SRTP History

     Sustainability Research and Training History

The University of California, Davis (UC Davis) and Diamond Developers (DD) of Dubai, United Arab Emirates, established an agreement in 2014 to conduct research and training relating to technologies, systems, social conditions and experiences entailed in building, living in, and maintaining communities that are designed for sustainable living. The research process was to be interdisciplinary, collaborative and engaged. Topics have focused on water, soil, solid waste management, food production, renewable energy, and the social conditions and experiences living in and maintaining communities which are designed for sustainable living.

SRTP Chronology 

This chronology documents the many relationships and meetings that have contributed to the development and implementation of the Sustainability Research and Training Program (SRTP).

June 2010:

 Mr. Faris Saeed, CEO and Dr. Fabiana Tessele of Diamond Developers visited UC Davis for one week. They met with Chancellor Linda P. B. Katehi, Interim Provost Enrique J. LaVernia, Vice Chancellor for Research Barry Klein, Deans and faculty of Division of Social Science, Engineering, College of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences, and Graduate School of Management.  During this visit Mr. Saeed proposed a UC Davis Dubai Center for Environmental Studies, focusing initially on training professionals in waste management and water treatment.  At this point, he envisioned the center evolving into a college.  He offered to provide the land and start-up costs.  During this visit he learned about UC Davis plans to develop West Village, a model zero net energy community. Their UC Davis visit was co-hosted by: Dean George R. Mangun, of the College of Letters and Science; Ms. Victoria Austin, assistant director of Institute of Social Sciences; and Distinguished Professor Suad Joseph.

September 2010:

Dr. Stephen Everhart, associate dean of the School of Business and Richard Tutwiler, director of Desert Development Center ***, both from the American University in Cairo collaborated on a biogas project with Dr. Ruihong Zhang, Department of Biological and Agricultural Engineering, UC Davis.

November 2010:

Mr. Faris Saeed returned to UC Davis where he met with faculty from the colleges of engineering, agriculture and environmental sciences, letters and sciences, as well at the Chancellor Katehi, and the Vice Chancellor for Research.

November 2012:

  Mr. Faris Saeed, Mr. Wassim Adlouni and Mr. Phil Dunn from Diamond Developers came to UC Davis where they met with Chancellor Linda P. B. Katehi, Vice Provost William Lacey, Vice Chancellor for Research Harris Lewin, Vice Chancellor John Meyer, Dean George R. Mangun, Dean Enrique Lavernia, Associate Dean Karen McDonald, and faculty and staff from the colleges of engineering, agriculture and environmental sciences, and letters and sciences.  These included: Dr. Roger Boulton, Dr. Mary Delany, Dr. Omnia El Shakry, Dr. Julia Fan, Dr. Fadi Fathallah, Mr. Ben Finkelor, Dr. Rima Habib, Dr. Timothy Hartz, Ms. Shayma Hassouna, Dr. Jim Hill, Dr. Jan Hopmans, Dr. Byran Jenkins, Dr. Tina Jeoh, Dr. Suad Joseph, Ms. Katherine Kerline, Dr. Richard Kiehl, Dr. Martha Krebs, Dr. Sashi Kunnath, Ms. Karen McDonald, Dr. Flagg Miller, Ms. Maureen Miller, Dr. Susan Miller, Dr. Adam Moule, Dr. Ahmet Palazoglu, Dr. Raul Piedrahita, Dr. Rosane Oliveira, Dr. Noha Radwan, Dr. Anna Scaglione, Dr. Marc Schenker, Dr. Kate Skow, Dr. Jocelyn Sharlet, Dr. Pieter Stroeve, Dr. Tamara Swaab,  Dr. Baki Tezcan, Dr. Tom Tomich, Dr. Spyros Tseregounis, Mr. Mark Van Horn, Dr. Jerry Woodall, and Dr. Bassam Younis, Dr. Ruihong Zhang.  They met with students of Middle East/South Asia Studies:  Amanda Batarseh, Israa Abd el-Fattah, Amy Riddle, Caroline McKusick, Hakeem Naim, Saliem Shehadeh, and Kevin Smith. Mr. Saeed and Chancellor Katehi signed a memorandum of understanding to develop a UC Davis Sustainable Engineering Research Center and a Social Research Center in Dubai. 

January 2013:

 Chancellor Katehi appointed a committee chaired by Distinguished Professor Suad Joseph to plan her visit to Dubai, UAE and Doha, Qatar for November of 2013 and to develop a master agreement with Diamond Developers in Dubai.  Committee members included Professor Bryan Jenkins, Executive Associate Vice Chancellor for Research Administration Cindy Kiel and Executive Director, Research Administration Ahmad Hakim-Elahi.  The committee developed exhibits for the proposed UC Davis Sustainable Engineering Research and Training Center and the Social Research and Training Center for the Sustainable City.  A meeting of the presidents of the BCBCB Consortium was planned for Dubai in November as well.  Diamond Developers offered to be the local host and the invitations were extended and accepted by BCBCB presidents from American University of Beirut, American University in Cairo, Lebanon American University and Birzeit University.  The original November timing was postponed to March 2014. 

