UAE Space Agency launches Dh4m competition to tackle climate change and food security

Competition aims to find ideas to create services that support agricultural or environmental practices

The UAE Space Agency has launched a Dh4 million ($1m) competition for scientists, entrepreneurs, academics and innovators to unearth new ideas that tackle climate change and food security.

The competition, launched in partnership with the Ministry of Climate Change and Environment, aims to find technically feasible, scalable and innovative ideas using data gathered from space to create services that support agricultural or environmental practices.

The ideas could be applications that use data to map and monitor greenhouse gas emissions or analyse soil moisture levels to boost crop yields.

Six finalists will be invited to pitch their ideas in front of a committee of experts in February next year, from which the top two will be selected as the winners.

They will each receive up to Dh2m in funding, as well as technical support, expert assistance and help to secure commercial agreements and reach customers.

Proposals should be submitted before the deadline of January 15, 2022.

The competition was announced under the umbrella of the Space Analytics and Solutions programme at the end of a busy Space Week at Expo 2020 Dubai.

In addition to developing the applications, the programme aims to enhance the competitiveness of the UAE space industry, encourage public-private partnerships, boost talent and strengthen the national space ecosystem.

"Our competition aims to find the best and brightest academics, entrepreneurs and scientists to create applications that tackle climate change or food security," said Sarah Al Amiri, Minister of State for Advanced Technology and chairwoman of the UAE Space Agency.

"We are seeking competitive proposals that are original, feasible, scalable and backed by meticulous research and analysis."

The competition comes weeks after the space agency announced a new mission to explore Venus and seven asteroids.

The mission is scheduled to launch in 2028, with the primary goal of exploring the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter.

Updated: October 23rd 2021, 4:30 PM