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The Ministry of Industry and Advanced Technology (MoIAT), in partnership with 17 local and federal entities, on Saturday launched the national guide for measurement of research and development (R&D) expenditures in government sector.
The initiative launched as part of the Government Accelerators Program, which aims to enable a knowledge-based economy that preserves national achievements and paves the way for sectors of the future.
The main objective of the guide is to enable the UAE’s federal and local government entities to accurately capture R&D expenditure in the public sector, and to unify the data collection methodologies on a national level using universal metrics in line with international standards. Moreover, the guide aims to raise awareness across all levels of government on the importance and impact of capturing R&D expenditure on the existing science and technology ecosystem in the UAE.
In addition to the Ministry of Industry and Advanced Technology (MoIAT) and the Federal Competitiveness and Statistics Centre (FCSC), the entities involved in developing the guide were Ministry of Education, Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Health and Prevention, Ministry of Climate Change and Environment, Ministry of Economy, Ministry of Defense, and Ministry of Interior, as well as Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (Adnoc), Department of Education and Knowledge — Abu Dhabi, Statistics Centre — Abu Dhabi, Dubai Statistics Centre, Department of Statistics and Community Development — Sharjah, Ajman Statistics and Competitiveness Center, Executive Council — Umm Al Quwain, Ras Al Khaimah Center for Statistics and Studies, and Fujairah Statistics Center.
Sarah bint Yousif Al Amiri, the UAE’s Minister of State for Advanced Technology, noted that the guide aligns with the strategic directives of the UAE’s leadership to transform the country into an influential international force in science and technology. The guide will help unify measurement of R&D activities in the UAE, and capture R&D efforts across sectors, notably in the public sector.
“The guide is part of the development of an integrated system to effectively govern and coordinate R&D activities, in line with the goals of Operation 300Bn, to further enhance the thriving national industrial sector. It also supports the nation’s efforts in fortifying the R&D ecosystem across sectors, to elevate the UAE as a productive global hub for science and technology,” she said.
Al Amiri added that guide will provide a platform to measure the inputs to the R&D ecosystem, which allows to determine the effectiveness of the UAE’s investments against R&D outputs, as accurate data and evidence-based policymaking are crucial to ensure the effectiveness of future national R&D programs and initiatives, which would support in strengthening the UAE’s regional and global stature.
Tools for innovation
Hussain bin Ibrahim Al Hammadi, Minister of Education, said MoIAT’s launch of the National Guide for Measurement of R&D Expenditures in Government Sector, in collaboration with the Federal Competitiveness and Statistics Centre and 16 local and federal entities across the UAE, is a pioneering step in line with the government’s directives to develop modern tools that encourage innovation in various fields.
He explained how the guide is a step in the right direction to establishing a reference point for, and highlighting the significance of, research and development within institutional work across the UAE. It also empowers government employees with real data on expenditure in a field that is key to boosting competitiveness.
He added that scientific research is critical to a competitive knowledge-based economy. Hence, the guide outlines 12 key indices to measure the competitiveness of the UAE’s knowledge-based economy, with five of the indices relating directly or indirectly to scientific research.
Al Hammadi noted that the UAE believes scientific research and government development is a pillar of the UAE Centennial 2071. Scientific research is a key focus of the education curriculum in the UAE, and there is increasing interest in pushing it forward and transforming schools and universities into research and innovation centers.”
For her part, Hanan Mansour Ahli, acting director of the Federal Competitiveness and Statistics Centre, said research and development is one of the most effective ways to find innovative solutions to various challenges at the national and international levels, since those solutions contribute to exceptional achievements that benefit everyone
“We, at the Federal Competitiveness and Statistics Centre, are proud of our partnership with the Ministry of Industry and Advanced Technology to provide the national guide for measuring R&D expenditure in the government sector in a standard way,” she said.
Ahli said this approach aims to establish a unified definition of the research and development concept, and to enable federal and local government entities to accurately monitor spending on R&D activities by unifying the method of data collection in accordance with the best international practices. “This will ensure the quality of statistical data that is provided in this field.”
“Thanks to the directives of our leadership, the UAE is working on improving the process of measuring R&D expenditure in the country in a sustainable manner. In 2018, R&D expenditure made up 1.3 per cent of GDP, compared to 0.5 per cent of GDP in 2011,” she added.
“This improvement will positively reflect on the country’s ranking in the global competitiveness indices that monitor the volume of R&D spending in different countries, including the Competitiveness Yearbook and the Global Innovation Index. This consolidates the foundations of the UAE’s R&D system and enhances the country’s position as a beacon of innovation, a leading global destination for future industries, and a knowledge-based economy.”
A guide for standards
Implementing the guide on a national level will allow the measurement of both expenditure and the workforce in the fields of R&D, thus painting a clearer picture of R&D intensity in the various sectors, and enabling policymakers to prepare the best solutions to current and potential challenges.
The guide consists of two main segments—the first, an explanation and definition of concepts related to R&D activities and their classifications, illustrative examples about the types of activities and what constitutes as R&D, and the standards for collecting and reporting R&D expenditures and personnel in a government entity. The second is a summary of the instructions issued by the Ministry of Finance, in line with glossary of concepts and terms within the guide, and the classification of R&D activities according to the accounting structure of the federal entities registered in the Ministry of Finance, and according to the Classification of the Functions of Government.
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