Rafat Al Afif, Syria
- Employment: Senior Scientist and Lecturer, University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, Vienna (BOKU)
- Scholarship: North-South-Dialogue Scholarship Programme; Ernst Mach Follow-up Grant
- Duration: 06/2006 – 09/2011; 07/2015 – 09/2015
- Philosophy of life: Patience surpasses knowledge.
Rafat Al Afif is currently working as a senior scientist and lecturer at the Institute for Chemical and Energy Engineering (IVET), University of Natural Resources and Life Science, Vienna, Austria. In addition, he lectures at the FH Campus Vienna. Prior to that, until 2015, he was an associated professor at Damascus University, Syria. During his career he joined the “Higher Commission for Scientific Research in Syria” and acted as vice-chairman of the Committee of Bioenergy in Syria.
Fundamental and applied research in combination with research-related teaching and language skills (English, Russian, Arabic and German) provide the basis for his work in the field of sustainable energy technologies.
His research activities emphasise the investigation of bioenergy as a renewable energy source. The main topic of his scientific studies is the conversion of biomass into an array of energy-related products: heat, electricity, liquid, solid and/or gaseous fuels. The international orientation of his research with regards to publications, projects, cooperation, and exchange of experience is essential for a leading position in the field. Furthermore, Rafat Al Afif is involved in a number of research initiatives including an APPEAR-funded project on developing maker‐movement‐inspired training courses on renewable energy sources in the Gaza Strip | MakingFutureEnergy4Palestine.
If there is a word that best describes one person, one university or one agency, then for the OeAD, I would choose the word 'hope'. In order to improve yourself, to accomplish success and to make a difference you need to be surrounded by qualified people. Because of the OeAD scholarship programme I have met the best colleagues and friends at the BOKU, Margarita Calderón-Peter, Tobias Pröll, Christoph Pfeifer and Martin Wendland, who gave me and my family hope for a better future.
With the help of my new colleagues I managed to successfully develop not only my foreseen working plan but also to further extend my research and to obtain new results in a working field that combines the knowledge of all of us. On the one hand, the results foreseen in the research plan were published in international journals and accepted at scientific conferences, namely the 10th International Conference on Sustainable Energy & Environmental Protection 2017, Slovenia; Biochar Conference 2017, Italy; and the 13th International Conference on Greenhouse Gas Control Technologies 2016, Switzerland. On the other hand, the new field of cooperative research discovered together with the results recently obtained has created opportunities for a new fruitful cooperation in the area of renewable energy resources (thanks to the Centre for International Relations and the Centre for Development Research at BOKU).
The support of OeAD programmes promoted the collaboration between the Damascus University and BOKU. As one of the results, a joint research project has been proposed, and a student from Damascus University is now invited to work on his PhD within the project. Furthermore, the first Syrian‐Austrian workshop on environment and bioenergy was organised and took place at Damascus University in 2007. My sincere thanks to all who make this happen, and special thanks to OeAD team for their well-thought and effective scholarship scheme and their openness, which is an important sign of humanity in these times!