24 May, 2021
A cluster of shipping containers in a city centre is about the last place you’d expect to find salad growing. Yet for the past year, vertical farming startup Madar Farms has been using this site in Masdar City, Abu Dhabi, to grow leafy green vegetables using 95 per cent less water than traditional agriculture.
Dr Arthur Morrish, a leading international high-tech sector expert and experienced senior executive, was today named the first chief executive officer of ASPIRE, the dedicated technology programme management pillar of Abu Dhabi’s Advanced Technology Research Council (ATRC).
Prior to joining ASPIRE, Dr Morrish was the Vice President for Advanced Concepts and Technology with the Raytheon Intelligence and Space Systems (RIS), a leading US-based provider of integrated sensor, communication and electronic systems and space systems. His management portfolio at the McKinney, Texas-based RIS business included development and implementation of emerging system concepts, products, and strategic technologies. His unit included scientists, engineers, and support staff in seven key locations.
Dr Morrish, an American, brings more than 30 years of professional experience in developing and managing innovative, technical solutions to a wide array of commercial challenges, in addition to overseeing multi-million-dollar, cross-business programmes from inception to advanced prototype then transition to internal and external customers.
Commenting on the announcement, H.E. Faisal Al Bannai, Secretary General of ATRC, said: “Dr Morrish is a proven leader with deep knowledge of the advanced tech sector. His work on funding research that led to pioneering advancements and overseeing programmes from the drawing board to prototype to customer dovetails with ASPIRE’s mandate; to make globally impactful decisions and allocate funds to cutting-edge research.”
ASPIRE works in consultation with cross-sector industry stakeholders, universities, and research institutes to frame problem statements. It also launches grand challenges and international competitions to solve some of the world’s most pressing issues.
On his appointment, Dr Morrish said: “ASPIRE is driving the creation of future transformative technologies in Abu Dhabi. It brings together exceptional people, ideas, resources, and technologies to solve complex challenges through a rigorous discovery and inquiry-based approach. For me, it is a big challenge, a big opportunity, and to top it off, a really great team to work with.”
Before joining Raytheon, Dr Morrish worked for L-3 Communications in Arlington, Virginia, as vice president and chief technology officer for the Electronic Systems Group business segment, and prior to that, he was director of the Tactical Technology Office at the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) in Arlington.
Dr Morrish holds a Bachelor of Science in Physical Science from Michigan State University and a doctorate in analytic chemistry from the University of Maryland. His employment takes immediate effect.