Research Staff opportunities at MSDR group

General information

At the MSDR group, we are focusing on fundamental and applied membrane research for water desalination applications. We are also involved in research on the sustainability of desalination processes. Desalination research in general and membrane research in particular, is multidisciplinary. Thus there will be a number of opportunities for starting a career with MSDR. As new research grants become available, new positions open up for new research staff to join our team. Therefore, we encourage you to contact Prof. Arafat if you are interested in joining the MSDR group to find out if an opportunity is available for you at the time. A typical (non-comprehensive) list of tasks of the research staff within the MSDR group include:

• Development of new membrane materials for utilization in MD desalination

• Developing and conducting experimental protocols for the fabrication and characterization of membranes utilized in MD

• Assembly and operation of pilot testing units for desalination processes (MD, RO, FO)

• Modeling MD membranes and/or MD system performance

• Studying/modeling environmental impacts of desalination processes

• Publishing and presenting research results

• Managing the research facility and providing support to graduate students within the group

• Presenting lectures on relevant subjects within graduate courses

How to apply?

Applicants should have an excellent record of innovative and published research in a field relevant to our research. An earned doctorate in a relevant field (e.g., Chemical Engineering, Material Sciences, etc) from a reputable university is required. PhD candidates in the final stage of their study can also be considered. Excellent communication skills are essential. Fluency in written and spoken English is a must.

A postdoctoral positions within MSDR are for one year usually (with possibility of multi-year renewal based on performance and productivity). The Post-doc position offers a generous non-taxable salary following international standards.

Inquiries should be submitted electronically to Prof. Hassan Arafat (harafat@masdar.ac.ae) and should include: a cover letter (can be the email itself), detailed CV, 2-3 representative publications showing candidate’s research in a relevant area, and names and contact details of 3 references.

Scholarships for Master and Doctoral students

General information

The MSDR group is growing and our network of international collaboration is expanding. Therefore, we need highly qualified graduate students (both Master and Doctoral) to work on our ongoing and future research projects. To become a student at the MSDR group, you first need to apply directly to Masdar Institute (MI) through the Institute’s admissions website: (http://www.masdar.ac.ae/Admissions.html), where the latest official information about application requirements and application instructions can be found. We are part of the Water and Environmental Engineering program. So, to become a student at the MSDR group, you need to apply either for an MSc in Water and Environmental Engineering or for the multidisciplinary PhD program at Masdar Institute (more details below). If you are interested in working with the MSDR group, please let Prof. Arafat know by email (harafat@masdar.ac.ae) once you have applied. Also, please remember to indicate in your “statement of objective” (please see below) that you are interested in joining Prof. Arafat’s research group. All questions regarding the progress of your application should be directed to the Institute’s Admissions Office, which makes the final decision on admissions.

We have projects that are suitable for students with different backgrounds, including chemical engineering, chemistry, mechanical engineering, material science and engineering, and civil engineering. Applicants with any of the mentioned backgrounds can be accepted at Masdar Institute (you don’t necessarily need a BSc in Engineering). Applicants from all parts of the world are welcome. There is no application fee.

During either the two-year MSc program or the 4-year PhD program at MI, students will be taking graduate-level classes while pursuing research in their selected field. A thesis must be submitted at the end of the program. While students and faculty at MI represent over 30 different nationalities, all instruction is conducted in English. So, English proficiency is very important.

All admitted students will have the following benefits:

  • Full scholarships and financial assistantships to students from all nationalities. This includes: Full coverage of tuitions and fees, a generous monthly stipend, housing, medical insurance, once-a-year airline ticket to the student’s home country, a laptop, and books.
  • Opportunity to work in laboratories with state-of-the art equipment and with world-class collaborators.

How to apply?

1) MSc program:

Masdar Institute has a one-year admission cycle for the Masters program; the applications are accepted from November 1 until May 31 of each year, and admitted students start their studies in September. Here is a brief summary of admission requirements with some advice from our side:

  • TOEFL (or academic IELTS) – The minimum TOEFL score required is 91 (Internet based). Equivalent paper/computer based TOEFL is also accepted. The TOEFL can only be waived for native English speakers. If taking IELTS instead, the minimum academic IELTS score required is 6.5.
  • GRE General Examination is recommended. The most important part of the exam is Quantitative, where a minimum score of 700 (old scoring system) or 155 (new scoring system) is required, and even higher score is recommended. GRE Subject test is not required.

Applications without GRE scores can also be accepted. Successful applicants without GRE will be offered conditional admission. The conditionally admitted student can move to “normally admitted” status by taking GRE before starting their first term at MI and scoring at least 700 in the Quantitative part. If the conditionally admitted student does not pass the GRE by the beginning of his/her studies, he/she will be required to take a placement exam. If he passes the placement exams, the admission will be changed to “normal”. If he doesn’t pass the placement exams, the student will be required to take several 400-level math and technical courses in addition to normal course load of Masters students to compensate for the apparent lack of background.

