Abu Dhabi Government, XPRIZE partner to grow emirate's R&D ecosystem

Abu Dhabi Government, XPRIZE partner to grow emirate's R&D ecosystem

ABU DHABI, 25th March, 2019 (WAM) -- The Abu Dhabi Government and XPRIZE Foundation have signed a strategic agreement to grow Abu Dhabi’s research and development, R&D, ecosystem. The partnership is a major Ghadan 21 initiative to grow Abu Dhabi’s R&D ecosystem with a commitment of AED300 million (US$81 million) to crowdsource innovation via a series of XPRIZE Abu Dhabi global competitions.

H.H. Sheikh Khalid bin Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Member of the Abu Dhabi Executive Council and Chairman of the Executive Committee, witnessed the signing of the agreement between the Abu Dhabi Government and the XPRIZE Foundation, the global leader in incentivized prize competitions, in the presence of a number of government leaders and strategic partners.

The agreement is the largest government partnership to date for XPRIZE.

Initiated as part of the Ghadan 21 programme, it is the first global partnership and major milestone of the recently announced AED5.6 billion commitment by His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces and Chairman of the Abu Dhabi Executive Council, to accelerate the R&D ecosystem in Abu Dhabi.

Commenting on the announcement, H.H. Sheikh Khalid bin Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, 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."

Over the next three years, the partnership will launch a series of XPRIZE Abu Dhabi competitions to bring together home-grown UAE talent and innovators from around the globe to develop solutions that help answer the Emirate’s and the world’s critical challenges. The competitions will focus on six key themes: water scarcity, energy efficiency, food security, artificial intelligence, human ageing, and environmental conservation.

The comprehensive R&D strategy has been developed to position the Emirate as a global beacon for technology, innovation and talent. Competition prizes is a key pillar of the R&D strategy, designed to bring together people from across disciplines and markets to jointly solve some of the world’s and the Emirate’s most pressing challenges. The XPRIZE Abu Dhabi partnership is the first major milestone of this strategy.

The Abu Dhabi Executive Office has also put in place plans to ensure the best ideas that are developed as part of the XPRIZE Abu Dhabi competitions, 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.

Peter H. Diamandis, Founder and Executive Chairman of XPRIZE Foundation, said, "We are excited about this partnership and see this as an opportunity to inspire innovation in the region as well as diversify and expand our pool of problem-solvers participating in our ongoing competitions to develop breakthroughs that will benefit the world. We look forward to announcing the global XPRIZE competitions with Abu Dhabi over the next three years, stimulating ideas and innovation that will generate impact that will last far into the future."

Over the past two decades, XPRIZE has been instrumental in some of the world’s most innovative developments. The first-ever XPRIZE competition, the $10 Million Ansari XPRIZE for sub-orbital spaceflight, captured the world’s imagination and catalysed a multi-billion-dollar commercial space industry demonstrating the massive leverage and effectiveness of incentivised competitions. Since then, XPRIZE has launched seventeen competitions in the areas of energy, the environment, civil society, human health and longevity, learning, exploration, and mobility.

The most recent competition is the $10 Million ANA Avatar XPRIZE, challenging teams to develop an Avatar System that will transport a human’s sense, actions, and presence to a remote location in real time, leading to a more connected world. Teams can register through 30th September 2019 at the ANA Avatar XPRIZE website.