February 2014:

 Diamond Developers and UC Davis signed a master collaboration agreement for sustainability research and training.

March 2014:

Chancellor Linda Katehi, senior administrators and faculty from UC Davis visited Dubai for the ceremonial signing of the Sustainability Research and Training Program (SRTP) agreement and to witness the construction phase of The Sustainable City.  These meetings generated ideas for new SRTP projects including how to define indices of sustainable operations at a neighborhood level and the need for online curriculum on sustainable development.  The UC Davis delegation included Chancellor Linda Katehi, Vice Chancellor of Research Harris Lewin, Vice Provost for University Outreach and International Programs William Lacy, Professor Bryan Jenkins and Distinguished Professor Suad Joseph.

March 2014:

Diamond Developers hosted the BCBCB Consortium presidents, provosts and steering committee members in Dubai.  It was agreed to include provisions to include BCBCB Consortium researchers in the SRTP calls for proposals.  Each delegate presented the sustainability initiatives at their universities.  More can be found about their presentations here ***.  In addition to the UC Davis delegation listed above, the BCBCB participants included:  President Peter Dorman and Provost Ahmad Dallal from the American University of Beirut; Associate Provost Ted Purinton and Dean Tarek Shawki from the American University in Cairo; Dean George E. Nasr and Professor Fuad A. Hasha from Lebanese American University, and President Khalil S. Hindi and Vice President Henry R. Giacaman of Birzeit University.

May 2014: 

 Mr. Faris Saeed, CEO, and Mr. Wassim Adlouni, Executive Director of Diamond Developers, Dubai, UAE visited UC Davis at the invitation of Distinguished Professor Suad Joseph and Professor Brian Jenkins. They presented their plans to develop The Sustainable City, an urban community intended to offer sustainable design solutions in the arid climate of Dubai. Mr. Saeed and Mr. Adlouni participated in discussions regarding potential areas for collaborative research. The visit included meetings with executive and academic leaders including: Chancellor Linda Katehi; Vice Chancellor for Research Harris Lewin; Vice Chancellor John Meyer; Vice Provost William Lacey; Dean Helene Dillard of the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences; Associate Dean Jan Hopmans of the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences; Dean George Mangun, of the College of Letters and Science; Associate Dean Paul A. Griffin from the Graduate School of Management; Mr. Sid England, assistant vice chancellor for environmental stewardship and sustainability; Ms. Cindy Kiel executive associate vice chancellor for research administration; Dr. Ahmad Hakim-Elahi, executive director, Research Administration.   They met with faculty members in the Middle East South Asia program which included: Ms. Shayma Hassouna; Dr. Baki Tezcan; Dr. Sunaina Maira; Dr. Flagg Miller; Dr. Noha Radwan; Dr. Sudipta Sen; Dr. Jocelyn Sharlet; and Dr. Smriti Srinivas.   They met with faculty and staff working on sustainability issues including Mr. Tobias Barr, Dr. Nicole Woolsey Biggart, Dr. Kenneth Burtis, Dr. Christina Cogdell, Dr. Gustavo Collantes, Dr. Jean-Pierre Delplanque, Dr. Fadi Fathallah, Mr. Benjamin Finkelor, Dr. William Glassley, Dr. Jan Hopmans, Dr. Kevin Johnson, Dr. Frank Loge, Dr. Adam Moule, Dr. Deborah Niemeier, Dr. Simon Sadler, Dr. Pieter Stroeve, Dr. Julie Sze, Dr. Susan Verba, Dr. Jean VanderGheynst, and Dr. Ruihong Zhang.   The visit included a tour of West Village and the campus biodigester and a trip to San Francisco where they met with Ms. Miriam Mendoza Moody and Mr. Adam Tobin. 

May 2014:

  The First SRTP Call for Proposals was released.

August 2014:

  The First Call SRTP research awards were announced on topics of water treatment, waste recycling, composting and innovative methods for the generation of renewable energy through heat and solar sources. 

August 2014:

   Distinguished Professor Suad Joseph convened a committee of UC Davis faculty and staff to develop an approach to develop indices of sustainability.  The committee met six times over the next year.  Other members included Dr. Karen Beardsley, Dr. Nicole Biggart, Dr. Bryan Jenkins, Dr. Alan Meier, Dr. Jim Quinn, Dr. Julie Sze and Ms. Francesca Wright.

October 2014:

Indices committee met with Mr. Mohamed Ghunaim and Dr. Tim Rogmans of Diamond Developers via Skype to clarify the objectives for a new set of sustainability indicators. 

October 2014:

The Second SRTP Call for Proposals was released.

October 2014:

The BCBCB Steering Committee met in Cairo.  Topics discussed included the SRTP research grant program, the work of the SRTP Indices Committee, and online curriculum.

