UAE initiatives a giant step to promote science

ABU DHABI, 28th October 2016 (WAM) – UAE’s drive for a knowledge-based economy will ensure closer ties between scientists and the government, a United Arab Emirates newspaper has said.

Promoting scientific temper and research by launching a well-structured programme to aim for Nobel prizes is indeed an ambitious and realistic endeavour, said the English language ‘gulf News’ in a commentary today.

The announcement on Wednesday by His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, to launch 20 initiatives for promoting scientific research will go a long way in nurturing a generation of Emirati scientists.

While announcing these initiatives to be pursued by Emirates Scientists Council, Shaikh Mohammad said: “Our goal is to set our scientific and research priorities that serve our interests and consolidate our economy and develop future generations. We bet on young scientists to create a scientific and research base and build national research capacities.”

“This programme will work towards developing a scientific infrastructure to boost the country’s national interests and strengthen the UAE’s drive to build a knowledge-based economy,’ the paper noted.

“The idea is to encourage partnership between scientists and the government in order to effectively deliver on services and improve governance. The government is expected to announce further details of the programme, but the objectives are clear to nudge young Emiratis towards science and nurture a new generation of scientists.”

Also, the initiatives will encourage scientific excellence, aim for top global rankings in this field and create an environment to prepare Emiratis for international awards, including Nobel prizes. “Scientists are the elites of society and a powerful class in the UAE and hence appreciating them is an appreciation of the future of our country. As of today, we will work on the development of a new generation of scientists qualified to win the Nobel Prize over the next few decades,” Shaikh Mohammad said.

Specifically, the UAE will prepare a Nobel programme, announce a national agenda for scientific research, set up interactive national laboratories and dedicate a day to science. Also, the country will set up a science park and an award for scientists. Some of these initiatives are based on experiences of developed countries in this field. Once implemented, this programme will impact several sectors governance, cybersecurity and, most importantly, it may lead to sustainable solutions for water, energy and food security.

The paper concluded by saying the UAE leadership’s foresight has helped the nation take the lead in several areas in the region.

‘Wednesday’s announcement by Shaikh Mohammad is another step in that direction. The Emirates Scientists Council is the nodal agency to drive these initiatives. Other government departments will have an equally important role in promoting science in various sectors. Also, science thrives on collaboration and the country’s scientific community must reach out to global institutions to benefit from their experience and knowledge in this area.”