Al Jalila awards Dh4m for medical research in UAE

15 candidates selected for two-year grants to conduct research beneficial to the nation.

By (Wam)

Published: Sun 23 Nov 2014, 5:46 PM

Last updated: Tue 7 Apr 2015, 8:58 PM

Dubai — Al Jalila Foundation, a global healthcare philanthropic organisation founded to position the UAE in the forefront of medical innovation, has awarded more than Dh4 million in seed grants to 15 UAE-based medical researchers.

The seed grants are valid for two years, and will be used for research in the field of cancer, cardiovascular disease, mental health and diabetes, four of Al Jalila Foundation’s five research priorities. An Emirati graduate, Dr Shehab Al Ansari, was also chosen by the foundation’s scientific committee to pursue a medical research fellowship in cardiovascular disease at the Cleveland Clinic, USA.

Out of 54 applications submitted for the seed grants, 15 candidates, including two women, succeeded following a competitive two-stage international review process with experts from the world’s most renowned medical institutions, including the University of Oxford, University of Glasgow, Imperial College, University of Queensland, INSERM, University of Auckland, University of Toronto, University of Pennsylvania, University of Kansas and the University of Stony Brook.

The reviewers were handpicked as leaders in each specific field of research in line with the foundation’s commitment to cultivating a medical research ecosystem built on international best practices.

Dr Raja Al Gurg, member of the Board of Trustees and chairperson of the Board of Directors of Al Jalila Foundation, commented, “Today marks a key milestone in our journey to establish medical research as a key component of the nation’s long-term healthcare strategy. We are proud to be delivering on the UAE Innovation Strategy launched by His Highness Shaikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, and supporting the leadership’s vision which aims to position the UAE as one of the world’s top nations by 2021.”

Professor Sehamuddin Galadari, professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Cell Biology and academic and research advisor of Al Jalila Foundation, said, “The successful recipients have been chosen after a competitive selection process completely based on scientific merit.

“We are nurturing the scientific talent that will transform the future of healthcare in the UAE and beyond. As we progress in the development of Al Jalila Foundation Research Centre, today’s grants mark our first step to bringing local and international scientists together to conduct research in the UAE.

The ultimate long-term goal is to elevate the quality of people’s lives through developing better treatments particular to our nation and the region.”

Dr Abdulkareem Sultan Al Olama, CEO of Al Jalila Foundation, added, “We consider these grants as a significant step in our ambitions to cultivate a productive medical research sector. Biomedical research is very capital- and labour-intensive, and our aspiration is to be able to attract more donations to boost research activities in the UAE.

To achieve that, we are counting on the generosity, wisdom and vision of business professionals, philanthropists and corporates in the UAE, who share our commitment to attaining medical advancements that will benefit future generations.” The grants were awarded to scientists from medical institutions across the UAE, including Latifa Hospital in Dubai; Khalifa University of Science and Technology, Abu Dhabi; United Arab Emirates University, Al Ain; University of Sharjah; New York University of Abu Dhabi; Zayed University and the Gulf Medical University in Ajman.

The development of Al Jalila Foundation Research Centre, the UAE’s first independent multi-disciplinary research centre, is on track for a 2016 opening. It will be a beacon for regionally relevant medical innovation produced by home-grown biomedical researchers.

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