Arizona State University (ASU) has been selected to lead a new Center of Excellence for Energy in Egypt.

The five-year, $22 million project is sponsored by the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID) and will work to improve the capacity of Egypt’s higher education institutions to drive public and private sector innovation, modernization and competitiveness; strengthen government policy to stimulate economic growth; and contribute solutions to the country’s development challenges in the energy sector.

The Center of Excellence for Energy will work to meet these objectives in close collaboration with three Egyptian universities: Ain Shams University, Aswan University, and Mansoura University.

The center will also cultivate partnerships with a broad range of stakeholders from the Government of Egypt, including the Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research, or MOHESR, and critical entities in the energy industry.

As the lead institution, ASU will support all three partner universities in advancing research, curriculum development, workforce training, policy, and other aspects of the Egyptian energy sector. There will also be a strong focus on attracting and recruiting underrepresented groups such as women, persons with disabilities, and financially needy students.

The USAID award will enable ASU to bring 30 faculty members and 60 graduate students from Egypt to Arizona, giving them experiential learning opportunities in labs and preparing them to face large and small energy-related challenges back home.

The Center of Excellence for Energy will be led by Sayfe Kiaei, a professor of electrical engineering in the School of Electrical, Computer and Energy Engineering, one of seven Ira A. Fulton Schools of Engineering and supported by an experienced team of technical and operations staff both in Egypt and the U.S.

Dr. Kiaei led a successful five-year program funded by the USAID for over $45M in Pakistan, resulting in two new university colleges in energy with over ten new degrees, 75 new courses, and more than 1000 new master’s and doctoral students enrolled in the program. ASU hosted over 225 exchange researchers from the partner universities in Pakistan working in the energy engineering research labs with the ASU students and faculty.

“One goal of the center is to create enough momentum in research and education that we go beyond meeting just basic energy needs,” Sayfe Kiaei. “We want to foster success in Egypt and also be a positive workforce developer in the Gulf region.”

Research is also a cornerstone of the project. Twenty-five percent of the USAID sponsorship budget will go toward research in all areas of energy production, including natural gas but also renewables such as solar and wind as well as battery technology. Each year, the Center of Excellence for Energy will select 15 projects from a competitive application process for the next three years. Research projects will happen at ASU and all three Egyptian university partners.

Dr. Kiaei understands that many factors will determine the center’s success, but the full effect won’t be realized for years.

“The most significant impact we’ll see from the center may take up to 10 to 15 years when participants from the program will be in policymaking positions, crafting laws and leading countries based on their education shaped by this endeavor,” he says.

The Center of Excellence for Energy’s development, funding, and assistance are from the American people through the USAID program for Egypt.

The USAID administers the U.S. foreign assistance program providing economic and humanitarian assistance in more than 80 countries worldwide.