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UAE Launches Strategy To Become Most Innovative Country In Seven Years

UAE Launches Strategy To Become Most Innovative Country In Seven Years

The strategy will focus on bringing innovation into seven sectors namely renewable energy, transport, education, health, technology, water and space.

Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, UAE’s vice president and prime minister, has launched a national innovation strategy that aims to make the Emirates the most innovative nation in the world within seven years.

The strategy will focus on bringing innovation into seven sectors namely renewable energy, transport, education, health, technology, water and space, state news agency WAM reported.

The plan 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 government.

“The UAE is already the most innovative Arab nation. Our target is to be among the most innovative nations in the world,” said Sheikh Mohammed.

“The competitiveness race demands a constant flow of new ideas, as well as innovative leadership using different methods and tools to direct the change.”

The innovation strategy will work along four parallel tracks with the first track aiming to create an environment for innovation through institutions and laws, WAM said. It will also have innovation incubators and other technological infrastructure to fuel innovation in all sectors while ramping up efforts in research and development.

A second track will develop government innovation where each official entity is required to reduce spending by one per cent and dedicate that saving to research and innovation projects. National training and education programmes on innovation will also be launched by government organisations.

The third track is aimed to encourage innovation in the private sector by stimulating companies to establish innovation and scientific research centres, to adopt new technologies, and to develop innovative products and services.

While the fourth track will qualify 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 of this track is to establish a national culture that encourages innovation and entrepreneurship through partnerships between the public, private and media sectors.

“Innovation today is driven by effective institutions, strong policies, specialised skills, and an economy where all sectors work together to discover new ways to conduct business,” said Sheikh Mohammed.

“A flexible and creative economy based on a national culture of innovation is the fastest and most sustainable way to reinforce the UAE’s competitiveness on a global level.”

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 added.

The National Innovation Strategy will also include around 16 indicators to measure the progress of the innovation achieved.

Government-sector indicators include the percentage of innovative ideas and the proportion of budget allocated to innovation. Meanwhile, private-sector indicators are investment in research and development and the knowledge profile of the workforce.

Global indicators include an overall measure comparing countries’ innovation capabilities, as well as indicators for the protection of intellectual property, the creation of patents and the availability of scientists and engineers.

The strategy also contains practical initiatives in each of its seven priority sectors, the official news agency added.

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