Press Room

24 February 2009

Sheikh Saud announces research grants to encourage UAE scientific research

Sheikh Saud announces research grants to encourage UAE scientific research

Sheikh Saud bin Saqr Al Qasimi, Crown Prince and Deputy Ruler of Ras Al Khaimah, today announced expansion of the 'Sheikh Saqr Al Qasimi Research Fellowship' programme to encourage scientific research in UAE universities and to position Ras Al Khaimah as a global centre of excellence in materials science research.

Under the new initiative, the Ras Al Khaimah Centre for Advanced Materials (RAK- CAM) would provide about half a dozen new research grants to those involved in materials sciences research in UAE Universities and countries in the region.

Sheikh Saud made the announcement at the Al Dhait Palace last evening at the reception accorded to scientists and researchers who attended the 1st International Workshop on Advanced Materials (IWAM- 09), which concluded here yesterday.

Sheikh Saud said:

"We are doubling the budget for the 'Sheikh Saqr Al Qasimi Research Fellowship' programme in order to encourage more local students take up research projects in UAE Universities and across the region."

Sheikh Saud also announced the appointment of eminent chemical physicist, Prof Mostafa A. El-Sayed as the first Sheikh Saqr visiting professor at RAK-CAM. Prof Mostafa is the winner of the 2007 National Medal of Science, United States' highest scientific honor, and is currently the Julius Brown Chair and Regents Professor at Georgia Tech University, Atlanta.

The new research grants would expand the scope of the prestigious 'Sheikh Saqr Al Qasimi Research Fellowship' programme which currently supports materials science research in University of Pennsylvania, University of Cambridge, Virginia Commonwealth University and Jawaharlal Nehru Center for Advanced Scientific Research in Bangalore.

Calling for concerted action to make advanced scientific research a national and regional priority, Sheikh Saud said, 'According to the 2003 Arab Human Development Report, investment in research and development (R&D) in the Arab world is less than one- seventh of the world average. Furthermore, the main limitation of the Arab scientific R&D agencies is their lack of capacity to transform research results into investment projects. The underlying gap for this exists either in research plans or in the knowledge, expertise and facilities of these institutions.'

Sheikh Saud said that RAK- CAM is envisioned as a flagship for advanced research in the Middle East and will provide educational and training opportunities for new scientists and engineers at the regional and international levels; conduct research in support of local industries, develop new business opportunities and produce new options to ensure energy security and sustainable development.

Explaining the rationale for RAK- CAM's focus on materials science research, Sheikh Saud said, 'RAK- CAM will embrace interdisciplinary materials science in the broadest sense- from structural materials to advanced electronic materials and biomaterials. The industry of Advanced Materials has become a priority area around the world and is rapidly developing. Additionally, Advanced Materials research holds special significance for RAK as it has a rapidly developing manufacturing sector, accounting for 52 percentage of GDP.'

He added that development of Advanced Materials and processes could result in large savings in energy and product life- cycle costs for a large number of industries.

Prof Anthony K Cheetham, Chairman of the Advisory Board of RAK- CAM, said that RAK- CAM would also offer 20 new travel grants to students from the region to enable them attend the IWAM- 2010 conference.

Sheikh Saud also hosted a dinner banquet to the around 100 leading scientists and researchers from 25 countries who had attended the IWAM- 09. Sheikh Abdul Malik bin Kayed Al Qasimi, Advisor to the RAK Ruler, Sheikh Salem bin Sultan Al Qasimi, Chairman of RAK Civil Aviation, heads of government departments and senior officials attended the function.