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Abu Dhabi: Abu Dhabi has launched a multi-pronged campaign that aims to encourage talented professionals, students and investors to grow priority sectors while settling down in the emirate.

The ‘Thrive in Abu Dhabi’ campaign highlights the long-term visas and paths to citizenship that are available for expats working, creating, studying, excelling or investing in priority sectors for the emirate, including culture, healthcare, research and development (R&D) and real estate. Interested expats are encouraged to be part of a global arts and culture hub, join the emirate’s dynamic media and entertainment industry, or create of a better understanding of the UAE’s past among fellow academics, conservators and archaeologists.

Creative pursuits

The creative visa builds on Abu Dhabi’s five-year Culture Sector Strategy for Abu Dhabi, unveiled in November 2019 by the Department of Culture and Tourism (DCT). This strategy focuses on preserving and sustaining Abu Dhabi’s cultural heritage, on increasing awareness of, and engagement with, cultural heritage and the arts and on stimulating creativity as a driver for education and social change. It also aims to build and enable capacity in Abu Dhabi’s culture sector, and contribute to economic growth and diversification.

In a statement sent on Thursday, the Abu Dhabi Media Office emphasised that Abu Dhabi has a thriving cultural and creative sector with strong global credentials, including world-class museums, arts centres, art fairs, music concerts, and a grassroots artistic community. These include Louvre Abu Dhabi, Manarat Al Saadiyat, Warehouse241, Abu Dhabi Art annual fair, Qasr AlHosn and Cultural Foundation and the forthcoming Zayed National Museum and Guggenheim. In addition, there are a number of international educational institutions supporting students to excel in creative industries, including the NYU Abu Dhabi, Sorbonne Abu Dhabi, Berkley College and CNN Academy.

Students’ path

Apart from cultural paths to a long-term future in Abu Dhabi, students with a PhD or promising scientific ability at either high school or university level can expand their horizons, and ensure exciting career paths by studying at one of a collection of world-class academic institutions in Abu Dhabi, including the NYU Abu Dhabi, Sorbonne Abu Dhabi and Khalifa University. The Khalifa University was ranked in 2019 as 13th out of 442 universities from 43 countries by the Times Higher Education Emerging Economies University Rankings.

In addition, students can learn the skills of the future, including in specialist areas such as Artificial Intelligence at the new Mohamed bin Zayed University for Artificial Intelligence, or coding at the innovative coding school 42 Abu Dhabi. They can also participate in pioneering research in areas related to COVID-19 and AgTech at UAE University, or focus on tolerance and coexistence at the world’s first university dedicated to human fraternity, the Mohamed bin Zayed University for Humanities.

R&D ecosystem

‘Thrive in Abu Dhabi’ also invites innovators to turn their idea into reality - with access to funding and incentives - as part of a dynamic R&D ecosystem that is pioneering new technologies to solve the global challenges of the future, from water security to food technology.

The emirate is focused on fostering a thriving R&D ecosystem that brings together all relevant players, including academic institutions, research institutes and the private sector. In 2020, Abu Dhabi launched the Middle East’s first research council, the Advanced Technology Research Centre (ATRC), which includes the Technology Innovation Institute. The Institute focuses on work within seven pillars: quantum research, autonomous robotics, cryptography, advanced materials, digital security, directed energy and secure systems.

Competitive research funding is also available as part of Abu Dhabi’s accelerator programme, Ghadan 21, through which the Abu Dhabi Department of Education and Knowledge (Adek) has launched Dh40 million in academic research grants that support R&D. Abu Dhabi’s economic investment strategy is also focused on attracting innovation-led companies that are focused on R&D. For example, all AgTech firm investments by Abu Dhabi last year included significant R&D set-ups.

Investment opportunities

Other investment pathways are available, and investors and entrepreneurs can tap into major opportunities by expanding their business in financial services, ICT, health services and biopharma, AgTech, tourism. These have been identified by the Abu Dhabi Investment Office (ADIO), along with real estate, as key sectors.

Long-term visas in Abu Dhabi also empower expats to invest in their ‘forever home’ in an attractive real estate market where they can plan to retire.

The Abu Dhabi Media Office stressed that start-ups are receiving significant support, with Abu Dhabi emerging as a global start-up hub, particularly for future technologies like FinTech, AgTech, HealthTech and EdTech. Ghadan 21 has accelerated the ecosystem’s development by supporting start-ups and SMEs through initiatives such as Hub71, a global start-up ecosystem that is now home to more than 100 start-ups, Ventures Fund (managed by ADQ) and SME Credit Guarantee and SME supply chain financing initiative.

Attracting talent

The ‘Thrive in Abu Dhabi’ initiative also calls upon individuals who excel in areas such as sport, healthcare, science, education or engineering to accelerate their careers in a global trade hub – with a rapidly diversifying economy and fast-growing private sector that supports residents to be the best in their field – while creating a home in Abu Dhabi.The diversity of Abu Dhabi’s support for talented expats is in line with the leadership vision to diversify the economy, as well as ensure a welcoming, safe and supportive environment where everyone can thrive.