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His Excellency Engineer Essa Bin Hilal Al-Kuwari and Dr. Ioannis G. Economou
Dr. Ioannis G. Economou, representing the Texas A&M Engineering Experiment Station, and His Excellency Engineer Essa Bin Hilal Al-Kuwari, Qatar General Electricity and Water Corporation president and chair of the Smart Grid Center at Qatar Steering Committee. | Image: Texas A&M Engineering

The Texas A&M Engineering Experiment Station (TEES), represented by the Texas A&M Cybersecurity Center, has signed a new collaborative agreement with the Qatar General Electricity and Water Corporation (KAHRAMAA), which aims to strengthen cooperation between both parties in relation to cybersecurity.

The agreement was signed at Texas A&M University at Qatar by His Excellency Engineer Essa Bin Hilal Al-Kuwari, KAHRAMAA president and chair of the Smart Grid Center at Qatar Steering Committee, and Dr. Ioannis G. Economou, associate dean for academic affairs at Texas A&M at Qatar, who was representing Dr. Dimitris Lagoudas, TEES deputy director. 

Under this collaboration agreement, TEES experts will study the current situation in KAHRAMAA’s grid and give recommendations for current and future development opportunities for the corporation to become a pioneer as a cybersecure grid. The agreement will also establish an industry consortium to study current and future development opportunities for the State of Qatar where needed, and a mechanism to develop and manage projects related to cybersecurity.

“For more than 100 years, TEES has engineered solutions to real-world problems, with significant input and collaboration from industry and government,” said Economou. “Texas A&M at Qatar and its TEES extensions are proud to continue that tradition in Qatar, and this partnership with KAHRAMAA is just the latest example of these strong ties to industry. We are proud to collaborate with KAHRAMAA as it works to transform its utilities and power grid into a smart, cybersecure grid for the benefit of Qatar and its people.”

This agreement will also enable sharing expertise and research studies in several areas, including cybersecurity assessment and vulnerability, malware infrastructure analysis and related research areas, such as critical infrastructure protection. Moreover, through this collaborative agreement, TEES will offer certificate programs and training opportunities for KAHRAMAA nominees to acquire cybersecurity knowledge and skills for their careers.

Al-Kuwari said, “This further cooperation between KAHRAMAA and TEES, represented in one of its important centers, namely the Texas A&M Cybersecurity Center, is an excellent embodiment of an extended successful partnership between our two entities. Smart grid helps utilities conserve energy, reduce costs, increase reliability and transparency and make processes more efficient.

"However, it increases use of IT-based electric power systems, which can increase cybersecurity vulnerabilities, which increases cybersecurity’s importance. That’s why we pay great attention to our grid security, by identifying vulnerable areas if any, and other related strategic issues through a layered security approach, proper data management and privacy concerns through KAHRAMAA’s staff efforts, and the support of our expert partners, such as TEES, which is our second collaboration together.”

This new agreement expands a previous partnership between KAHRAMAA and TEES to investigate smart grid technologies and challenges to implementation on the Qatar grid through TEES’ Smart Grid Center and its Qatar extension. The initial study aims to give recommendations to advance efficient use of electric energy and the full transform of the electricity grid in Qatar into a smart grid, promote collaboration to investigate smart grid challenges, and deliver innovative and effective smart grid solutions.