Abu Dhabi launches $81 million R&D initiative


The Abu Dhabi government has signed an agreement with non-profit organisation XPRIZE to innovate the emirate’s water, energy and a wide range of industries.

The government and XPRIZE will invest $81 million towards research and development of new technologies as part of the Ghadan 21 programme.

The programme will direct $13.6 billion to accelerate the Abu Dhabi economy through digital technologies, new business models and partnerships with local, regional and international players in various industries.

The $81 million Ghadan investment will be directed towards research and development of solutions to address water scarcity, energy efficiency, food security, artificial intelligence, human ageing, and environmental conservation.

A series of competitions will be launched to bring together home-grown United Arab Emirates talent and innovators from around the globe.

Technologies to be developed will be offered local incubation opportunities in the Emirate, including the recently launched Abu Dhabi HUB71, which will support and invest in tech start-ups.

Sheikh Khalid bin Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Chairman of the Executive Committee and Member of the Abu Dhabi Executive Council said: “The Abu Dhabi Government’s long-term vision and focus on development drives the anticipation of global challenges.

“By working with our international partners, we are able to find suitable solutions, especially on vital issues such as climate change, water scarcity and artificial intelligence. We follow paths that look forward to the future. The focus on R&D is at the forefront of these tracks because it presents the challenges in all dimensions and contributes to the provision of innovative solutions ensuring a prosperous and sustainable future for the next generation, without considering borders. This is a step in support of R&D and innovation, and it will be followed by several government initiatives in collaboration with the world’s leading institutions.”

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Nicholas Nhede is an experienced energy sector writer based in Clarion Event's Cape Town office. He has been writing for Smart Energy International’s print and online media platforms since 2015, on topics including metering, smart grids, renewable energy, the Internet of Things, distributed energy resources and smart cities. Originally from Zimbabwe, Nicholas holds a diploma in Journalism and Communication Studies. Nicholas has a passion for how technology can be used to accelerate the energy transition and combat climate change.