An honorary ceremony was held on October 1, 2014 to announce the recipients of the CNRS-L/AUB award. This award was established in 2012 as a result of an agreement between the Lebanese National Council for Scientific Research (CNRS-L) and the American University of Beirut (AUB), whose partnership was based on the common goal of supporting graduate studies and research in Lebanon. The doctoral scholarship award provides funding for a period of three years to each awardee and allows them to conduct research in various scientific disciplines.
As in the two previous years, eight awards were given. Currently 24 PhD students are being funded as a result of this award. This year’s honorees are conducting research in the areas of Biomedical Sciences, Civil and Environmental Engineering, and Electrical and Computer Engineering.
The ceremony was opened with a word of welcome by Dr. Rabih Talhouk, the Chairperson of the Graduate Council at AUB. Dr. Ahmad Dallal, Provost of AUB, spoke of knowledge creation as a primary common goal of AUB and CNRS. He also stressed AUB's commitment to graduate studies, research, and PhD programs, illustrating AUB's growth with figures showing growth in all of these aspects. Among the most notable of these figures were the following:
• PhD Students: Over a six-fold increase in the number of PhD students since AUB reinstated PhD studies in 2007
• Publications and Citations: In the past five years, the number of papers published in journals and conference proceedings has doubled, and the number of citations has increased by 75%
• Awards Received: AUB has averaged 3 international or regional awards per year over the past five years
• QS World Ranking: AUB has risen to 249 in the QS world university rankings, over 100 spots higher than its ranking in 2009
Dr. Moueen Hamzeh, the CNRS Secretary-General, spoke on behalf of CNRS, noting that the award was part of a greater effort in which "Lebanese universities, research centers and science policy institutions, together with private enterprises and other societal organizations, are continuously striving to grasp the challenges and opportunities in changing Lebanon into an efficient knowledge-based society." Dr. Hamzeh reported a near four-fold increase in the number of Lebanese publications between 2000 and 2013.
Among the invitees were members of the CNRS Board of Directors, the Deans of AUB Faculties, Chairs of Faculty Graduate Studies Committees, and Chairpersons of Departments offering PhD Programs (Arts & Sciences, Medicine, Engineering & Architecture, and Agriculture & Food Sciences), and academic advisors and parents of the recipients.
AUB President Peter Dorman, along with the speakers, presented certificates to the awardees:
- Ms. Malak Jalal Al Hattab (Civil and Environmental Engineering)
- Mr. Gilbert Badaro (Electrical and Computer Engineering)
- Ms. Crystal Ghantous (Biomedical Sciences)
- Mr. Hussein Kassem (Civil and Environmental Engineering)
- Ms. Nour Kouzayha (Electrical and Computer Engineering)
- Mr. Noel Maalouf (Electrical and Computer Engineering)
- Ms. Farah Saab (Electrical and Computer Engineering)
- Ms. and Sirine Taleb (Electrical and Computer Engineering)