UAE has outstanding role in construction technology industry: Sarah Al Amiri

DUBAI, Sarah Al Amiri, Minister of State for Advanced Technology, confirmed the UAE’s outstanding contribution and role in the advanced technology industry in the construction sector and its support for scientific research in a dynamic ecosystem and its readiness to welcome investors and innovators.

Al Amiri affirmed how the 2021 World Conference on Automation and Robotics in Construction would greatly assist in that task.

Yesterday, al-Amiri participated in the closing day session of the 38th session of the conference hosted by the UAE, for the first time in the region, over three days, with the participation of 420 researchers from 22 countries, in addition to 85 research centres and international universities, and high-ranking people, experts and specialists.

Al Amiri said the UAE understands that these technologies are necessary to develop a sustainable global competitive economy. At the end of her speech, she gave the example of the Museum of the Future, which is an excellent exhibition for visitors of Dubai and the UAE in general.

On its last day, the conference discussed more than 60 papers on many topics and witnessed several events, including a session where al-Amiri and Dr. Firas Habbal, Editor-in-Chief of the Emirates Scholar Gate participated.

Topics discussed at the session included human factors and cooperation between the human system, robotic machines, devices and end catalysts, construction management techniques, technology management and innovation, and various other topics related to these fields.

Dr. Habbal explained the role of the Emirates Scholar Gate and its impact on the practical field, and how it serves as an integrated virtual world specialising and directing scientific research services. Innovation and creativity are the foundations on which the UAE was built to establish its global position among developed countries, he added.

At the end of his speech, he emphasised the UAE’s vision of 2021 and its central and clear goal of developing the country’s economic and global role.

The 2021 World Conference on Automation and Robotics in Construction reviewed the latest technologies and innovative global solutions in automation and robotics in construction over three days, with more than 200 specialised scientific research papers covering 20 focuses in the scientific fields.

The conference also provided institutions and companies operating in the region with access to the latest trends and best practices.

Source: Emirates News Agency

UAE, Spain seek ways to increase collaboration in life sciences sector

ABU DHABI, The UAE’s Ministry of Industry and Advanced Technology (MoIAT) hosted its second “Sci-Tech Virtual Tour” for a high-level Spanish delegation to highlight the UAE’s advanced science and technology ecosystem, the role of Fourth Industrial Revolution technologies, and opportunities for global investors, innovators, and business leaders in the life sciences and healthcare sectors.

The second in the series of virtual tours that aim to showcase research and development (R&D) in addition to investment opportunities in the UAE to international partners, the two-day event was organized in cooperation with the UAE’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation and the UAE Embassy in the Kingdom of Spain. It welcomed researchers, start-ups, SMEs, and representatives of major businesses in the fields of science and technology from both the UAE and Spain.

Across two days, a series of panels and discussions explored the ways in which the UAE is deploying advanced technologies and Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) solutions and applications in the life sciences sector, including the UAE’s genomics program, and the research opportunities presented by the UAE’s science and technology ecosystem.

In addition to offering information on the UAE’s R&D, business, and industrial investment climate, the virtual tour also provided a platform for stakeholders to network, engage, and exchange ideas on the best ways to ensure sustainable long-term social and economic progress following the pandemic.

The discussions also highlighted Operation 300bn, the ten-year national industrial strategy developed by MoIAT that seeks to enhance the industrial sector’s role in stimulating the economy, driving industrial innovation, and accelerating the adoption of advanced technologies.

Speakers and panelists said the bilateral relationship between Spain and the UAE, especially in the fields of science and technology, would play an important role in accelerating this process and, ultimately, helping the UAE increase the industrial sector’s contribution to national GDP to AED300 billion by 2031.

Omar Ghobash, Assistant Minister for Culture and Public Diplomacy at the UAE’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, said: “In the last two years, despite the challenges faced by the entire global community, the UAE boldly demonstrated its steadfast commitment to economic diversification for a post-oil era and the transformation of our society into a diverse, knowledge-based economy.

“So, it’s no surprise that the robust expansion of the science and advanced technology ecosystem in the UAE is an area of particular interest for the leadership of our country and to our business community.”

He added: “In 2021, the science and advanced technology industries received a powerful boost in the UAE from Operation 300bn. The comprehensive strategy is designed to support the development of science and advanced technologies by creating attractive opportunities for international partnership growth and investments.

“Under the strategy, around 14,000 small and medium enterprises in key industrial sectors will be supported with financial incentive packages and new laws in the UAE that permit 100 percent foreign ownership of businesses set up by global investors.”

