The winners of the competition at COP28 at Expo City Dubai on Saturday Image Credit: Ahmed Ramzan/Gulf News

Dubai: Awards for the ‘Prototypes for Humanity’, an annual event recognising world’s best academic innovators, was announced on Saturday in Dubai.

The awards, held under the patronage of Sheikha Latifa bint Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Chairperson of the Dubai Culture and Arts Authority (Dubai Culture) and Member of the Dubai Council, saw five project winners walk away with $100,000 (over Dh360,000) each. The cash prize won by the winners will go towards research in critical areas of energy, construction, healthcare, consumer goods, agriculture, soil and water.

During the awards ceremony Image Credit: Ahmed Ramzan/Gulf News

Sheikha Latifa, who was present at the Awards ceremony, said: “The the 2023 edition of Prototypes for Humanity is a showcase of the top 100 innovations that can make the world a more sustainable and better place. These inventions and their creators inspire all of us in government and business to continuously invest in and prepare for the challenges of today and tomorrow. This country is the natural home for an initiative like this one – after all the UAE is built on the premise of innovation and the promise of a better future for all.”

About Prototypes for Humanity

Prototypes for Humanity is a pool of academic talent and innovations with a vision to change the world. The initiative supports the projects that address environment and societal challenges. And this is done by involving the academia, private and public sector.

This year the event saw 100 projects reflecting the potential of academia in solving complex problems, including those prioritised on the agenda of the United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP28), being held in Dubai.

Shortlisted projects

The prototypes spread across five key sustainable areas - Nature, Food and Water systems; Health, Relief and Safety; Energy, Efficiency and Waste; Education, Equality and Communities; and Data science and AI-enabled Solutions.

These prototypes aligned with COP28 priorities such as emissions reduction, waste and biomaterials, water pollution, extreme events, and artificial intelligence.


The five winning projects announced were a synthetic yeast to enhance sustainable production of food and biofuels; a medicine-injection device optimised for emergency disaster scenarios; bioplastics made from invasive weed supporting local communities; a satellite monitoring tool to prevent negligence-caused disasters; and AI to detect suspicious activity in public procurement processes.

Synthetic Yeasts for Biotechnology, Princeton University in the category of Energy, Efficiency and Waste: The Synthetic Yeasts for Biotechnology project is centred on creating a synthetic version of the yeast Saccharomyces cerevisiae for superior chemical production.

Digital Twins 4 Tailings Dams, University of Oxford in the category of Data sciences, AI: Digital Twins 4 Tailings Dams is a satellite-based early warning system to monitor and prevent environmental disasters in mining facilities, specifically the tailings storage facilities (TSFs).

The Golden Capsule: Hongik University, South Korea in the category of Health, Relief and Safety: The Golden Capsule is a non-powered medicine-injection device optimised for emergency rescuers in disaster scenarios.

Hyapak, Egerton University in the category of Nature, Food, and Water systems: HyaPak converts water hyacinth into biodegradable plastic alternatives, reducing waste whilst helping eradicate an invasive species.

Kapak, San Francisco de Quito in the category of Education, Equality and Communities: It is a software application that combats corruption in Ecuador’s public procurement system using data science. The software application harnesses data science and AI to combat corruption in public procurement.

Graduates from renowned universities worldwide, such as Yale, Stanford, Oxford, Princeton, Berkeley, MIT, Harvard and Cambridge, contributed a diverse range of projects.

The collective of solutions were displayed in Dubai.