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UAE puts R&D on the national agenda
New council puts R&D on UAE national agenda
The first meeting of the newly formed Emirates Research and Development Council (ERDC) was held virtually this week, formally kicking off the council's activities. Chaired by H.H. Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, and Chairman of the ERDC, this new council puts R&D firmly on the UAE's national agenda and provides policy leadership in a crucial area for the country's future economic development.
I'm sure that it's no accident that a foreign minister has been made the head of the UAE's first body formed to define R&D policy. Foreign relations have already proved to be critical in laying the foundation for the country's R&D ecosystem, enabling UAE universities and other national organisations to form long-standing partnerships with research universities all over the world.
Khalifa University, NYU Abu Dhabi and UAE University, for example, all have multiple cooperation agreements with research universities in China, Europe and North America, while 2020's Abraham Accords opened the door for the Mohamed bin Zayed University of Artificial Intelligence to start research programmes with The Weizmann Institute of Science in Israel. The formation of the new council opens a wide range of opportunities to drive more 'science diplomacy' for the UAE globally.
The ERDC also provides a forum for some of the greatest minds in the UAE to discuss and develop how to leverage R&D initiatives to the best effect. In recent years, momentum in the academic, public and private sectors has ramped up, encouraging new programmes and attracting global scientific talent. In consequence, more investment is going into R&D programmes at a federal, emirate and corporate level than ever before, but it's often difficult to see what programmes have been created and what their focus is. Simply sharing information, coordinating efforts and connecting potential academic, government, business and investment partners, could be enormously beneficial to the ecosystem.
When one considers related national initiatives to encourage STEM talent, transform the industrial sector, create a future-ready government, develop the venture capital ecosystem and capitalise on AI's potential to increase economic growth, the UAE could become an increasingly attractive destination for R&D. Meanwhile, the UAE's new industrial property law is expected to make it easier for developers to patent their intellectual property.
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