Dubai sets up R&D programme to tap into new economic opportunities

Research and development is key to achieving the emirate's vision for a robust knowledge-based economy, Sheikh Hamdan says

Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed, Crown Prince of Dubai, launched the Dubai Research and Development programme. Photo: Twitter
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Dubai has launched the Dubai Research and Development Programme to create new economic opportunities and support strategic sectors in the emirate.

“R&D is key to achieving Dubai’s futuristic vision for a robust knowledge-based economy,” Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed, Crown Prince of Dubai, said in a tweet on Tuesday.

“Major economies and leading global cities have made great strides by focusing on research and development.”

A dedicated council will oversee progress in the execution of the programme's objectives, according to the Dubai Media Office.

“We directed the establishment of a council that includes national and international experts from the government, private and academic sectors to oversee the management of research and development projects, initiatives and legislation in the emirate … and ways to support investment in it … and increase local spending on it … and enhance the participation of the private sector in launching and financing them,” said Sheikh Hamdan.

The initiative, which was unveiled during a meeting at the Dubai Future Foundation, will provide a comprehensive framework for research, development and innovation across the emirate.

It seeks to supports Dubai’s future vision to create knowledge and innovation-driven solutions for local and global challenges, as well as increase the productivity of existing sectors by opening new growth avenues for them.

Dubai led the Arab world and was ranked 20th globally in 2020 on the Dubai Innovation Index, which was developed by the Dubai Chamber in collaboration with PwC.

The UAE — the Arab world’s second-largest economy — also climbed one spot on World Intellectual Property Organisation's Global Innovation Index 2021 to be ranked 33rd out of 132 countries.

The country was ranked 32nd among the 51 high-income group economies and third among the 19 economies in Northern Africa and Western Asia.

The R&D programme is based on four pillars: the provision of a road map and a comprehensive governance model; the setting of R&D priorities; governing funding and investments; and measures to increase Dubai’s R&D expenditure and maximise the private sector’s engagement, the media office said.

The initiative also seeks to regulate projects, initiatives and legislation in the R&D sector. The plan includes raising domestic spending on such projects.

“Maximising the private sector’s engagement in R&D is crucial to achieving our future goals in Dubai,” said Sheikh Hamdan, who is also the chairman of the Executive Council of Dubai and chairman of the Board of Trustees of the DFF.

He highlighted the importance of encouraging international companies to conduct R&D activities in the emirate, adopt innovative ideas and methodologies, capture future opportunities and focus on advanced technology.

The Dubai R&D Programme has outlined four priority areas across the emirate — health and well-being, environmental technology, smart built infrastructure and space and augmented human-machine intelligence.

The programme’s initiatives in these areas will be supported by the adoption of disruptive technology such as artificial intelligence, big data, the Internet of Things, blockchain, robotics, drones, 3D printing and others.

“Boosting scientific and technological research is pivotal to achieving Dubai's vision for the future economy,” Sheikh Hamdan said.

In July, Dubai formed a higher committee for future technology and digital economy, continuing its efforts to establish the emirate as a global hub for the future economy. The entity aims to help shape the future of artificial intelligence by investing in the metaverse and establishing partnerships to boost Dubai’s digital economy.

Updated: September 13, 2022, 1:15 PM