. He also mentioned that the government is currently setting up the framework on how artificial intelligence could be utilized in managing water consumption in the Kingdom. When asked on the topic of water reuse, he responded that 'for now, re-used water is used in agriculture but it might take some time to be openly accepted for other uses such as for drinking.'  He added that social acceptance would be a key factor in its success and that the government is also working with major global organizations to take their experience on how re-used water have become accepted in other countries and see how it could be applied in the Kingdom. 


Keynote speaker Mr. Olaf van der Kolk, Director of AquaMinerals B.V., The Netherlands

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 Poster Exhibition: 37 MS and Ph.D. students and postdoctoral fellows from the Water Desalination and Reuse Center showcased their research work.


In the afternoon, Mr. Olaf van der Kolk, Director of AquaMinerals B.V. from the Netherlands came to KAUST for the first time to give a keynote lecture entitled 'More value from water: Water in the circular economy' on the theme of 'waste to resource'. He enthusiastically shared about AquaMinerals's success in creating secondary raw materials from the water cycle in the Dutch market. Each keynote lecture was followed by the corresponding WDRC faculty research presentations for each theme. A poster exhibition from 3:00 p.m. concluded the first day of the meeting. About 37 participants from the center including M.S. and Ph.D. students and postdoctoral fellows contributed their efforts in the exhibit.


Keynote speaker Dr. Kevin Cullen, Vice President of Innovation and Economic Development at KAUST

Day 2 November 28th started with a 'Welcome and Day 1 Review' by Prof. Matthew McCabe, Associate Director of WDRC. It was followed by a thought-provoking topic entitled 'Impact...A change in behavior beyond academia' by Dr. Kevin Cullen, Vice President of Innovation and Economic Development at KAUST. Bringing to KAUST over 20 years of experience in academic innovation and business development, Dr. Cullen described how in recent years, more and more universities are following the 'university to impact' model which did not always end well simply because this model is not what a university is meant to do and way beyond its comfort zone. Rather, it is the 'industry formed' research he finds more relevant where the industry reaches out to the universities. In this model, the university hands over the responsibilities to the industry to create the impact and put the research to use. 'The earlier the scientist and industry start the conversation, the better', he said. 'My job is to ensure that knowledge flows thru channels as efficiently as possible so that the possibilities of impact are maximized.', Dr. Cullen added.



Keynote speaker Mr. Martin Stahl, Director of Infrastructure, Red Sea Development Company

The final keynote lecture was on the topic of 'greener desalination' entitled 'Brains for Brine: new approaches needed for old challenges' by Mr. Martin Stahl, Director of Infrastructure, Red Sea Development Company. The Red Sea Project is an exquisite luxury tourism destination setting a new standard of sustainable development and positioning Saudi Arabia on the global tourist map. The development aims to create a zero-liquid discharge desalination system. The Red Sea Development Company, supported by WDRC, will launch the 'Brains for Brine' challenge shortly. The objective is to have students from across the globe to bring in new ideas. Assisted by WDRC, the ideas will be developed into concrete plans, the best 3 plans will be awarded a $10,000 first prize at the Amsterdam International Water Week in November 2019.



Professor Jean Fréchet, KAUST Senior Vice President for Research opens the WDRC Pilot Facility

The WDRC Pilot Facility Opening Ceremony at 3:00 p.m. was the highlight and concluded the event on the second day. Professor Jean Fréchet, KAUST Senior Vice President for Research together with Prof. Johannes Vrouwenvelder, WDRC Director led the ribbon cutting and opening. Professor Fréchet commended the center for its valuable contribution to the research environment at KAUST and hopes that the opening of the WDRC pilot facility will be a precedent of more robust research activities in the future.







WDRC-2018 CIAP Annual Meeting organizers and volunteers led by Paul Buijs, Center Liaison Officer (back, right); Victor Otoadese, Business Manager (back, left) Front, left to right: Cecilia Balagtas, Yasmeen Najm, Nayda Ramiro, Shereen Bawazeer, Cairong Zheng, Yanjie Zhu, Alaa Ragab, Dr. Noor Zaouri