Electrical and computer engineering professor Ted Sargent was recently awarded a $10-million grant from the brand new King Abdullah University of Science and Technology in Saudi Arabia. Sixty universities worldwide put forward nominees for the founding scholars of the new university, which will open its doors September 2009.

Sargent, 34, is relatively young for a professor of Canada Research Chair calibre. The U of T and Queen’s University grad was named one of the world’s top young innovators by MIT’s Technology Review in 2003, and a research leader in the “Scientific American 50” in 2005.

Also in 2005, Sargent and his research team made a breakthrough when they successfully converted infrared rays from the sun into electrical power.

“The KAUST award will enable critical breakthroughs to address today’s compromise between low cost and high performance solar energy, and will accelerate the cycle of innovation to transform the sun’s abundant rays into a practical, cost-effective source of energy to be enjoyed by the citizens of the world,” said Professor Cristina Amon, dean of U of T’s Faculty of Applied Sciences.

Professor Sargent will continue to work at U of T in addition to his collaborations at KAUST. He will be one of 12 scholars in the university’s founding group, and the only one from a Canadian university.

Professor Paul Young, VP research, nominated Sargent for the grant. “This is tremendously exciting for Ted,” he said. “He has made huge achievements at a relatively young age and this award will enable him to have even greater impact with his innovative work.”

Stay up to date. Sign up for our weekly newsletter, sent straight to your inbox:

* indicates required