H.H. Sheikh Hamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Chief of the Abu Dhabi Crown Prince's Court, Chairman of the Board of Trustees of Khalifa University, attended the first day of Khalifa University's Innovation Week, where he witnessed signing ceremonies committing up to Dh71.1 million by ICT Fund, a TRA initiative, and Khalifa University.
The fund will be used to sponsor 50 undergraduate students and 30 Master's students under the "Be'tha" programme, and 10 faculty research projects grants.
This partnership aims to advance education in the UAE in disciplines related to telecommunications and information technology, by supporting and nurturing top Emirati students in the fields of science.
Sheikh Hamed said during his visit that innovation has become imperative to the continued development required to build a sustainable knowledge-based economy, which will boost the UAE's regional and global position as a producer, and hub, of research and development. This lofty goal was set by the UAE's wise leadership, led by President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, when he declared 2015 to be the UAE's Year of Innovation, and Vice President and Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum's launch of the National Strategy for Innovation, which aims to achieve the UAE's 2021 vision.
During his visit, Sheikh Hamed bin Zayed, also had the opportunity to tour Khalifa University's newly opened Aerospace Research and Innovation Centre (ARIC), which was founded in collaboration with Mubadala Aerospace and boasts advanced manufacturing equipment for the production of cost effective composites and materials and facilities to characterise and evaluate the properties of materials and fibres, as well as automation equipment for the effective assembly of aircraft components.
He was also briefed on a number of projects that Khalifa University students, including a system for the design, modelling and control of hybrid Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV's), a smart fabric for electrocardiogram (ECG) and blood pressure measurements, and a next generation mobile health biological chip.
Dr. Abdul Qader Ibrahim Khayat, Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the ICT Fund, said that the "Be'tha" initiative falls within the framework of the TRA's strategy for the development of Emiratis specially trained in the fields of telecommunications, information technology, and it is concerned with the support and sponsorship of outstanding students so that they can take part in the construction and development of ongoing major projects in the UAE, including recent initiatives in smart government and smart cities."
He added that the initiative also responds to the growing demand for national human capital in field of telecommunications and other related areas. The TRA has worked to assess the status of Emiratisation, and specialised human resources, in these fields, and has developed a plan for the advancement of this matter through supporting outstanding students involved in these fields.
Dr. Khayat added that the ICT sector is dynamically contributed to supporting the construction of a knowledge-based economy, which is why the "Be'tha" Programme was launched in 2013. This special program aims to achieve the objectives of the 2021 Vision, by contributing to the provision of a high-level education system for future generations.
Dr. Mohammed Ibrahim Al Mualla, Senior Vice President for Research and Graduate Studies at Khalifa University said, "We are delighted to see this growth in cooperation with our government relations, which demonstrates an awareness of the importance of research to the knowledge economy of the UAE. The ICT field is one of the key areas that are used continuously to measure the level of innovation and competitiveness on a global scale. Khalifa University considers this a key strategic area in its research agenda. Through this support, we promote the continued upgrade of innovation and research at the University so we can continue compete with global innovation levels, which in turn will pour directly into promoting the UAE's position on the world's map of the most productive research countries, with a high level of graduate students, especially in critical areas of great importance to the UAE.