Knowledge Gained from Two-Week Japan Experience Scalable and Translatable to Other Situations, Says Edgar Samano Baca
Abu Dhabi-UAE: 01 June, 2014 – Masdar Institute of Science and Technology, an independent, research-driven graduate-level university focused on advanced energy and sustainable technologies, and the Toyota Motor Corporation, one of the world’s largest automotive manufacturers today jointly announced that the second Masdar Institute-Toyota scholar will successfully complete his two-year program this week.
The Masdar Institute-Toyota Scholarship was established from the prize money Toyota received in 2010 after winning the Zayed Future Energy Prize for its innovative hybrid Prius. The scholarship is designed to promote opportunities for students to work on projects in the area of technologies for sustainable development. Edgar E. Samano Baca from the Masdar Institute Engineering Systems and Management program will be completing the program this year on his graduation day. In addition to the standard Masdar Institute benefits, the scholarship recipients are provided with a special two-week ‘Japan Experience’ arranged by Toyota.
Nobuyuki Negishi, Chief Representative of Middle East & North Africa Representative Office, Toyota Motor Corporation, said: “Edgar Samano Baca spent his Japan Experience learning about how closely sustainability is integrated into every aspect of Japanese social and work culture. We hope he will use this experience for future research and to develop innovative solutions with the academic capabilities he has gained at Masdar Institute. We wish him the best.”
Dr. Fred Moavenzadeh, President, Masdar Institute, said: “The second Masdar Institute-Toyota scholar has also proved his mettle as a Masdar Institute student through his close involvement in the research project. We congratulate him on his accomplishments and thank the UAE leadership for supporting us in our human capital development efforts. We also thank Toyota for their contribution and wish Edgar Samano Baca good luck.”
Dr. Nawal Al-Hosany, Director of Sustainability, Masdar, and Director of Zayed Future Energy Prize, said: “We are delighted to congratulate Edgar Samano Baca, the second Toyota scholar at Masdar Institute, who is set to graduate on 4 June. The Zayed Future Energy Prize is proud to have contributed to creating a future energy leader and we hope to continue our contribution to driving innovation in clean energy through supporting talented students.”
As the 2014 Toyota scholar, Baca participated in a research project that studied the effect of passive shading on the productivity of urban residents.
Explaining Baca’s contribution to sustainable technology his faculty advisor Dr. I-Tsung Tsai, Assistant Professor, Engineering Systems and Management, said: “Edgar’s research studies human mobility decision under low carbon building and transport systems. His study has a very positive contribution to the deployment of sustainable technology. His research focuses on how human beings adapt to harsh weather conditions with different mobility choices when moving around the city. His study provides fundamental contribution to which sustainable technology should be developed to enhance human mobility in future urban systems.”
About his research, Baca said: “Productivity is important because it is directly tied to the social and economic aspects of sustainability – the third being environmental. By developing a modeling approach that characterizes this effect, it becomes possible to apply this knowledge towards a more sustainable urban design where all the passive elements of an urban system are optimized for productivity, health, and energy consumption. In addition to this, I also took part in the development of an axiomatic design-based approach for the enumeration of passenger degrees of freedom in a transportation system.”
The 2014 Toyota Scholar spent his two-week customary ‘Japan Experience’ that revolved around sustainability efforts by companies, government offices, and NGOs in Japan. Most of the program took place either in Tokyo, Shirakawa-go, Toyota City or Kyoto. In Tokyo, company visits were combined with sightseeing opportunities, and special attention was paid to efforts that are feasible within the infrastructure of a large city.
In Shirakawa-go, located in a hilly forested area, the central theme was living in balance with nature. Traditional houses use only the resources available to them nearby in their construction, and food is produced locally. In Toyota City, Baca visited a wide array of Toyota facilities, including a manufacturing plant and a recycling facility. In Kyoto, the learning activities focused mostly on sightseeing.
Baca added: “Much of the ideas and knowledge gained from this experience are scalable and translatable to other situations, which make them viable solutions for the right time and place. Also, the way of approaching problems in Japan, particularly with the constraints of limited space and natural resources, is a powerful example of what could be accomplished in a relatively short time with the support of government, private institutions and public opinion.”
Each year, the Masdar Institute-Toyota scholarship is awarded to a first year student in one of the Master’s programs at Masdar Institute.