Khalifa University of Science and Technology (Khalifa University) announced the fifth cohort of National Service and Reserve Authority (NSRA) recruits, who received their graduation honours from the Al Nokhba Programme. The NSRA students concluded their intense months-long training in the research and development of advanced sustainable technologies, building foundational knowledge and hands-on skills in robotics, smart systems, communications, environment, and energy.

The graduation ceremony was attended by Brigadier Khalifa Hamad Khalifa Al Kaabi, Chief of NSRA, Professor Sir John O’Reilly, President, Khalifa University, senior officials from NSRA, and Khalifa University leadership, as well as other dignitaries and guests.

Dr Arif Sultan Al Hammadi, Executive Vice-President, Khalifa University, said: “Khalifa University is proud to graduate the NSRA students and we congratulate them for their success and achievements. This graduation ceremony and the Al Nokhba Programme reflect the expanding cooperation between Khalifa University and the NSRA in academic, scientific and research areas. We believe the Al Nokhba graduates will be able to effectively apply technical, theoretical and practical solutions based on the latest technologies, for the benefit of the UAE, and the community in general.”

Khalifa University’s unique Al Nokhba Programme, launched in partnership with the NSRA in 2019, has graduated many students with their contributions being expected to support decision-making and enhance performance efficiency in the UAE defence sector. The Al Nokhba students completed their training courses, research projects and specific assignments, serving a dual purpose – building technical know-how, and serving as building blocks towards the assigned research and development tasks.

With support from Khalifa University faculty and staff, the Al Nokhba recruits worked on finding sustainable solutions to pressing environmental and societal challenges through their innovative projects, which included waste heat utilisation, wheat landraces for sustainable food production, quantum-inspired algorithms for nuclear reactor physics, multimodal data analysis, and additive manufacturing of energy-absorbing plate lattice structures.

The graduates also developed technologies such as a 6U CubeSat technology demonstrator, smart membranes for water treatment, and upcycling of bio-wastes into sustainable materials. Over the course of the programme, the Al Nokhba recruits actively engaged in research and development, while also creating solutions for the Maritime Grand Challenge 2024, representing the UAE and Khalifa University.

Moreover, the Al Nokhba recruits contributed to several R&D projects in autonomous driving, including the resilient coordinated management of autonomous vehicles for defence applications. The development of a target drone to be used in training and testing for civilian and defence applications was also one of the projects undertaken by the fifth cohort of the Al Nokhba Programme.

Other projects the Al Nokhba recruits completed included the Trustworthy Traceability, Certification and Compliance of the Use and Origins of UAVs and Keratin-based hydrogels for the removal of heavy metals in produced wastewater. In February 2023, a group Al Nokhba Programme recruits presented several advanced technology defence-related innovations in robotics and drones at the 16th edition of the International Defence Exhibition & Conference (IDEX 2023).

The Al Nokhba Programme aims to prepare recruits for postgraduate studies by providing the participants with relevant coursework, and helps to strengthen the technical capabilities of UAE national engineers. It also enables representation of the UAE in international competitions, involvement in scientific research and publishing research findings at scientific forums. On the other hand, the research-intensive Elite Programme, which is focused on developing solutions to current challenges, targets university students, especially those graduating from the top universities in the world. Participants are allowed to take a subject from accredited graduate programmes if they meet admission requirements.