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UAE Education

Watch: Sheikh Hamdan opens Prototypes for Humanity exhibition in Dubai

Sheikha Latifa attends ceremony showcasing 100 projects for solving complex problems

Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of The Executive Council of Dubai, on Tuesday inaugurated the 2023 edition of ‘Prototypes for Humanity’ exhibition
Image Credit: X/HamdanMohammed

Dubai: Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of The Executive Council of Dubai, on Tuesday inaugurated the 2023 edition of ‘Prototypes for Humanity’ exhibition. Sheikha Latifa bint Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Chairperson of the Dubai Culture and Arts Authority (Dubai Culture) and Member of the Dubai Council, attended the opening ceremony.

Held under the patronage of Sheikha Latifa, Prototypes for Humanity is an annual event that aims to bring together the best academic innovations from around the world with the aim of addressing the most critical global challenges and fostering the development of sustainable solutions that benefit communities worldwide. Dubai Future Foundation is the lead partner of the event and Dubai Culture is the strategic partner, with the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) also extending support.

Speaking on the occasion, Sheikh Hamdan stated that Dubai’s notable projects and diverse accomplishments draw inspiration from the vision and directives of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, underscoring innovation as a fundamental approach in enhancing the emirate’s future preparedness.


Sheikh Hamdan highlighted Dubai’s commitment to discovering and empowering young creative talent and creating a nurturing environment that promotes innovation and drives the city’s progress. “Dubai embraces innovation as a means to bolster its preparedness for the future. We are committed to ensuring that Dubai and its creative community play a tangible role in discovering solutions that address current challenges faced by humanity and tackle those that may arise in the future,” he said.

The Prototypes for Humanity initiative plays a pivotal role in unearthing solutions to common global challenges for the betterment of societies, Sheikh Hamdan said. By involving university students, the event provides youth with the opportunity to actively engage in exploring solutions that contribute to shaping the future according to their vision, he said. “Youth are key partners and the most crucial factor in envisioning and designing the future. Their aspirations are taken into account in every developmental endeavour. The future belongs to the youth, and they bear a significant responsibility to prepare for it with creative ideas and effective solutions that contribute to reinforcing comprehensive sustainable development,” he added.

Sheikha Latifa emphasised that the Prototypes for Humanity initiative encapsulates Dubai’s ambitious vision to raise awareness about the vital role of creativity and innovation in driving positive change for societies, and reflects the UAE’s dedication to fostering an empowering environment that nurtures innovation and creativity. Additionally, she highlighted that this year’s edition provides a platform to showcase 100 of the world’s best innovations that promise to make a substantial impact in making the world a better and more sustainable place.

“Today, the world unites to address shared global challenges and channels its efforts towards serving humanity by offering innovative solutions and embracing creative ideas to tackle present and future obstacles. Presented here today is a diverse array of immensely impactful and significant projects and innovations. These endeavours not only showcase the seamless collaboration between scientific and academic institutions, but also highlight the significance of partnerships in bringing together stakeholders from governmental and private sectors, the venture capital community, and decision-makers. By transforming these initiatives into tangible realities, we can effectively address the challenges we face globally today,” Sheikha Latifa added.

The 2023 edition of the event will showcase 100 projects reflecting the potential of academia in solving complex problems, including those prioritised on the agenda of the United Nations Climate Change Conference. Five of these projects will take pride of place at the 2023 awards, sharing $100,000 in prizes intended to support further research in their chosen fields.


Projects from UAE

The variety of solutions showcased from 28 to 30 November in Dubai reflects Prototypes for Humanity’s expanding reach and community resonance. This year, the initiative engaged with thousands of students and professors from 710 universities across 108 countries involved in 200 different areas of research. The 100 shortlisted projects were developed by graduates representing 92 universities from 46 countries, who will be present with their supervising professors and team members. Notably, this group includes five projects from students of UAE academic institutions, such as the Dubai Institute of Design Innovation (DIDI), the American University of Sharjah, NYU Abu Dhabi, and UAE University.

Community participation

In addition to celebrating cutting-edge solutions for society and the planet, the initiative introduces a pioneering programme aimed at harnessing its community members’ ingenuity and entrepreneurial drive to create viable ventures. The ultimate objective is to catalyse projects that provide concrete solutions while adhering to industry and investment best practices. The programme for this edition will also include special sessions for professors from across the world to find research synergies across multiple disciplines and countries.

Khalfan Belhoul, CEO of Dubai Future Foundation, commented: “Prototypes for Humanity’s community embodies key components of the future-looking ecosystem we nurture: innovation, talent, and education. By supporting these innovators, we renew our commitment towards a more prosperous planet and society – Dubai’s vibrant economy and infrastructure can only accelerate that process. Our mandate to design the emirate’s future is driven by a yearning for positive impact and an entrepreneurial spirit that leads to global prosperity, and Prototypes for Humanity is a unique platform for achieving that.”

This year’s schedule of events will culminate with a closing ceremony at the global climate conference COP28’s Impact Hub, which will include the announcement of the Prototypes for Humanity Awards 2023, with $100,000 in prizes going out to winning projects in five categories reflecting COP28 priorities such as Nature, Food and Water systems; Health, Relief and Safety; Energy, Efficiency and Waste; Education, Equality and Communities; and Data science and AI-enabled Solutions.

Elaborating on the programme, Tadeu Baldani Caravieri, Director of Prototypes for Humanity, said: “As the world turns to innovation to accelerate the transition towards Net Zero, university research and talent take centre stage. Academia has historically been a catalyst for progress and its ability to identify, break down and solve problems within an independent environment makes it an incredibly necessary agent for change. While the global sustainability agenda is set by pledges and agreements across nations and organisations, like those underway at the upcoming COP28, the path to such goals needs to be built by new technologies – and that is the part of the puzzle Prototypes for Humanity’s community excels at.”


Open to the public

The exhibition is open to the public on 29 and 30 November at The Boulevard at Emirates Towers and is free to attend. The 2023 awards ceremony will take place at the Impact Hub at COP28 in a closed ceremony on 2 December.

The 100 shortlisted submissions at the 2023 Prototypes for Humanity programme include satellite monitoring to prevent disasters in mining facilities (University of Oxford, UK); eco-friendly bioplastics made from invasive weeds (Egerton University, Kenya); harvesting electricity from palm trees’ movement (DIDI, UAE); AI-powered prediction model for CO2 storage planning (Stanford University, USA); grey water filtration system optimised for irrigation (IAAC, Spain); and synthetic yeast for sustainable production of food and chemicals (Princeton University, USA).

Other projects that made the cut include real-time weather monitor for vulnerable communities (Bataan Peninsula University, Philippines); sustainable high-grade graphite for batteries (UCLA, USA); CO2 removal from the atmosphere at high pressures (UAE University); AI to detect fraud in public procurement processes (University San Francisco de Quito, Ecuador); early malnutrition detection device for remote areas (Delft University of Technology, The Netherlands); and a high-efficiency medicine-injection device for disaster victims (Hongik University, South Korea).

A comprehensive list of this year’s 100 shortlisted entries went live on its website on Tuesday.