Last month, the Emirates Foundation for Philanthropy launched an initiative encouraging students to pursue careers in science.
"The future for science in the UAE is bright, but now we need locals capable of working in the field so that their lives are bright as well," said Dr Abdulla Ismail Abdulla, the senior executive adviser of science and technology at the foundation. "This nation cannot be strong and competitive without being competent in science."
A paradigm shift in attitudes towards research programmes, in science as well as other fields, is essential. As we report today, UAE University is awarding Dh12.5 million to 37 faculty members for research targeting some of the country's most important issues: health care technologies, desalination plants and even Emiratisation.
At present, researchers in the UAE are still waiting for the National Research Foundation, the nation's grant-making organisation, to release funds approved last year while a budget awaits approval.
It is a timely reminder that universities are not merely about teaching, but have a responsibility to advance the nation's research and development. And early investment in local talent is the right course of action.
Not only will this lead to a cultivation of the finest scientific minds, it will encourage studies relevant to the region. The West produces fine research; it is time the Middle East compiles its own.