If you are not familiar with TOEFL / GRE exams – these are standardized multi-choice tests which are widely used in the USA to evaluate applicant to graduate schools. Masdar Institute is built with MIT standards in mind, so similar admission requirements have been adopted. These tests are administered in many countries around the world. In some countries, the testing is available only few times a year (and it takes some time for the test scores to be sent to MI), so please plan in advance. If you passed the tests, but you don’t think the test scores will arrive on time, please contact the admissions office, as it might still be possible to consider your application.

  • Statement of Objective, which is a 1-2 page long document explaining your motivation for pursuing graduate studies at MI. Statement of Objectives is an important part of the applications. You can view it as your letter to the admission committee, where you have a chance to explain why you think you will become a successful student. If there is some specific positive aspect about your application you think MI should know about, please mention it. For example, if you have a GPA (average grade) of 3.2 out of 4.0, which might look low to us, but you mention that your school is notorious for strict grading and your GPA of 3.2 is actually in the top 5% of your class, and also point out that your low grades were mostly in humanities, then your GPA of 3.2 becomes a completely different story. It helps to be specific – facts are always better than general statements (i.e. if you argue that you should be admitted because “you want to save the Earth”, this is not very specific). It is important to mention the area of research you are interested in. It helps to mention specific topics you are interested in and the name of the professor you might consider working with, but this is not really necessary, we understand that students usually do not come with the specific research program in mind, and they need help formulating it.
  • The minimum required GPA is 3.0 on a 4.0 point scale. As mentioned above, it really helps if you explain how your GPA should be interpreted – different schools and countries often have completely different grading standards.
  • Three recommendation letters are required. At the time of the application, you will need to provide contact information of your referees, and MI will contact them directly.
  • The resume/CV is required, and it is an important part of your application, because it provides a good summary of your strengths.
  • The application deadline is May 31 of each year, but applications are reviewed throughout the year. Applicants are encouraged not to delay their applications until end of spring, because sometimes the paperwork and visa processing might take longer than usual and might not be completed by the start of the Fall term. Please note that you can apply while you are still in the last year of your current degree (BSc). The latest transcripts from your university are enough at the time of application, but you will need to submit your graduation diploma when you start your first semester at MI.
  • Kindly note that all admission decisions are made by the Admission Committee, not by Prof. Arafat or even the Water and Environmental Engineering Program. This means that by contacting Prof. Arafat, you cannot bypass the Institute’s admission process. You will still need to submit the formal application to the Institute, which will be evaluated as fairly as possible, without taking into account whether you introduced yourself or not. Also, Prof. Arafat cannot pre-evaluate applications and comment about chances of admission, or help applicants to improve their application.
2) PhD (Doctoral) Program:

The MSDR group has multiple open positions for PhD students interested in membranes and sustainable desalination research. Here is some information about the PhD program and the application requirements:

  • For the PhD program, students can start their studies in either the FALL or SPRING semesters.
  • To enter our PhD program, you must have a Masters degree. You can apply if you don’t have your MSc degree yet, but you are in the process of receiving it, in which case please indicate your expected graduation date (and be sure to graduate by that date).
  • If your ultimate goal is the PhD degree but you are not enrolled in a Masters degree yet, you should first apply to our Masters program. Then, in the last year of your Masters program, you can submit another application to the PhD program. Admission into the PhD program for current MSc students at MI is not guaranteed. However, if a student did a good job in his/her Masters studies, and is capable of making progress in his research project; it makes very little sense for his advisor not to support his application for a PhD degree at MI.
  • Application requirements for the PhD program are the same as for the Masters program; please make sure to check the Masters program section above. The additional requirement for PhD applicants is to submit a research proposal, as explained below. The rules for PhD applicants without GRE scores are different than for the MSc applications: unlike MSc admissions, conditional admission is not an option for PhD applications, and applicants without GRE can only be admitted in special cases when they have at least two journal or conference publications.
  • As mentioned above, all PhD applicants must submit a research proposal as a part of their application. Please do not be intimidated by this requirement. The proposal is simply about the general research area which interests you. MI does not expect you to present a very specific and detailed research proposal that you will undertake at Masdar. MI understands that most (if not all) students need help from their advisor and familiarity with the available facilities and the currently ongoing activities to formulate such a proposal. If you can formulate a specific research project, which is both interesting and technically feasible, this will definitely strengthen your application. However, if you don’t have a specific research project in mind and would like to work with Prof. Arafat’s MSDR group, please contact Prof. Arafat before you start your PhD application process to confirm if he will support your PhD application. If he does, he will work with you on developing the research proposal.