The Ministry of Education has announced the selection of four research programs to receive its Collaborative Research Program Grant (CRPG), who will each receive up to AED7.5 million over a three-year period to fund their projects in pursuit of enhanced scientific research in the UAE.
The grant was awarded to four research teams from three universities – two teams from the United Arab Emirates University (UAEU), and one team each from the Khalifa University of Science and Technology (KU), and the University of Wollongong in Dubai (UOWD). The winners were chosen according to the scientific merit of their proposal, its relevance to the national Science, Technology and Innovation Policy, and their adherence to the criteria and conditions of the grant program. The selected programs were also selected for demonstrating their collaborative potential by including researchers from other educational and industrial institutions, inside and outside of the UAE. The selected projects relate to food security, alternative energy, health, and education, respectively.
The grant is provided to advance the innovation axis of the national Higher Education Strategy and to facilitate competitive and collaborative research between researchers in the UAE’s accredited educational institutions. This grant also seeks to support the national goals of developing a large and high quality research bloc in the disciplines that underlie the Science, Technology and Innovation Policy, and to double the number of graduate students from the citizenry.
His Excellency Eng. Hussain bin Ibrahim Al Hammadi, Minister of Education, commended the four winning research teams, and said: "We are confident that the funded research projects will contribute to advancing the UAE’s transition to a knowledge-based economy, accelerating the pace of national development, and assisting the UAE’s youth in becoming scientists and entrepreneurs with real-world skills. The Ministry will continue to work to meet the need for research funding by directing funding towards further high-quality research of relevance to the country's strategy."
His Excellency Dr Ahmad bin Abdullah Humaid Belhoul Al Falasi, Minister of State for Higher Education and Advanced Skills, asserted that the Collaborative Research Program Grant is an important step towards enhancing scientific research efforts and developing solutions for the UAE’s challenges. “We hope that such collaborative programs will be the beginning of a new era of scientific research – one that helps create a generation of qualified Emirati researchers, in cooperation with our partners from universities and scientific research institutions across the UAE,” H.E. added. “We aspire to establish a strong scientific and research base, capable of boosting the national economy with ideas and unconventional solutions that expedite overall development and transform the UAE into a global hub for scientific research, technology, and innovation.” H.E. Al Falasi went on to note that the Ministry is progressing, led by a clear vision, to achieve the objectives of the National Strategy for Higher Education and upgrade the higher education ecosystem to meet the highest global standards. “Scientific research is key for accomplishing these objectives,” H.E. said.
His Excellency Dr. Mohamed Ibrahim Al-Mualla, Undersecretary for Academic Affairs for Higher Education, said: "The Ministry of Education announced this grant for licensed higher education institutions in September 2019, and invited their researchers to propose new innovative and ambitious projects in cooperation with leading local and international researchers. When the grant application window closed in November 2019, the Ministry had received 237 research proposals. Those proposals were then filtered according to preliminary review and their adherence to the grant criteria and conditions. This resulted in a shortlist of 36 proposals, which were then subject to review and evaluation by approved international experts. We were very pleased to see such a large number of grant applications that included high-quality research. This great response shows the growing maturity of the UAE’s research community.”
A summary of the winning proposals:
Led by Dr. Bassam Ali of UAEU, this proposal seeks to bring the new genetics discipline pharmacogenomics to bear on the UAE healthcare system, to produce personalized drug treatment modalities and tools to better treat cardiovascular disease, which is currently the leading cause of death in the country. The research is in collaboration with KU, Burjeel Hospital - VPS Healthcare, Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi, The Golden Helix Foundation, Tawan Hospital, and Al Ain Hospital Internal Medicine Medical Institute.
Led by Dr. Mohamed Ahmed M. Salim AlHammadi of UAEU, this proposal seeks to address the gap between mathematics curricula in post-secondary education and the numerical computing skills required in many technical professions, by developing a supplementary curricula to be used in conjunction with regular lectures. The research is in collaboration with American University in Dubai and the Canadian University in Dubai.
Led by Dr. Youssef Shatilla of KU, this proposal seeks to investigate the possibility of using Accident Tolerant Fuels (ATFs) at the Barakah Nuclear Power Plants by studying their impact on the plant’s operation and safety parameters. ATFs are considered a safer alternative to conventional nuclear fuel. The research is in collaboration with Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology, University of Manchester, and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
Led by Dr. Ioannis Manikis from UOWD, this proposal seeks to examine the global drivers of change and assess their impact on the UAE food system and from this examination produce a number of targeted tools – including an early warning system, a vulnerability assessment framework, and policies - to enable the UAE food system to demonstrate ‘resilient dynamism’. The research is in collaboration with UAEU, the International Center for Biosaline Agriculture, and the Dubai Municipality Food Safety Authority.
Source: UAE Ministry of Education