Dubai: Al Jalila Foundation announced on Wednesday that it has awarded Dh6 million in seed grants to 21 UAE-based medical researchers bringing the total investment to date to Dh20 million for 76 research projects.
The seed grants focus on research in the field of cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, obesity and mental health — Al Jalila Foundation’s five research priorities.
The global philanthropic organisation, dedicated to transforming lives through medical education and research, awarded the grants to scientists from medical institutions across the UAE including Mohammad Bin Rashid University of Medical Sciences, Dubai Health Authority, United Arab Emirates University, University of Sharjah, Khalifa University of Science, Technology and Research, and University of Modern Sciences, Dubai.
Four Emiratis were also selected to pursue medical research fellowships at renowned international institutions.
“Al Jalila Foundation Research Centre offers an unrivalled opportunity for the UAE community to come together in our quest to advance scientific knowledge that will help tackle diseases. The promise of this new institute has started building a community of leading scientists that will work together to develop landmark discoveries,” said Shaikh Ahmad Bin Saeed Al Maktoum, Chairperson of the Board of Trustees of Al Jalila Foundation.
Out of 111 applications submitted for the seed grants, which represent over 100 per cent increase in the number of applications since the inception of the programme, 21 applications were selected following a competitive two-stage review process. The process included international peer review with experts from the world’s most renowned medical institutions, including University of Oxford, King’s College London, University of Glasgow, Harvard Medical School, University of Pennsylvania, Mayo Clinic, University of Toronto, University of McMaster, University of Alberta, University of Lund, and University of Queensland.
“Scientists around the world continue to search for answers into the causes, prevention and treatment of diseases affecting mankind. Our investment in medical research reaffirms our commitment to embed research and innovation in the fabric of the nation’s long-term health-care strategy. Medical research has the potential to save lives and our efforts today will pave the way for a healthier world for future generations,” said Dr Raja Al Gurg, member of the Board of Trustees of Al Jalila Foundation and chairperson of the Board of Directors of Al Jalila Foundation.
In this cycle, the awarded grants are well spread over the five themes as well as representative of the type of research that Al Jalila Foundation supports. Six grants were awarded in the field of cancer, four in cardiovascular disease, four in diabetes, four in obesity, and three in mental health. The funded studies include nine basic, seven translational and five clinical research projects.
Four fellowships were awarded comprising one Student Research Elective Fellowship and three Medical Research Training Fellowships. Two Medical Research Training Fellowship beneficiaries have already started their fellowships at the University of Alabama, USA and Imperial College London, UK. The Fellowships are exclusive to Emirati biomedical students and professionals, offering them the opportunity to gain experience and expertise at an international centre of excellence.
Al Jalila Foundation Research Centre was established in 2014 by His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, to position the UAE at the forefront of medical research and innovation. The centre is fully funded by Al Jalila Foundation, a global philanthropic organisation dedicated to transforming lives through medical treatment, education and research.