American University of Beirut

AUB researchers honored by World Economic Forum in recognition of their contributions to cutting-edge research

​​Sally Abou Melhem​, Office of Communications​​

The World Economic Forum announced its Class of 2020 Young Scientists, recognizing 25 exceptional researchers from around the world, under the age of 40, who are at the forefront of scientific discovery. Among them are AUB researchers, Drs. Joseph Costantine and Joanna Doummar.

“Very proud of two humble, brilliant and dedicated AUB scholars, Dr. Joseph Costantine from the Maroun Semaan Faculty of Engineering and Architecture​ and Dr. Joanna Doummar from the Faculty of Arts and Sciences​, for their selection as the only young scientists from the Middle East to be honored by the World Economic Forum," said Dr. Fadlo Khuri, AUB president, in his tweet commenting on the news.

Dr. Joseph Costantine's research leverages electromagnetism to design new generations of communication systems that accommodate future wireless platforms, novel sensors that tackle health monitoring challenges, and wirelessly powered devices that harvest ambient electromagnetic fields. This research pushes for a better quality of life through electromagnetism that is focused on human-centered transformative technology. Such technology addresses life challenges that extend from continuous non-invasive diabetes monitoring, to charging remote sensors using drones, in addition to deploying agile communication systems in areas without an existing infrastructure.

“Being part of this community of scientists enables me and my students to become agents of change from my research lab here at AUB, to the whole world. Our scientific arm is extended to reach forefront decision makers, through scientific discussions, interactions and active involvement," said Dr. Costantine. “Our aim is to address grand challenges facing Lebanon, the region and the world by pushing for scientifically evidenced policies and decisions. This selection is beyond an honor and I am very humbled and excited to be part of this journey that I am confident will be filled with plenty of endeavors."

Dr. Joanna Doummar's research entails the characterization of flow and transport in complex groundwater systems through process based models and the identification of contamination indicators. These models involve the acquisition of high-resolution time series from poorly monitored sites equipped with state-of-the-art instrumentation. This research aims at providing decision-makers with support tools to overcome water quality and quantity challenges under climate change conditions. It also helps tailor policies based on science-supported evidence in semi-arid and Mediterranean regions at high risk for water scarcity.

“I am so honored and excited to be among the WEF Young Scientists' class of 2020! Being part of this exceptional community is an opportunity to enlarge my scientific network beyond my field of expertise," said Dr. Doummar. “I also believe that successful integrated solutions require addressing current problems from their different scientific, technological, socio-economic and legislative perspectives, while making science accessible to local communities."

The Young Scientists were nominated by leading research institutes according to criteria including research excellence, leadership potential, and commitment to serving society, according to the World Economic Forum's announcement. They were selected on the basis of their achievements in expanding the boundaries of knowledge and practical applications of science in issues as diverse as child psychology, chemical oceanography, and artificial intelligence.

“We are looking forward to working with the Class of 2020 Young Scientists to help leaders from the public and private sector better engage with science and in doing so, help young researchers become stronger ambassadors for science, which the world needs now and will continue to need post-COVID-19," said Alice Hazelton, Programme Lead, Science and Society, World Economic Forum.

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