The UAE’s ambitions in science are moving at full throttle. Emboldened by the Seventh Principle of the 50, which lays out the nation’s development path - “the technical and scientific excellence of the UAE will define its new development and economic frontiers, and the solidification of its position as a capital for talent, companies and investments in these sectors will make it the capital of the future.”
Over the years, the UAE – and Dubai – have strengthened their influence across the many disciplines of science, from healthcare to sustainability and energy, bolstered by a symbiotic partnership between a thriving private sector and supportive government framework. Sector-focused districts like Dubai Science Park, a member of TECOM Group PJSC, are essential to providing a competitive ecosystem where leading global corporations, regional firms and start-ups can converge, collaborate and push the needle of innovation forward. As the sector plays an even larger role in the national and global economies, the need for skilled talent becomes more necessary. Whether preparing for the professional world or pivoting halfway through, these are seven reasons you should pursue a career science:
1. Science is crucial to building our future world
The pursuit of science is noble. Innovation in sustainability determines the health of our planet, while advancements in healthcare and pharmaceutical determine the health of individuals. Food security and smart solutions determine the health of thousands of people in the region and beyond who are suffering from food scarcity. From global collaborations that helped deliver cutting-edge COVID-19 vaccines at extraordinary speed to the first locally manufactured anti-cholesterol drug produced by Dubai Science Park-based customers Acino, a Swiss pharma company, and UAE-based Pharmax, science holds the key to answer our most pressing challenges.
While many roles involved in research and development require years of academic training, there are plenty of ways to contribute to the scientific cause, whether by getting into the business of science or performing data analytics, assisting on research and in labs, and promoting your organisation.
2. A growing field across all markets
Worth an estimated US$1,023 billion [Dh3,757 billion] in 2021, according to Grandview Research (India- and US-based market research company), the biotechnology market size is predicted to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 13.9 per cent from 2022 to 2030.
The global green technology and sustainability market is expected to grow from US$13.76 billion [Dh50.54 billion] in 2022 to US$51.09 billion [Dh187.6 billion] by 2029, according to Fortune Business Insights. Another report by Grand View Research, reveals that the global pharmaceutical manufacturing market, which is valued at US $405 billion in 2020, is expected to grow at a CAGR of 11.34 per cent from 2021 to 2028.
These hefty predictions are to demonstrate the immense growth potential of science across all markets. Considering the global importance placed on the promise of science, especially in the aftermath of COVID-19 and the need for food security, the demand for science-focused businesses and talent is always growing.
As the multi-market demands and avenues of research and development grow, the need for specialised talent increases tremendously.
3. An ever-growing global field
Unlike jobs with a structured growth trajectory and glass ceiling for learning, science is an ever-expanding field with no clear middle or end. The study of human life, the planet, medicine and beyond unlock a greater understanding of the world we live in, and only lead to more doors worthy of exploration.
Science is global, with companies and individuals from different corner of the world exploring similar phenomena, sharing insights, building on experiments and expanding the vaults of knowledge. Dubai is a manifestation of this geography-spanning endeavour, with Dubai Science Park alone representing major pharmaceutical companies, health-tech start-ups, an R&D [research and development] centre by Firmenich which develops fragrances and flavours and more, painting the world of tomorrow.
4. An abundance of opportunities
As the multi-market demands and avenues of research and development grow, the need for specialised talent increases tremendously. According to Aon, a multinational financial services firm, demand for talent in life sciences is expected to surge in 2022 with 71 per cent of life sciences companies surveyed in their Salary Increase and Turnover Study claiming they plan to increase their workforce, one-third of which plan to do so by more than 15 per cent. McKinsey, a global consultancy, also foresees that investments in renewable energy, energy-efficiency technologies and the adaptation and mitigation of climate change can create up to 10 million new jobs in the trendline scenario and up to 10 million additional jobs globally in the step-up scenario.
On a more local level, experts during an Advance Health session organised by Dubai Science Park discussed the potential of Dubai becoming a centre of clinical trials and research. Such a future, which will enable brands to create medicines and products specific to regional needs, will spur demand for talent, from students-in-training to specialised professionals.
5. A place in the future of work
In McKinsey’s studies about jobs of the future, the global consultancy predicts that engineers, scientists, accountants, and analysts will witness the highest percentage job growth net of automation. Expanding our traditional perception of scientists, data scientists are among the top jobs as the digital transformation encompasses all industries and can impact healthcare, sustainability, net-zero technologies, medical devices and much more. Data is the currency of the future and can grant individuals access into most, if not all, fields.
6. The second space race
The first space race set off in the 1960s, with the United States of America and Russia competing to put the first man on the moon. The modern space race stars billionaires such as the likes of Elon Musk (SpaceX), Richard Branson (Virgin Galactica) and Jeff Bezos (Blue Origin), as well as private companies like Boeing who are working on cutting-edge technologies to expand our foray into the great unknowns of outer space. Around the world, space is the new frontier, and the private sector is playing a larger role than ever – which means the potential in this sector has blown wide open.
Even the UAE government is amping up efforts to explore celestial bodies, develop satellite communications technology and deploy innovative space technologies. From the UAE’s first satellite built entirely by Emirati engineers launched into space in 2018 to Hazza Al Mansouri historic flight as the first Emirati in space, moves are fast being made – and many of the people realising these ambitions at the Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Centre (MBRSC) are under 35 years old! So, Hazza Al Mansouri and Sultan Al Neyadi are not the only figures who can take this giant leap for the region – the investment in the Dh3 billion National Space Fund from UAE Space Agency means greater demand for talent is on the horizon.
7. Job satisfaction
Despite the strenuous studies that might precede a career in science, it is also one of the careers that can provide great job satisfaction knowing that you are working for the common good. Improving people’s quality of life, providing futuristic treatments to cancer like those available at the Neuro Spinal Hospital or trying to find solutions to heal our planet – all of these features provide a bigger purpose.
You can also gain transferable skills from working in science, including critical thinking, creative problem solving and innovation. These are valuable lessons that apply to all parts of one’s life and are essential foundations to succeed in the future of work.
- The writer is the managing director of Dubai Science Park.