UAE Research Programme for Rain Enhancement Science committee meet to select 2015 cycle winners

ABU DHABI, 15th November, 2015 (WAM) — The UAE Research Programme for Rain Enhancement Science has held a final evaluation meeting to decide on the winners of its inaugural competition cycle.

Launched by the Ministry of Presidential Affairs of the UAE earlier this year, and overseen by the UAE National Centre of Meteorology and Seismology, NCMS, the programme is an ambitious initiative of global scope designed to stimulate rain enhancement research. The final objective is to use the insights from this research to increase rainfall and help arid and semi-arid countries overcome water scarcity through the deployment of a range of scientific, technological and methodological resources. The winners of this year’s competition will be announced at a special award event during the Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week in January, 2016.

H.H. Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Presidential Affairs, said, “Water is one of the seven pillars of the UAE’s innovation strategy. Driving scientific and technological advancement to address water security is a strategic priority for the UAE government that will position our country as a global hub of innovation in this field. To this end, the UAE government launched the UAE Research Programme for Rain Enhancement Science as an ambitious programme of international scope designed to lead efforts to help secure access to fresh water through rainfall. Such efforts will also serve our national objective of building a diverse and sustainable knowledge economy. Through playing our part in facilitating scientific and intellectual advancement, the UAE is seeking to increase the momentum of rain enhancement research and ensure its application for the benefit of all.”

The US$5 million programme has seen a remarkable level of international interest since it was announced in January this year. Following the close of its initial deadline in April, 325 scientists and researchers affiliated with 151 organisations applied to participate in the initiative. Applicants selected from 34 countries around the world cooperated as scientific teams on the submission of a total of 78 pre-proposals. In May, the programme’s technical committee narrowed-down submissions to a shortlist of 15 research teams.

Dr. Abdullah Al Mandoos, NCMS Executive Director, said, “The rain enhancement programme has had an outstandingly successful first year and made a global mark as an enabler of scientific research in a broad range of fields related to rain enhancement methodology, operations and result verification. We are proud to have been able to play our part in supporting the UAE’s Innovation Strategy. Rain enhancement is a relatively marginalised field of research that we are determined to revitalise. Finding new solutions to the water sustainability challenge will be of immense benefit to the UAE and other global regions threatened with water scarcity.”