Dubai: Four academic research centres specialising in education, the environment, medicine and nanoscience, will be established in Zayed University (ZU) and UAE University (UAEU) next year.
The centres were selected as part of a competition conducted by the National Research Foundation (NRF), which was established by Shaikh Nahyan Bin Mubarak Al Nahyan, Minister of Higher Education and Scientific Research, Chancellor of UAEU and President of ZU, in March 2008.
They will be granted up to Dh10 million each year for five years, after an annual evaluation on their work and progress.
Kenneth Wilson, director of NRF, announced the winners of the competition on Tuesday at Zayed University's Knowledge Village campus in the presence of Dr Maitha Al Shamsi, Minister of State.
The Centre for the Study of Bilingualism and Bilingual Education at ZU, and three centres at UAEU, namely the Water and Environment Centre of Excellence, the Genes and Diseases Research Centre and the Emirates Centre for Nanoscience and Nanoengineering will start their work at the respective university's premises in January 2009.
Dr Sulaiman Al Jasem, Vice-President of ZU, said that this initiative came as a response to the need to participate in helping society, the local community and the world.
"The role of higher education is not only to graduate educated students but also to serve the community through research," he said.
The research generated by those institutions will ultimately be published and will contribute to solving various problems in the country, he added.
The focus of knowledge will be the UAE but there will be "collateral advantage" for neighbouring countries, said Jeffrey Belnap, Associate Provost and Director of ZU's Abu Dhabi campus, who also introduced the Centre for the Study of Bilingualism and Bilingual Education.
The centre will aim to strengthen Arabic language proficiency as well as English as a language of communication.
"The history and teaching of Arabic is a broad concern in the Arab world so this will be beneficial for countries all over the region," he told Gulf News.
Mohsin Al Sharif, who will head the Water and Environment Centre at UAEU, discussed the importance of addressing the water issue in the UAE and revisiting policies of water consumption and uses so that it matches with the national economy.
UAEU's two other upcoming centres will focus on science and medicine.