The world's first dedicated artificial intelligence university has received licencing and accreditation from the UAE academic authority, clearing a necessary hurdle before it opens its doors to the inaugural class in August.
Mohamed bin Zayed University of Artificial Intelligence (MBZUAI) in Abu Dhabi will offer Master of Science (MSc) and PhD-level programmes.
"We aim to provide students with world-class courses in an environment that exceeds expectations in order to attract the best talent from across the globe," Dr Sultan Al Jaber, Minister of State and chairman of the board of trustees at MBZUAI, said, commenting on the milestone.
The Commission for Academic Accreditation operates as part of the UAE’s Ministry of Education, charged with licensure of institutions of higher education, and accreditation of each of their academic programmes.
Graduate students can still apply to MBZUAI via the university’s website for 2020 registration. The new university has received 1,200 applications so far.
The first class of graduate students will commence coursework at MBZUAI’s Masdar City campus in August 2020.
The university will provide all admitted students with a full scholarship, plus benefits such as a monthly allowance, health insurance and accommodation.
MBZUAI will work with local and global companies to secure internships, and will also assist students in finding employment opportunities.
The institution has also said it will aim to engage policymakers and businesses around the world so that AI is harnessed "as a force for positive transformation".
AI is expected to add 14 per cent to the world’s gross domestic product by 2030, equivalent to $15.7 trillion (Dh57.7tn), according to business consultancy PwC.
Experts estimate that AI’s contribution to the UAE economy will match the global increase of 14 per cent – the largest GDP share in the Middle East – in the same time frame.
UAE authorities were early champions of the rapidly-developing technology.
In 2017, the government rolled out an AI strategy, dubbed UAE 2031, outlining plans to use the technology to make governance more efficient and naming eight sectors it aims to transform including space, renewable energy, water and education.
The country also appointed the world’s first Minister of State for Artificial Intelligence, Omar Al Olama, in the same year.