During his opening remarks on the first day, Majid Al Suwaidi, the UAE’s Ambassador to the Kingdom of Spain, explained how, as the gateway to the Middle East, the UAE has become a second home to international businesses focused on unlocking the potential of the region, spurred by the country’s ambitious social and economic development plans.

“The UAE is fully immersed in a process of economic diversification away from oil and gas through the development of future looking industries such as the life sciences sector.

“Even though we are among the world’s top producers of oil and gas, more than 70 percent of our economy today is based on non-oil and gas sectors. And this number continues to grow dramatically.”

He added: “As of today, more than 200 Spanish companies and more than 40,000 Spaniards call the UAE home. And this virtual tour comes at a perfect time. Our bilateral relations are very strong, particularly at the political level, and the good news is there is a lot of room for growth in our economic relations.

“Even though they are already strong and stable, our bilateral investment flows are valued at more than $9 billion. This year, we’re seeing promising results, with our bilateral trade expected to see further growth, as representatives of our business communities and the UAE International Investors Council have recently signed an MoU to collaborate further.

“Indeed, our two countries are advancing negotiations to sign a bilateral investment treaty, which will bring even more momentum to our economic relations.”

Amna Al Saleh, Head of the Technology Development section at MoIAT, expressed the importance of forging strategic international partnerships to enable a resilient, knowledge- and innovation-based economy powered by science and technology.

Al Saleh said: “Global partnerships are key to utilizing science and technology to address pressing global challenges. We hope to shed light on the UAE’s science and technology ecosystem and showcase what it offers to our international partners.

“With this virtual tour, we’re looking to create bridges between the two countries, our institutions and industries, and to open the doors to exploring further opportunities to collaborate in the life sciences and healthcare sectors.”

She added: “Ultimately, we are aiming to foster ongoing knowledge-sharing and technology transfer between our two countries, where our researchers are empowered to co-create a collaborative R&D framework for working on projects in the life sciences and healthcare sectors.”

A group of major national companies participated in the discussions, including Emirates Development Bank, Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development, Dubai Health Authority, Dubai Future Foundation, Sheraa, Mubadala Healthcare, G42, Mohamed Bin Rashid University of Medicine and Health Sciences, the Centre for Genomic Regulation in Spain, Khalifa University, Mohamed bin Zayed University of Artificial Intelligence, United Arab Emirates University, and Pfizer-University of Granada-Junta de Andalucía Centre for Genomics in Spain.

Source: Emirates News Agency

11th SIBF Publishers Conference concludes after three days of debates on a new era of digital-driven educational publishing

SHARJAH, The 11th Sharjah International Book Fair (SIBF) Publishers Conference concluded today (Tuesday) after three days of exciting debates and discussions on a new era of educational publishing being steered by the digital age, and the resulting opportunities and challenges emerging for industry stakeholders.

The discussions were attended by Bodour Al Qasimi, President, International Publishers Association (IPA); and publishing professionals representing the global industry.

Representatives of the five projects that were selected for the 2021 cycle of the Africa Publishing Innovation Fund (APIF) – a joint $800,000 four-year grant programme funded by UAE-based Dubai Cares and administered by the International Publishers Association (IPA) – discussed how the funding is transforming lives of children and local communities and addressing key challenges in the African publishing ecosystem.

Moderated by Wanjiru Koinange, author and Co-Founder of Book Bunk in Kenya, the session titled ‘Surfacing African Publishing Innovations: The African Publishing Innovation Fund’, explored how the fund is helping provide critical literacy, livelihood, and life skills to poor and rural communities across the continent.

Alison Tweed, Chief Executive, Book Aid International, UK, described how APIF helped transform three shipping containers into fully equipped libraries in Dunga, a rural community of 76,000 in the Zanzibar region of Tanzania. “It has been extraordinary to see the changes it is bringing to children and families, many of whom are experiencing a library for the first time. With different players contributing to different aspects of the project, it is having a broader impact in library development.”

By providing funding for 8 community libraries in Rwanda, APIF has boosted access to digital learning solutions and strengthened critical literacy skills in children unable to attend schools, said Catherine Uwimana, Book Development Expert, Save the Children International. “Our libraries have become safe spaces for learning, and the fund has supported the training of librarians who encourage both girls and boys to use technology to strengthen the culture of reading. More than a million children also receive educational content via the radio.”

