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Health research in the UAE is growing at a rate three times faster than the global average. Between 2017 and 2022, there were 2,500 research papers published in the UAE, while 200 clinical trials were also conducted. This was unveiled by the UAE Ministry of Health and Prevention during an event highlighting the “Landscape of Health Research Report in the UAE 2017-2022” in Dubai.

Dubai : The Ministry of Health and Prevention (MoHAP) has announced that health research in the UAE is growing at a rate three times faster than the global average. The ministry revealed that health research outputs in the country have shown a remarkable increase of 25.2 per cent from 2017 to 2022.

Furthermore, the UAE is a leading collaborator in health research among GCC countries, with 80 per cent of the health research published by the UAE being conducted in partnership with international institutions.

The Ministry of Health and Prevention unveiled the “Landscape of Health Research Report in the UAE 2017-2022” at an event held in Dubai.

The report was prepared by the National Center for Health Research in collaboration with Elsevier and launched in the presence of esteemed officials, including Dr. Amin Hussain Al Ameeri and representatives from various health and academic institutions.

UAE leads in health research

The report offers significant insights into the prevailing trends of health-related research in the UAE, pinpointing areas of proficiency and potential avenues for further growth. These findings stem from a thorough review of research published in esteemed journals, including scientific articles and conference papers. The study utilizes verified quantitative indicators, such as the total number of published research works. Quality-wise, it uses the Field-Weighted Citation Impact (FWCI) to evaluate the top 10 institutions in the UAE. Furthermore, the report underscores the benchmarking of performance indicators in health research and clinical trials in the UAE in comparison to the GCC and G20 economic countries.

The Ministry expects the report to serve as a trustworthy resource for decision-makers in the health sector, with a vision to enhance effective health policies on a wide range of significant health topics.

These topics span from chronic diseases and global epidemics to research on technology applications and modern medical advancements. The report mirrors the UAE’s commitment to consistently review research performance in the health sector and strengthen cooperation and knowledge exchange with both academic and health institutions, as well as the private sector, regionally and globally.

UAE: 2,500 research papers from 2017 to 2022, 200 clinical trials

The report shows that as a subject, medicine tops the list in terms of the volume of health research published in the UAE. It is followed by biochemistry, genetics, molecular biology, pharmacy, toxicology, and pharmaceuticals. Interestingly, dentistry stands out as a field that receives exceptional emphasis, with health research publications in dentistry in the UAE being more than double the worldwide percentage.

The report further highlights that an impressive 19 per cent of health research in the UAE ranks within the top 10 per cent of research published on the Scopus platform. Furthermore, UAE health research has been cited more frequently than its counterparts in the Gulf Cooperation Council, the G20 economic group, and other countries, exceeding the global average citation rate by 74 per cent.

The UAE University and the University of Sharjah have made significant contributions towards the advancement of health research. They have collectively published more than 2,500 research papers between 2017 and 2022.

In addition, over 200 clinical trials have been carried out in the UAE, involving more than 250 disease cases. The country has made remarkable progress in clinical research, establishing itself as the second-largest participant among GCC nations regarding trial numbers.

National health research strategy

Dr Al Ameeri has emphasised the importance of the report on the “Landscape of health research from 2017 to 2022”, which is a significant accomplishment resulting from the National Health Research Strategy. The goal of the strategy is to establish a strong culture of health research and provide an environment that encourages the active involvement of Emirati scientists and researchers while adhering to global best practices.

Furthermore, Dr Al Ameeri has highlighted that the Ministry is collaborating with health and academic authorities to establish a robust bioethical research framework and a collaborative ecosystem for sharing knowledge and resources related to biomedical research. The Ministry is committed to creating an environment that supports scientific biomedical research and finding sustainable solutions for health challenges.

Devising future strategies

According to Dr. Khalil Qayed, the bibliometric analytical data from published research is a valuable and reliable resource for policymakers, healthcare providers, researchers, research management professionals, and the community. The report’s findings will serve as catalysts for further research to help devise strategies focused on specific health research domains. This, in turn, will boost the productivity and quality of health research and clinical trials.

As a result, the UAE’s relevant competitiveness indicators for Research and Development will improve, and more investments in biomedical research and development will be attracted.