H.H. Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation and Chairman of the Emirates Research and Development Council, presided over the first meeting of the Council, and directed it to commence defining the national priorities for research and development in the country to enhance its contribution to the sustainable economic growth of the UAE, and support the advancement of the country’s strategic sectors.
In that regard, Sheikh Abdullah emphasised the importance of collaboration between the government, private and academic sectors to unlock the potential of research, development and commercialisation across different fields.
Sheikh Abdullah added that the Council will serve as the cornerstone of the UAE’s research and development ecosystem, enhancing alignment amongst the federal government, local governments, the private sector and academia, and channelling their efforts towards developing solutions to challenges and realising the nation’s vision.
His Highness added that the impact of the Council will not be limited to the national level, as it will also be an active actor in the integration and participation of the UAE in the global science and technology ecosystem.
He also stressed on the importance of research and development to the nation over the next 50 years, which underlies our knowledge-based economy, and supports the aspirations of the country.
His Highness continued: "Today, we are meeting to affirm the encompassing contribution of research and development and its ability to develop the main sectors in the country. The Council is the nation’s highest authority for research and development, and we will build on the efforts that have been achieved in order to strengthen the UAE’s research and development capabilities."
The Council approved the approach to be followed in developing the national priorities, with a broad focus on the entire spectrum of research, from fundamental research through to commercialisation.
The council will also focus on key pillars of the ecosystem, highlighting the importance of fostering the national intellectual capital, developing the necessary funding models, and fostering collaborations to embed research and development as one of the key pillars of growth for the nation.
The Council will also work on increasing the impact of research outputs, and placing the necessary mechanisms to deploy research outcomes across the targeted areas.
The Council will also review current federal research spending and the scope of work of existing funds, to measure their outcomes and impact across the sectors of interest.
The Council acknowledged the importance of a sustained source of funding, a focus on directed research, and an emphasis on the role that basic science plays in creating a robust R&D ecosystem.
The Council is also working very closely with the UAE’s private sector and the science community to address current regulations and policies that enable the deployment of research outcomes.
Regulations and people play a vital role in the R&D ecosystem within the UAE, as the Council will continue to work on enhancing an environment supportive of testing research findings, deploying new technologies, and fostering talent across the spectrum. This includes enhancing intellectual property protection, and highlighting the importance of fostering local expertise and attracting international talent.
With an eye towards both the research priorities and the ecosystem, the Council approved the creation of four committees to tackle ecosystem diagnostics and ecosystem enablement. These included the Research and Development Policies Committee, which will work on developing, reviewing, and planning policies related to the R&D ecosystem and identifying its gaps.
The second is the Research and Development Commercialisation Committee, which will focus on identifying obstacles to commercialisation, while developing the necessary programs and partnerships to enable the deployment of research outcomes.
The Research & Development Human Capital Committee will focus on developing, attracting, and retaining scientific and research talents. The Research and Development Ecosystem Performance Committee will work towards enhancing the performance measurement aspects of R&D to understand the outcomes and impact on society and the economy, beyond an input-versus-output approach to measurement of R&D outcomes.
The Emirates Research and Development Council seeks to achieve a set of strategic goals for the country, including enhancing the governance of the R&D sector through unifying efforts and following up on performance, in addition to achieving alignment, coordination and national partnerships on R&D priorities, directions and objectives in the country, and encouraging the participation of government, academic, profit and non-profit institutions in developing and implementing R&D initiatives and programs in the UAE.
The council aims to attract and diversify funding sources for research programmes and institutions in the country to ensure the activation and sustainability of the R&D agenda and its commercial and industrial enablement.
The meeting was attended by the Council members including Dr. Sultan bin Ahmed Al Jaber, Minister of Industry and Advanced Technology; Hussain bin Ibrahim Al Hammadi, Minister of Education; Mohammed bin Ahmed Al Bowardi, Minister of State for Defence Affairs; Abdullah bin Touq Al Marri, Minister of Economy; Mariam bint Mohammed Almheiri, Minister of Climate Change and the Environment; Sarah bint Yousif Al Amiri, Minister of State for Advanced Technology and the Secretary General of the Emirates Research and Development Council, and Faisal Abdulaziz Al Bannai, Secretary General of the Advanced Technology Research Council.
The Council members from the academic sector and research institutions were also present, including Professor Eric Xing, President of the Mohammed bin Zayed University of Artificial Intelligence, Professor Ghaleb AlHadrami AlBreiki, Acting Vice Chancellor of the United Arab Emirates University, Dr. Amer Ahmed Sharif, Vice Chancellor of the Mohammed bin Rashid University of Medicine and Health Sciences, and Dr. Stephen Griffiths, Senior Vice President for Research and Development at Khalifa University.
The private sector Council members included Badr Salim Al Olama, Executive Director of UAE Clusters at Mubadala Investment Company, Dr. Saleh Al Hashemi, Director of Commercial and In-Country Value at ADNOC, Abdul Nasser bin Kalban, CEO of Emirates Global Aluminium, and Peng Xiao, CEO of G42.
Source: Ministry of Foreign Affairs & International Cooperation