Zimbabwean poet Chirikure Chirikure, who is building a modern community library in Nemashakwe, said: “Apart from providing 800 young learners access to books, computers and life skills programmes, the APIF grant has also enabled us to set up water supply systems and install a solar energy system which has generated greater interest in the centre in this remote community with very limited resources.”

Describing the significant urban-rural digital divide across Ghana, Kumuriwor Alira Bushiratu, a young student and co-founder of Learners Girls Foundation, said: “APIF gave wings for our startup non-profit to grow and make a powerful impact in the lives of at-risk young girls whose conditions have been exacerbated by the pandemic. By bringing stakeholders together to support education and provide reading material through libraries, access to digital learning and mentorship programmes, young girls are being empowering to grow and give back to society.”

Will Clurman, CEO of Kenya’s eKitabu, said: “By digitising and adapting local educational materials to international standards, we are improving digital learning accessibility for all learners. In the process, the digital journey of publishers across Kenya is being scaled up. The beauty of publishing is the commitment to knowledge and engagement, and this is improving learning outcomes for children across Kenya.”

Moderated by Jose Borghino, Secretary General, IPA, the session, ‘Evolving Education Content: The Role of Publishers in the Age of Digital Learning’, highlighted the pivot to digital learning and lessons learnt during the pandemic, and discussed the way forward for different members of the educational value chain.

Nitasha Devasar, Managing Director of Taylor and Francis, and President of the Association of Publishers of India, said that the shift to digital represents “a shift from product perception to service perception.”

She explained: “The focus is now on the value that learning tools provide users. Placing customers at the forefront calls for increased investment in resources to curate a better experience for consumers.”

Dr. Neelam Parmar, Director of Digital Learning and Education at Harrow International Schools, UK, stated that the overwhelming choices in online resources has changed the landscape of learning. She said: “Taking the vast digital resources and integrating it within the curriculum in a blended approach has become the norm moving forward. However, younger children are still encouraged to hold, touch and feel a book.”

Bill Kennedy, Founder of UK-based Avicenna Partnership Ltd, said that the pandemic led to a “discernible migration from academic textbooks in print to e-versions of those books, and an increase in the use and quality of research content in open access journals, which are here to stay and grow.”

Julie Attrill, Manager of International Rights at Wiley, UK, revealed a much stronger uptake in digitalised learning both in universities and the corporate sector during the pandemic. She said: “People are now looking for hybrid models that also incorporate audio and podcasts, while corporate learning has seen a huge growth as more businesses are looking to upskill their staff.”

Source: Emirates News Agency

Sharjah, France explore avenues of cooperation in culture, education and tourism

SHARJAH, Sheikh Fahim Al Qasimi, Chairman of the Department of Government Relations (DGR) in Sharjah, recently welcomed a French delegation headed by Nathalie Kennedy, Consul-General of the French Republic in Dubai, to discuss the potential of strengthening collaboration between Sharjah and the French capital in vital sectors, including culture, education, and tourism.

At a meeting, held in the presence of Marie-Laure Charrier, Deputy Consul-General of the French Republic in Dubai, Sheikh Fahim highlighted how Sharjah’s cultural projects serve as a bridge to promote cultural interaction and dialogue with other nations and cultures. He also apprised the French officials about the upcoming 40th edition of the Sharjah International Book Fair.

Emphasising various aspects of the cultural legacy and heritage of Sharjah, the DGR Chairman briefed the delegation on the range of archaeological, natural history and contemporary art museums in the emirate, which display historical artefacts dating to the earliest eras of Arab history. He also highlighted the unique destinations found across the emirate that give Sharjah its disctinctive cultural identity.

Sheikh Fahim added, “Sharjah is witnessing qualitative growth in vital knowledge and innovation-based sectors. It also offers unique investment and partnership opportunities across several sustainable tourism projects in the eastern and central regions of the emirate.”

For her part, Kennedy stressed that the meeting with DGR in Sharjah was a timely opportunity to strengthen bilateral relations between the two sides. She noted that the longstanding association between Sharjah and several French cities had led to numerous successful partnerships in the art and culture sectors, emphasising Paris’ keenness to boost economic and cultural ties with the emirate.

Source: Emirates News Agency

Dan Hooker says UAE has massive future in MMA ahead of Abu Dhabi clash

ABU DHABI, Dan Hooker had said the UAE has a ‘massive future’ in MMA ahead of his showdown with Islam Makhachev at UFC 267 in Abu Dhabi.

The New Zealander took the fight on short notice, after the withdrawal of Rafael dos Anjos, looking to halt the express train that is Makhachev and his eight-fight winning streak.

