Grant funding has been allocated to entities in Abu Dhabi for research in aerospace, education and social sciences, energy, environment, food and agriculture, health, information and communication technology, and manufacturing. Picture for illustrative purposes only. Image Credit: Gulf News Archives

Abu Dhabi: A total of Dh40 million in research funding has been awarded to 53 research and development projects across eight key sectors in Abu Dhabi.

The funds have been granted by the Advanced Technology Research Council (ATRC), which is mandated to shape Abu Dhabi’s research and development strategy and its advanced technology ecosystem. The project funds will be managed by Aspire, ATRC’s technology programme management pillar, through its two programmes — Aspire Award for Research Excellence (AARE) and Aspire Young Investigator Award (AYIA).

Grant funding was allocated to entities in aerospace, education and social sciences, energy, environment, food and agriculture, health, information and communication technology, and manufacturing.

‘Exceptionally high standard of entries’

Faisal Al Bannai, ATRC secretary-general

"As a core foundational priority of ATRC, we are delighted to play our part in collaboration with the country’s higher education institutions to incubate research projects that will contribute to the greater good and encourage sustainable progress in Abu Dhabi, the UAE and beyond. ATRC congratulates the winners and commends all the participants for the exceptionally high standard of entries to the Aspire programmes this year."

“Aspire will manage the distribution of grants to our two key research-enabling programmes that aim to foster a healthy spirit of competition and bring to the forefront the most worthwhile and cutting-edge projects. Such projects can now transition seamlessly from concept to completion and lab to market without interruption, to ensure transformative global impact,” said Dr Arthur Morrish, Aspire’s chief executive officer.

Due weightage

The grant awardees were picked from 370 proposals across the two programmes. An international pool of peer reviewers from leading research institutions around the world whittled down the sizeable number of initial proposals based on criteria such as research quality and originality, feasibility of the proposal, relevance to strategic sectors in Abu Dhabi, qualifications of applicants, potential impact on the sector and human capital development. In addition, due weightage was accorded to entries that demonstrated collaboration with industry, as well as inter-institutional and STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) education engagement.

Advancing scientific and technological development

The AARE grant was open to all full-time faculty in higher education institutes geographically located within the emirate of Abu Dhabi.

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Meanwhile, the AYIA programme funding, which amounted to Dh1 million, was allocated to six outstanding research proposals in targeted thematic areas. The competitive funding programme was open to young researchers in Abu Dhabi who are within six years of obtaining their terminal degree (PhD or equivalent).

Research funded by the two programmes is anticipated to advance scientific and technological development within Abu Dhabi, as well as foster meaningful partnerships between scientists in Abu Dhabi and leading academic and industrial stakeholders at a national and global level.