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50-year challenge to kick off the UAE Innovation Month

Saman Haziq/Dubai
Filed on January 28, 2020
50-year challenge to kick off the UAE Innovation Month

(KT file)

'This year, the innovation journey will start from the first week being celebrated in Abu Dhabi'

Are you ready to design the next 50 years? In line with the announcement of 2020 as the year for preparation for the next 50 years, the Mohammed Bin Rashid Centre for Government Innovation (MBRCGI) on Tuesday announced the opening of 'The 50-Year Challenge' as part of the launch of the UAE Innovation Month that begins in February. The aim of the challenge is to contribute in designing the future and enriching the quality of life in the UAE.

The UAE Innovation Month aims to celebrate innovation across the nation and the festival focuses on strengthening the country's position as a global hub for innovation. It is said to be one of the largest innovation festivals in the world and a consolidated effort by government and private sectors and individuals to help create widespread culture of innovation in the UAE.

The challenge

Announcing the launch of the Innovation Month and the challenge, Shatha Alhashmi, director of the MBRCGI, said that as per the directives of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, the vision of this year's Innovation Month is to make the UAE the most innovative country that is ready for the future - which is the next 50 years.

Elaborating on the nation's largest competition to shape the future of the UAE, Alhashmi said: "The 50-year challenge is a call to all citizens and residents of the UAE to come up with innovative and practical solutions that will contribute in building the next 50 years in four areas - zero accidents, zero carbon emission, zero obesity and zero plastic. We invite everyone, from all backgrounds and age groups, to submit their innovative solutions to contribute in achieving these four objectives. Submissions to provide solutions that support in achieving a zero target by 2071 to any of the four challenges are open through the 'UAE Innovates' website ( for all UAE nationals and residents."

Participants will get a chance to present their projects to a panel of expert judges in their preferred emirate and will be given five minutes each for their presentation. A panel of experts will review all submitted projects and filter them. "All shortlisted participants will be contacted to present their ideas (in the form of a prototype) during the UAE Innovation Month in February across the seven emirates and the final ideas will be selected for funding and support," she added.

Innovation weeks

The Innovation Month is a journey, Alhashmi said, that the country embarks upon every year. "This year, the innovation journey will start from the first week being celebrated in Abu Dhabi from Thursday, January 30, at the corniche. In the second week, the innovation celebrations will be held in Sharjah, Umm Al Quwain and Ajman, and then it will move to Fujairah and Ras Al Khaimah before finally culminating in Dubai in the last week of the month."

These celebrations, she said, would include different kinds of innovative activities, such as displays, experiments, seminars, technology festivals that will see participation of student innovators as well as federal and local entities. Sharjah has instituted a special innovation award for the residents of the emirate.

Ministry of Economy

Samah Al Hajeri, chief innovation officer at the Ministry of Economy, said: "This year, the Ministry of Economy will be launching several initiatives during the Innovation Week. Our main focus is economic objectives and one of the important initiatives is our technological innovation pioneer summit, a challenge where different innovators participate in an array of challenges related to health, environment and energy."

She added: "Innovation cannot be done without research and development (R&D) so the second area of focus of the ministry will be R&D that will be done in collaboration with universities. Here, we will focus on initiating economic studies and research and build on knowledge and expertise of students who can come out with quality research. We aim to focus on building the capabilities of Emirati researchers. Apart from sessions about technological advancements and panel discussions, we will be having a hackathon for startup SMEs. The ministry will also launch an innovation application to monitor the happiness and wellbeing of its employees that will measure the mood of the employees and generate recommendation to help them stay positive, healthy and happy."

Know the 50-Year Challenge

. All citizens and residents can participate in the challenge

. They can submit innovative and practical solutions that will contribute in building the next 50 years in four areas

. Submissions can be done through the 'UAE Innovates' website

Four ZERO objectives for 2071

- Zero accidents

- Zero carbon emmissions

- Zero obesity

- Zero plastic.

Innovation month journey

. First week (February 1-7) - Abu Dhabi

. Second week (Feb 8-14) - Sharjah, Umm Al Quwain and Ajman

. Third week (Feb 15-21) - Fujairah and Ras Al Khaimah

. Fourth week (Feb22-29) - Dubai

. Seven emirates - 29 days

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