Hooker has fought in Abu Dhabi previously – losing to Michael Chandler at UFC 257 – but despite that he only has positive things to say about the country and the MMA scene.

Due to Covid-19 restrictions, travel back to his homeland has been restricted for Hooker – resulting in him having to stay in Dubai where he was able to train and see the level of development in the sport first hand.

“I got stuck here after my last fight in Abu Dhabi for four or five weeks and made the most of it,” he said. “I went to TK MMA and had a great experience with a really good team.

“You can feel it over here – it is a bustling MMA Mecca, it is the same feeling as Thailand.

“It is a very central place and everyone can come and train here, and there were a lot of friendly faces from Thailand training because they were getting stuck out of there too.

“It was great training, people from all over the world were getting some great rounds in. It was an incredible experience.

“The UAE – Abu Dhabi and Dubai – has a massive future in terms of mixed martial arts.”

As he prepares to take on fifth ranked lightweight Makhachev this weekend at the Etihad Arena, Hooker, who is ranked just a single place lower himself, knows he will be walking into a bear pit atmosphere.

Russian, and Dagestani, fighters have always received vociferous support in the UAE capital and the same will be true for Makhachev.

This will not faze the 31-year-old however as he looks to snap an unbeaten streak and push his own credentials in the upper ranks of the 155lbs division.

“It is equally exciting to me main-eventing a show in your home town, or going out there and everyone is against you,” he said.

“Everything is energy, whether it is ten or twenty thousand people screaming for you in support, or if it is ten or twenty thousand people wanting your blood.

“Both of those things get me just as excited. I relish this opportunity like nothing else. The way I am approaching this fight is that I am coming over here to the foreign shore, away from home, and I am coming to spoil the party.”

UFC 267 takes place on Saturday, October 30 at Etihad Arena on Yas Island, Abu Dhabi, with the main card starting at 10 p.m. GST. The first preliminary bout will kick off at 6:30 p.m. GST. It will be headlined by light-heavyweight champion Jan Blachowicz putting his title on the line against Glover Teixeira. Elsewhere Petr Yan will take on Cory Sandhagen in a pivotal bantamweight bout, and Khamzat Chimaev makes a much-anticipated return when he takes on Li Jingliang.

UFC 267 will be shown live via global broadcasters across the world. In the UAE and throughout the rest of the Middle East and North Africa, UFC content is broadcast on Abu Dhabi Sports and streamed on UFC Arabia, UFC’s first Arabic-language streaming subscription service in the region. Further event and ticket information will be released in due course.

Source: Emirates News Agency

Sarah Al Amiri meets Brazil’s Minister of Science, Technology and Innovation

DUBAI, The UAE and Brazil have concluded high-level bilateral talks to explore how both nations can share knowledge and expertise, promote space exploration, scientific research, and technology development.

Sarah bint Yousif Al Amiri, Minister of State for Advanced Technology and Chairwoman of the UAE Space Agency, met with Marcos Cesar Pontes, Brazil’s Minister of Science, Technology and Innovation.

It took place at the 72nd International Astronautical Congress in Dubai, which is being held the Middle East for the first time in the event’s history.

During the discussions, Al Amiri commended the Brazilian government and its people for their latest achievements in the space sector. They include launching four satellites in the last two and a half years, including Amazonia 1, the first Earth observation satellite designed, tested and operated by Brazil.

They also spoke about the UAE’s mission to explore Venus and the Asteroid Belt between Jupiter and Mars, the lunar rover Rashid which will land on the Moon next year, and the Emirates Mars Mission – which has shared an unprecedented first batch of scientific data with hundreds of global institutions as part of the UAE’s efforts to share knowledge for the good of humankind.

Al Amiri said, “I was pleased to meet with Marcos Cesar Pontes at IAC today to build on the strong and mutually beneficial UAE-Brazil partnership. It provided an opportunity to reinforce our shared commitment to promote global cooperation, peaceful space exploration and sustainable economic growth for the good of humanity. Our discussions served as a platform to explore how our nations can work together to promote advanced technology, spatial research, and the development of cutting-edge space systems and applications.”

Diplomatic relations between the UAE and Brazil have continued to go from strength to strength in recent years, with close cooperation across business, economies, culture, science, technology, education, innovation and space.

Earlier this year, Brazil announced hopes of doubling its trade relationship with the UAE to more than US$5.6bn in the next five years. This could lead to significant benefits for the growth and development of the respective space agencies in both countries, enhancing the flow of goods and services between knowledge and innovation-based industries in both countries.

Source: Emirates News Agency