Our Latest News

Partnership Renewal with the Cambridge Trust

On our latest trip to Cambridge in late October 2019, we were welcomed into the Cambridge Trust’s new offices. Our trustee, Noor Attar, had the chance to meet with Trust Director, Helen Pennant, and Partnerships Manager, Tendai Kariwo, to discuss matters related to student affairs, advertising scholarship opportunities and future plans. We are happy to announce that both parties have agreed to renew our partnership with the Cambridge Trust for the next three years to continue offering joint support to master’s students attending the University of Cambridge. AlThuraya Cambridge scholarship is offered to students from the Middle East and North Africa region pursuing the following fields: Genetic Sciences and Bioinformatics, Public Health & Administration, Law, Computer Sciences and Telecommunications, Energy, Water & Agriculture. Both partners look forward to supporting deserving candidates starting in Fall 2020/2021.

For a full list of the approved master's programs and for guidance on applying, visit our ‘Programmes’ page.

Welcome Brunch

Earlier in October on behalf of AlThuraya foundation, the foundation’s managing director, Noor Attar, and academic advisor, Hanaa Almoaibed, hosted a brunch in Cambridge for the new students and fellow scholars. Two fellow scholars, Alaa and Hend, and two new students, Yomna and Rofaida, attended the brunch.

The brunch intended to introduce the new students to AlThuraya family. As Alaa and Hend welcomed the new students, they talked about their educational experiences in the UK and discussed the projects they worked on. Alaa has a Master’s degree in regenerative medicine from Imperial College London. Her thesis explored the use of stem cells technology to treat cardiomyopathy. Hend was the first student to receive AlThuraya Cambridge award. She studied for an MPhil in Epidemiology and her dissertation was on the effect of genetic mutations on the prognosis of Oesophageal cancer.

Rofaida and Yomna are both starting their masters at the University of Cambridge. Yomna from Libya is studying for a master’s degree in law with an interest in the relationship between law and the misuse of information. As for Rofaida, she is a medical doctor from Egypt currently studying medical genetics.

The brunch was a great opportunity for networking, and it is a symbol of the continued cooperation and support of AlThuraya family.

Reflection: Summer Research Internship at EPFL by Abdelrahman Ayad

As a graduate student at the University of Waterloo, I am investigating the cyber-physical security of Smart Distribution systems. I focus on evaluating the effects of cyber attacks that target the voltage control process of radial distribution systems. 

During summer 2018, I undertook an internship at EPFL, Switzerland. The internship work project was related to the COMMELEC project, part of smart grid project at EPFL. The COMMELEC project aims to control smart grids in real-time, and permits of large-scale integration of distributed generation resources and intelligent loads (such as renewable energy resources, batteries, e-vehicles, etc...).The ultimate objective of the COMMELEC is real-world deployment for practical usage in modern smart grids, as such all experiments are tested and implemented on real smart grids systems.

The research work consisted of two parts. First, implementation of secure communication between the grid agents and the resources agents in the framework, and eliminating any single point failures in the system. This ensures continuous secure and reliable operation of the framework. Second, creating a modular framework of prediction intervals algorithms for the photovoltaic (PV) resources agents. The algorithms predict the power a PV resource can provide in the next period, which is necessary for seamless operation with the variable and intermittent nature of solar energy.

This internship experience directly related to my research on cyber-physical security of distribution systems. Developing and testing in practice different experiences on a framework in real time on an actual power network evidently enabled a deeper and more practical perspective approach on the analysis of cyber-physical threats on distribution systems. After finishing the internship, I was able to base my power systems research work of voltage control on more realistic assumptions in terms of cyber-physical security of smart grids.

Interview with Bashar Alisber

Alumni Highlight

Bashar Alisber, 24, is a high achieving AlThuraya Alum currently working at Collins Aerospace. Bashar is originally from Homs, Syria. He moved to Chicago to attend Illinois Institute of Technology where he has obtained a Bachelors of Science in Aerospace Engineering.

How did you come to study aerospace engineering?

Working in aerospace has been my dream and passion since I was 15 years old. I had then attended the Space Day Event at the National Center for the Distinguished where a PhD holder from NASA delivered a speech about the International Space Station and NASA’s plans to explore Mars. From that point on, I was both inspired and determined to work in aerospace.

At IIT, you had a chance to work on a research for NASA, can you tell us more about that experience?

I had the chance of working under a PhD researcher for NASA, where our team worked on developing controllable adhesion technology for a robot to be used in outer space.

What have you been doing since you’ve graduated?

Shortly after graduation, I  joined Collins Aerospace. I have been with the company since January 2017.

Can you tell us more about Collins?

Collins Aerospace is a leader in technologically advanced and intelligent solutions for the global aerospace industry. It has been recently formed from the combination of UTC Aerospace Systems and Rockwell Collins. Collins Aerospace works with leading players in aerospace such as NASA, Boeing, and Airbus.

Can you tell us about the work you do at Collins? What does a normal day look like?

I work at the department of Air Management Systems. We provide environmental systems for the aircraft. Maintaining the quality of air with the proper pressure and temperature inside the cabin at an altitude of 30,000 ft. might sound simple but it is not, and this is where our department comes to play with the advanced environmental systems that work to provide that solution.

What does the dream look like to you?

I am currently living it! I want to continue to learn, grow, and expand my knowledge and skills to help advance the aerospace industry into new horizons.

Is pursuing Higher Education part of your future plans?

Yes, I plan to get my MBA in the future, while I work at the same time.

Why an MBA and not a an engineering degree?

Being here, I’ve been intrigued by how the business works, how to turn an idea into a product in this competitive field is mind boggling to me. I would be looking for an MBA focussed on the Aerospace Industry. I believe this will help in qualifying me for a leadership role within the company.

As for my job, I look forward to learning as much as I can about different aspects of the industry in my current role and in different positions which include, quality, supply chain, exploring the different products and fields, all in an effort to broaden my knowledge and get a glimpse of the big picture.

How do you envision giving back to the community and have you started?

Giving back to the community is something extremely important. It is part of being human in my opinion. And right now, I’m paying back through providing mentorship to Syrian youth who excelled in high school and would like to continue their higher education at top universities around the world. This volunteering opportunity was made possible by the Syrian Youth Empowerment initiative.

What was AlThuraya Foundation able to provide beyond financial support?

Al Thuraya has made my dream come true through the generous financial support and mentorship. Every time I needed advice and guidance on decisions related to academia or career, I found Al Thuraya founder Hossam Shobokshi there for me ready to help and answer all the questions that I had while connecting me with people who had the experience in the field I wanted to work at. He was there for us whenever we needed him, It is something we will never forget. As means to pay it forward, I have started mentoring Syrian youth, and would love to be amongst AlThuraya Foundation’s mentors network.

What would be your advise to current and Future AlThuraya Scholars?

Dream big and do not think for a second that your dream is impossible. All you have to do is put in the effort. AlThuraya has a great message here: they are building futures and investing in people by funding education. So work hard, make us proud, and remember to pay it forward.