The UAE has announced that the year 2015 will be marked as the year of innovation following a cabinet meeting in Fujairah, according to the state news agency WAM.
The cabinet, which convened on November 30, 2014, also issued directions to all federal government entities to revise government policies in order to provide a nurturing environment for innovation in the country.
“Announcing 2015 as the year of innovation comes to support federal government efforts, attract national skills, increase distinguished researches as well as boost efforts to build a national cadre who are able to lead our future in this field towards more progress, prosperity and innovation,” said UAE President Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan.
“We live today in a world witnessing rapid changes and continuous developments, full of opportunities, discoveries and inventions.
“We must prepare and equip our generations in a manner that they fit in the world in which we live, ensure their position among nations, and make a prosperous future for us similar to our present,” he said.
The declaration follows the launch of the national innovation strategy in October this year, which aims to make the Emirates the most innovative country in the world by 2021.
The strategy will focus on bringing innovation into seven sectors namely renewable energy, transport, education, health, technology, water and space.
The innovation strategy will be carried out in phases with the first stage consisting of 30 national initiatives to be completed within three years. The initiatives will cover new legislation, innovation incubators, investment in specialised skills, private-sector incentives, international research partnerships, and an innovation drive within the government.
The strategy will also work towards creating an environment that encourages innovation through laws. In addition, the plan will also look to develop innovation in the private sector by stimulating companies to establish scientific research centres.
To ensure a thorough implementation of this strategy, the UAE also set up a National Innovation Committee that will be made up of members from various federal government agencies.
“Today and more than any other time, we need to boost innovation among young people, build nurturing environments in our society, and encourage our schools and universities to equip our youth with skills in research and discovery methodologies,” said Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, vice president and prime minister of the UAE and ruler of Dubai.
“We want our public and private sectors to explore new horizons to develop our economy. Innovation is our only way to build a great history of the UAE. The future will be for those who adopt innovation.”
Current annual investment in innovation is worth Dhs14 billion in the UAE, of which Dhs7 billion goes to research and development. But innovation spending will rise significantly in the years to come, WAM said.