Innovation at the heart of UAE’s successful economic development

Believing that innovation is the future of human investment, the UAE leadership emphasises its importance across all sectors through the UAE Vision 2021.

Innovation is a cornerstone of social and economic development, key to promoting economic growth, increasing competitiveness as well as providing new job opportunities. Crucial to the continued success of organisations in the Middle East, innovation is key to the future of the UAE, the wider region and indeed the global economy.

Government initiatives such as UAE Vision 2021 and National Innovation Strategy, Dubai Integrated Energy Strategy 2030 and 10X show the careful planning, thinking and support which is going into our country’s rapid transition to a knowledge-based economy.

Believing that innovation is the future of human investment, the UAE leadership emphasises its importance across all sectors through the UAE Vision 2021: “Innovation, research, science and technology will form the pillars of a knowledge-based, highly productive and competitive economy, driven by entrepreneurs in a business-friendly environment where public and private sectors form effective partnerships.”

Dubai Science Park was established to enable such a vision. The park is home to some 350 regional and international companies in the life sciences, energy and environment sectors. As the region’s first dedicated science community, our state-of-the-art facilities provide these important sectors with the capability to thrive in an era of technological advancement at a rapid pace.

We are equally committed to strengthening Dubai’s appeal as a destination for science companies, R&D, manufacturing and prototyping activities in a conducive environment that facilitates business growth while acting as a springboard to international markets.

Our laboratory complex is a case in point. The first private lab in the region, the Leed-certified green building was purpose-built to support R&D, diagnostics, analytical testing and equipment training, development, manufacturing and production. It is currently home to more than 23 companies in the fields of human, plant, material, environmental and energy science.

International businesses including Amgen, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Diagnostika Medlabs, National Reference Laboratory, IFF, Ingredion, Himalaya Global Research, Firmenich, Ministry of Health and Prevention, PepsiCo International and Thermo Fisher Scientific Middle East are all operating within our unique complex.

Innovative work, research and development is being carried out every day within Dubai Science Park, but perhaps it is best explained with two case studies.

Mubadala Healthcare’s National Reference Laboratory (NRL) offers more than 4,700 medical diagnostic tests to regional healthcare providers through labs in Abu Dhabi, Al Ain and Dubai. NRL has gone from strength to strength in terms of capabilities, growth and scope of testing, supporting the Ministry of Health and Prevention in its cancer screening programmes across the Emirates as the exclusive laboratory partner for the enhancement of women’s health and improved early cancer detection rates.

Interest in the NRL test results has come from countries across the GCC and wider region, helping the NRL and Mubadala Healthcare in their long-term expansion strategy, which will ultimately improve the healthcare industry in the Gulf and beyond.

Our infrastructure is playing an enabling role across other sectors in the field of science. The multinational food, beverage and snack corporation PepsiCo has its regional innovation facility at Dubai Science Park, where the focus is on the development of new flavours and recipes that are tailored to the regional market and on growing issues such as sugar reduction.

Dubai Science Park is where Lay’s baked potato chips with labneh and mint, 7Up with mint, and Quaker vegetable cumin soup were invented.

The world is changing at a rapid pace and we are committed to supporting positive change and progress in the field of science.

Marwan Abdulaziz Janahi is executive director of Dubai Science Park.

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