The grant will support a new Center of Excellence in Energy at Ain Shams University, Mansoura University, and Aswan University that helps connect researchers at those institutions with experts at MIT as they pursue innovative solutions to Egypt's energy challenges. Led by MIT mechanical engineering professors Ahmed Ghoniem and Daniel Frey, the center will bring together Egyptian faculty and students and researchers at MIT to develop renewable-energy solutions to such common problems as the open-field burning of biomass, which generates enormous amounts of pollution and greenhouse gases. The grant also will enable MIT to bring faculty and graduate students from the Egyptian universities to Cambridge to learn more about its approach to large, energy-related challenges.
The center is one of three such USAID-funded centers to be established through formal partnerships between Egyptian and American universities and the private sector. In addition to the MIT-led center, Cornell University will partner with Cairo University and the American University in Cairo will partner with Alexandria University to address challenges in the areas of agriculture and water, respectively.
"Egypt is one of those places that is likely to suffer significantly from climate change," said Ghoniem. "If we learn how to solve these problems there, we can learn to scale the solutions and use them in many other places that need them as well."