December 2014:

The SRTP Indices Committee developed a white paper which was presented to Diamond Developers outlining four approaches with budgets for the development of indicators of sustainability at a community level.

SRTP Indices Committee

BCBCB Consortium Steering Committee Members in Cairo, October, 2015.  From left to right are Ted Purinton (AUC), Nesreen Ghaddar (AUB), President Lisa Anderson (AUC), Suad Joseph (UCD), Henry Jaquaman(Birzeit) and Fuad Hashwa (LAU).


February 2015:

Dr. Suad Joseph met with Mr. Faris Saeed in Dubai to discuss developments in the Sustainability Research and Training Program. 

April 2015: 

The Third SRTP Call for Proposals on topics that integrated technical and social aspects of sustainability was released.

May 2015: 

Mr. Faris Saeed and Mr. Wassim Adlouni of Diamond Developers, Dubai returned to UC Davis.  Dean Mangun, of the College of Letters & Science hosted a luncheon with presentations by faculty and students of Middle East and South Asia Studies: Dr. Omnia El Shakry; Dr. Baki Tezcan; Ms. Shayma Housanna, Dr. Jocelyn Sharet, Ms. Abire Sabbagh, and Dr. Suad Joseph.  They met with Dean Paul M. McNeil, Dr. Jeff Loux, and Ms. Julia Lave Johnston from UC Davis Extension to discuss online courses on topics related to sustainability.  They met with Chancellor Linda Katehi, Provost Ralph Hextor, Mr. David Lawlor, Ms. Cindy Kiel, Dr. Bryan Jenkins, Dr. Suad Joseph and Ms. Francesca Wright. Vice Chancellor Harris Lewin discussed the possibility of a Center for Excellence at UC Davis with Mr. Saeed via Skype.  They also met with members of the Indices Committee including Dr. James Quinn, Dr. Alan Meier and Dr. Nicole Biggart. The visitors viewed the UC Davis composting reactor with Dr. Pramod Pandey and discussed food safety issues with Dr. Ameer Taha.  Their visit concluded with presentations from students in the Middle East South Asia program.

July 2015: 

The Indices Committee presented Diamond Developers and the Chancellor with a scope of work for advancing the development of meaningful indicators of sustainability for communities in the Middle East. The proposed project approach examined operational sustainability of communities by focusing on the environmental flows and conditions that most significantly impact sustainability in the Middle East and Northern Africa (MENA) regions. The proposed process relied on disclosure of data and transparency of calculations to ensure credibility. 


August 2015:

A research team from UC Davis and American University in Cairo were selected in response to the Second SRTP Call for Proposals.   Their topic was to identify and adapt best practices for promoting a culture of sustainability.  See more.


October 2015:

  Dr. Tim Rogmans and Professor Bryan Jenkins presented at the Ecocities World Summit in Abu Dhabi on the UC Davis – Diamond Developers partnership for sustainable development: the Sustainability Research and Training Program.  Their presentation can be found here.

October 2015:

Diamond Developers hosted two days of meetings in Dubai. The first was with a delegation from UC Davis which included Chancellor Linda Katehi, Vice Chancellor David Lawlor, Vice Provost for Global Affairs Joanna Regulska, Distinguished Professor Suad Joseph and Professor Bryan Jenkins.  At this meeting existing and proposed collaborative activities were discussed.  The following day, the BCBCB Consortium toured The Sustainable City and discussed priorities for collaborative research.  In addition to the UC Davis delegation, participants included:  President Fadlo Khuri and Interim Associate Provost Hala Muhtasib from the American University of Beirut; Provost Sherif Sedky and Vice Provost for Research Ehab Abdel-Rahman from the American University in Cairo; President Abdul Latif Abu Hijleh and Vice President Henry R. Jaquaman from Birzeit University, Chancelor Bjӧrn  Kjerfve, Interim Vice Provost Khaled Assaleh and Professor Nawar Al-Hassan Golley from the American University of Sharjah; and President Joseph G. Jabbra and Professor Fuad A. Hashwa from Lebanese American University.


April 2016: 

The three proposals selected in response to the third SRTP Call for Proposals were announced on topics related to resident’s transportation, using vegetation to mitigate urban micro-climates, and electrical energy storage. (See more)

May 2016:

  Dr. Suad Joseph met with Mr. Faris Saeed, Mr. Wassim Adlouni, Dr. Tim Rogmans and Karim El-Jisr at the Diamond Developers office, Festival City, Dubai.  At this meeting, the Diamond Developers PhD Fellowship Program in Sustainability Studies was established.  This new program will provide full scholarships for PhD students admitted to UC Davis from the Arab League nations in fields related to sustainability. Diamond Developers affirmed their offer to host UC Davis and BCBCB offices at what is now being called The Sustainable City Innovation Center.

October 2016:

  Dr Suad Joseph met with Mr. Faris Saeed, Mr. Wassim Adlouni, Dr. Tim Rogmans and Karim El-Jisr at The Sustainable City.  University of California Extension sent two representatives to work with Diamond Developer staff to develop an online course on urban farming.