Mohammad Abdullah Al Gergawi Minister of Cabinet Affairs and Saif Al Aleeli CEO Dubai-Museum-of-The-Future-Foundation Image Credit: Gulf News

Dubai: Dubai Future Accelerators (DFA), an ambitious new initiative to support and develop innovative solutions in seven key sectors, such as health and energy, was announced on Sunday by the Dubai Future Foundation (DFT).

The programme is in line with the directives of His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai. It has been launched by Shaikh Hamdan Bin Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai, who is also the DFT chairman of the board of trustees.

On Sunday, Mohammad Abdullah Al Gergawi, vice-chairman of the board of trustees and managing director of DFT and Minister of Cabinet Affairs and the Future, said Shaikh Mohammad’s directives stress the need to speed up the adoption of the necessary practical steps, as well as to combine efforts from various government institutions, in the quest to achieve the targets of DFA.

He explained that the initiative constitutes a support system for businesses and start-ups that are most in line with government strategies, especially with the support from government and semi-government institutions that represent the most vital sectors in the government’s agenda, such as health, education, transportation, infrastructure, renewable energy, etc.

It aims to proactively address seven key future challenges in areas such as transport and IT, among others.

This includes the application of cutting-edge technologies such as AI (Artificial Intelligence) and robotics, genomics, 3D printing, distributed ledgers, biomimicry and biotechnology, as well as new business models and ways of working.

The DFA will focus on the identification and deployment of futuristic prototypes on a city-wide scale. It links innovative companies and solutions with leading government departments to create breakthrough initiatives and transformational change.

“The [DFA] is the most ambitious programme in the world. It is designed to link our most powerful and influential government leaders with the world’s most ambitious companies and entrepreneurs to create radical new solutions to change the world,” said Al Gergawi.

At the heart of the programme are seven Dubai government entities, each leading the charge on one of the seven challenges.

Humaid Mohammad Al Qutami, chairman and director-general of the Dubai Health Authority, said the project is an extraordinary shift in the science of strategic planning and building the future, created by Shaikh Mohammad.

Hussain Nasser Lootah, director-general, Dubai Municipality, added: “Future accelerators and incubators would effectively contribute to implementing innovative ideas in reality, which serves the government’s agenda in various sectors. They create a singular opportunity for cooperation to implement the department’s ideas and projects and develop them to serve broader segments of society.”

The official website of the initiative, www.dubaifutureaccelerators.com, provides further details about the challenges facing each sector, how to play a part in solving them, as well as some important dates. In addition to that, the website explains the selection criteria and assessment process, based on which the Foundation will select the companies that will participate in the first session of DFA.


Seven Future Challenges

• Reduce water and energy consumption (at home, in production and distribution, and/or in commercial application), led by the Dubai Electricity and Water Authority.

• Prototype automated transport systems that could cut congestion in half and reduce transport-related CO2 emissions (across all modes, but in particular focusing on freight and fleet mobility systems such as taxis and public transport), led by the Dubai Roads and Transport Authority.

• Test automated, recycled, and nature-inspired building materials and solutions that reduce energy use and CO2 emissions (including robotics, automation, bacteriological, mycology, algae, biomimicry, regenerative systems, sand-based 3D printing materials, and others), led by the Dubai Municipality.

• Harness Dubai’s remarkable genetic diversity to enhance diagnostic speed and effectiveness (using genomics, analytics, telepresence and personalized medicine), led by Dubai Health Authority.

• Test 21st century assessment systems and personalized learning solutions that work across curriculums (with an emphasis on Arabic language education, STEAM, well-being, coding, and other disciplines, led by the Dubai Knowledge and Human Development Authority.

• Deploy digital solutions across hospitality, real estate and telecommunications industries that reduce paperwork, increase transaction speeds, and increase customer satisfaction by an order of magnitude (Blockchain, digital personalisation, etc.), led by Dubai Holding.

• Test integrated behavioural, genetic and biological systems for identifying, tracking and sharing information on criminals, in particular across borders and between jurisdictions, led by the Dubai Police.