The national strategy for innovation
Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, launched a National Innovation Strategy on October 2014 with the aim of making the UAE one of the most innovative nations in the world within seven years.
The strategy will stimulate innovation in seven sectors where innovation is key to excellence: renewable energy, transport, education, health, technology, water and space. Its first phase includes 30 national initiatives to be completed within three years. These include new legislation, innovation incubators, investment in specialised skills, private sector incentives, international research partnerships and an innovation drive within government.
The strategy tracks:
- The first track will establish a stimulating environment for innovation in the form of supportive institutions and laws. It will shape specialised entities such as innovation incubators as well as technological infrastructure to fuel innovation in all sectors. It will also focus on research and development in various innovation fields.
- The second track will develop government innovation by institutionalising innovative practices with the support of an integrated system of modern tools. The strategy requires all government entities to reduce spending by one per cent and dedicate the savings to research and innovation projects. National training and education programmes on innovation will also be launched.
- The third track will encourage private sector innovation by stimulating companies to establish innovation and scientific research centres, adopt new technologies, and develop innovative products and services. The UAE will attract pioneering international firms in key innovation sectors, establish innovation communities and zones, and support applied research in areas of national priority. It will also enhance the UAE's position as an international centre to test new innovations.
- The fourth track will prepare individuals with highly innovative skills by concentrating on science, technology, engineering and mathematics, including the creation of educational material for schools and universities. The aim is to establish a national culture that encourages innovation and entrepreneurship through partnerships between the public, private and media sectors.
The strategy sectors:
The strategy contains practical initiatives in each of its seven priority sectors:
- Renewable energy: The strategy will establish a new organisation to facilitate decentralised power generation projects such as small scale solar installations. The strategy will also encourage innovation in the renewables industry while also supporting applied research in clean technology.
- Transportation: The strategy will stimulate innovation in air and sea travel as well as logistics. The aim is to provide new products and services, make procedures more effective and save time. The strategy will also focus on innovation in the field of unmanned drones.
- Education: The strategy will establish innovation labs in schools and universities as part of a drive to equip students with targeted skills such as critical thinking, problem-solving, creativity, perseverance and adaptability.
- Health: The strategy will promote advanced technologies in healthcare services. It will stimulate the growth of the biotechnology and pharmaceutical industries while also working with strategic partners to support medical research.
- Water: The strategy will seek innovative solutions to the challenge of water scarcity.
- Technology: Innovation in research and technology.
- Space: The strategy will support space technology for the purpose of exploration as well as satellite communications and specialised research on terrestrial applications.