KAUST Brings University of Toronto Solar Technologies to Saudi Arabia


September 27, 2011 (Thuwal, Saudi Arabia): King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) and the University of Toronto (U of T) have signed a first-of-its-kind license agreement for rights to quantum dot solar cell technology coming out of the U of T.

Developed by Dr. Edward Sargent, Canada Research Chair in Nanotechnology at the U of T, Canada's premier research university, the technology uses quantum dots to convert the sun's power efficiently into electrical energy. Dr. Sargent's work has been funded by KAUST since 2008 as part of its Global Collaborative Research Program.

This technology has made great strides towards the goal of breaking the present-day constraining paradigm between high efficiency and low cost in solar cells. "Dr. Sargent has established himself as one of the world's leaders in developing innovative approaches to the provision of solar power and has the potential to have a positive impact on millions of people," said Professor Peter Lewis, Associate VP of Research at U of T. As a result of the potential of this research discovery, a technology licensing agreement has been signed by U of T and KAUST, brokered by MaRS Innovations, which will enable the global commercialization of this new technology.

"This agreement demonstrates a new way for research universities in developing countries to help transform local and regional economies by licensing-in intellectual property rights for the benefit of industry, especially new companies," said Terence McElwee, KAUST Director of Technology Transfer & Innovation.

The exclusive license covers 38 countries in the Middle East, Western Asia, Russia and India – a rapidly growing market of more than two billion people. While the technology is still in its early stages, KAUST views the Sargent team's work as a potential game-changer in solar energy. By securing early rights, KAUST is investing long term in Saudi Arabia's commitment to shift from an oil-based to a sustainable energy economy.

The agreement is expected to be the first of many by KAUST to help become a premier global technology broker and help develop Saudi Arabia as a regional hub of technology-based economic development. Inaugurated in 2009, KAUST¹s economic development vision is to become the leading model of technology based development in the Kingdom and to catalyze transformation of the Kingdom's economy.

About King Abdullah University of Science and Technology

King Abdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST) is an international, graduate university committed to advancing science and technology through transdisciplinary research, education and innovation. The University's unique matrix structure supports both basic and goal-oriented research in the globally significant areas of energy, water, food, and environment to benefit Saudi Arabia and beyond. Located on the Red Sea, KAUST is the realization of a decade-long vision of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, King Abdullah Bin Abdulaziz Al Saud. The University is governed by an independent, self-perpetuating Board of Trustees and supported by a generous endowment. KAUST's inaugural class of 300 master's students graduated December 2010.

About Engineering at the University of Toronto

The Faculty of Applied Science & Engineering at the University of Toronto is the premier engineering institution in Canada and among the very best in the world. With approximately 4,850 undergraduates, 1,600 graduate students and 230 professors, U of T Engineering is at the fore of innovation in engineering education and research. www.engineering.utoronto.ca

About MaRS Innovation

MaRS Innovation provides an integrated commercialization platform that harnesses the economic potential of the exceptional discovery pipeline of 16 leading Ontario academic institutions, including the U of T. MaRS Innovation is a not-forprofit organization with an independent, industry-led Board of Directors, funded through the Government of Canada's Networks of Centres of Excellence and contributions of its member institutions. MaRS Innovation advances commercialization through industry partnerships, licensing and company creation. www.marsinnovation.com


Rebekah Kapfer, Marketing Manager
KAUST Technology Transfer & Innovation
e-mail: rebekah.kapfer@kaust.edu.sa