Shaikh Mohammad has instructed government agencies to participate in the Dubai Future Accelerators programme. Image Credit: WAM/Gulf News Archives

Dubai: A total of 19 pilot projects worth Dh120m were signed at the end of the first session of Dubai’s Future Accelerators Programme (DFA), the government said on Sunday.

These projects will be carried out under the supervision of seven government entities within seven different strategic sectors.

Fourteen of the international companies taking part in the programme have decided to relocate their headquarters to Dubai — most notably, Hyperloop One, which shows the UAE’s newfound attractiveness among blue chip companies. Until recently blue chips opted to set up shop in established innovative environments such as Silicon Valley in the US.

The pilot projects are expected to create 135 job opportunities in Dubai over the next three months, which is projected to increase exponentially when the projects achieve tangible results, and the companies expand their activities. The programme has attracted global investors. Specifically, ten of the participating companies are likely to create new and lucrative markets shortly.

Mohammed Abdullah Al Gergawi

Mohammed Abdullah Al Gergawi, Vice-Chairman of the Board of Trustees, and Managing Director of Dubai Future Foundation, announced that the second round of the DFA would see five new government and private entities join the programme. These entities are: the Department of Economic Development, Dubai Smart City, the General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs, Etisalat, and du — bringing the total to 13 organisations.

Starting from the second round of Dubai Future Accelerators, private companies will be allowed to take part in the programme alongside government entities, exploring new ways to cooperate, finance, and invest in the companies taking part in the DFA programme. This increases the chances for participating companies to secure funds and penetrate the market.

Al Gergawi said that His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of UAE and Ruler of Dubai, was leading a government system that encouraged unconventional thinking to achieve unprecedented results.

“The wise leadership of the UAE has envisaged a vision that aims to transform the future into reality and has set a global platform to drive innovative ideas that are relevant to achieving economic and social returns by identifying quality solutions for the developmental challenges facing the world’s cities, and touching people’s lives.”

“Led by the outstanding success of the first session of the Accelerator programme, with 19 companies from 30 selected for their economic, innovative and scientific value, Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum has instructed government agencies to participate in the DFA for the fourth generation of governmental excellence in Dubai, as the programme is a very effective tool for government entities to meet the demands of the future. He also encouraged the private sector to be involved in financing and experimenting future technologies that the 19 companies are providing which will make a positive difference to people’s lives.”

Saif Al Aleeli

Saif Al Aleeli, CEO of Dubai Future Foundation, said that compared to the global average, the first round of DFA achieved an unprecedented success rate of 64 per cent. Normally, the rate seldom exceeds 30 per cent, he noted.

“The first round of the programme has already increased Dubai’s total spend on research and development by 6 per cent in just three months. This in turn, boosts the emirate’s competitiveness and signals its transition to an innovation-led economy.”

Nineteen pilot projects, seven key sectors

Companies that qualified in the first round of the Dubai Future Accelerators programme will work to implement their 19 pilot projects within seven key sectors: health, education, energy, transportation, infrastructure, technology, and security.

Education: Under the Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA), Labster has adopted a project that aims to create an integrated virtual infrastructure for laboratory devices and equipment. The project reduces overhead costs in educational institutions and increases the efficiency of the sector by 25 per cent to 40 per cent.

Estonian start-up, Guaana, received a pilot programme to reinvent the global system for financing scientific research by opting for a participatory economy system and increase the effectiveness of scientific research tenfold.

Energy: Under Dubai Electricity and Water Authority, a pilot project was awarded to Ecoisme to deploy several advanced artificial intelligence systems around Dubai to monitor and reduce electricity consumption.

The energy accelerator also adopted a project by Mistbox, which harnesses solar energy to operate a water-spray cooling system — thus reducing dependence on air conditioning by 30 per cent — as well as a sophisticated energy-free cooling system by Sure Chill which can keep vaccines refrigerated for up to two weeks without power.

Transportation: Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) will work on a feasibility study for a Hyperloop One system that reduces travel time between Abu Dhabi and Dubai to 12 minutes. The RTA additionally adopted a project by Next Transportation Technologies, which seeks to build prototypes of self-driving cars that to be used for public transport within cities and neighbourhoods.

Technology: Three projects were approved under Dubai Holding. The first was presented by Consensys and aims to develop a real estate database using Blockchain technology, while the second, presented by Machine Colony seeks to employ artificial intelligence to support investment decisions and asset pricing. The third project, submitted by Loyyal, seeks to create the “internet of Loyalty Points, Promotions, and Rewards”, also using Blockchain technology.

Construction: Under Dubai Municipality, a project by Disperse that seeks to employ artificial intelligence and big data to increase efficiency and reduce operational costs in several sectors was approved. Another approved project was presented by UAE-based company Grow; it aims to build a prototype for a farm that reduces the need for water and fertilisers and achieves food sustainability and security.

Security: Under Dubai Police, Comae is looking to employ artificial intelligence technology to prevent and solve cybercrimes ten times faster than conventional systems.

Health: A project from Honeywell approved under Dubai Health Authority seeks to implant technology within people’s homes that can record data to be analysed later to diagnose and prevent diseases. Additionally, a project by Medativ, which uses 3D printing technology to cut costs for surgical training and to produce replicas of human organs to increase the accuracy of surgical operations, was also approved.