DED LAUNCHED A PROJECT TO FACILITATE R&D ACTIVITY IN DUBAI
Written by Xavier MONGIN, July 2019 – In a country where major Investments are highly visible through real estate, hospitality and infrastructure developments and where R&D fundings are low compared to top countries (1% of GDP vs 3 %), Dubai is willing to put on track all efforts to drive research and development to the next level.
DED – Department of Economic Development – is leading an initiative to build-up this R&D ecosystem and nurture a better collaboration between academia and industry.
They came out with the idea that the best way to improve this collaboration is to move intermediaries and complexity to digital and seamless by launching an innovative “R&D Collaboration Platform”.
When I have been proposed by Sanjay Nadkarni (Ph.D.) | Director of Innovation & Research at EAHM to be part of the Round Tables organized by DED to brainstorm and refine this platform project, I saw an opportunity to share the recently launched ALE University Partnership Program. For this second session held on 25th June 2019, DED has invited 50 professionals from private and government sector and 3 company speakers to share their used cases in term of collaboration with universities and students.
The 2 other companies presenting were EGA (Emirates Global Aluminium) one of the largest aluminium producers and DU presenting their U5GIG program for innovation. Both companies being very large Dubai based corporates.
Though ALE has a very different profile we are similar to most of the IT companies in Dubai; We are there to sell our solutions and drive the business across the region; We have Marketing, Sales, Services, HR but our R&D is elsewhere, hence I found interesting to share the way ALE is moving forward with its Academic-Industry and strategic business partnerships by giving access to training, accessing to SDK, APIs, sandbox and opening collaborative spaces to share knowledge and best practices with universities across different continents.
Back in 2017 and while we already had more than one year of cooperation with EAHM, providing lecture and ICT trainings to the Students with my Colleague Ashish Saxena, I have proposed to Sanjay to enroll the students into a Start-up journey. While I had some experience in the Entrepreneurship and mentoring, I built up a workshop following the Design Thinking method. Ashish and I introduced our UCaaS/CPaaS concept at the earliest stage of Rainbow ™ and after few weeks the 3 groups of students were ready to engage in the Dubai Holding Intrapreneurs Competition. Two student teams made it to the finals competing with 18 other groups from various experienced employees in Dubai Holding companies and finally one of our 2 groups won the competition with a Digital Apps for the Hospitality Industry. Though this project does not cover the R&D -but the ideation and pitch only-, it is indeed a great example of collaboration between a university and an enterprise initiated by 2 stake holders, knowing each over and already involved in a partnership.
How can a government multiply such touch points and facilitate the collaboration between students and professionals to see exponential partnerships going beyond ideas and involving R&D?
This is exactly the question that DED is willing to solve. The platform mission is to “bring valuable ideas into use in a knowledge-driven economy and connect research, innovation and funding.”
The platform will primarily target 7 key focus clusters: Renewable/Clean Energy, Transportation, Technology, Education, Healthcare, Water, Space.
Moving forward with a core platform prototype presented by DED, the workshops should continue after the summer break.
“I see this project fully consistent with Dubai vision and Expo 2020 theme: Connecting Academia and Industry could be underlined by Connecting Minds and R&D by Creating the Future ! “
Xavier MONGIN 2019 publication