Abu Dhabi’s ASPIRE to invest $54mn in 3 virtual research institutes

By Shilpa Annie Joseph, Official Reporter
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Abu Dhabi-based Advanced Technology Research Council’s (ATRC) technology program management arm ASPIRE is funding three Virtual Research Institutes (VRIs) in UAE Universities.

ASPIRE will invest $54 million (AED200 million) to fund new research in priority sectors. The funding demonstrates the Abu Dhabi government’s commitment to world-class research in the emirate’s priority industries.

According to the statement, “UAE University (UAEU) will have two research institutes while Khalifa University will have one.”

The new Precision Medicine Virtual Research Institute at UAEU will be led by Professor Milos Ljubisavljevic. It will focus on how to change biotechnology research in Abu Dhabi and how to improve people’s quality of life by increasing their average lifetime.

The institute will create research projects in collaboration with the Abu Dhabi Health Authority (Seha) to address key diseases and strategies to improve clinical care in the emirate.

The second one at UAEU, the International Virtual Research Institute for Food Security in the Drylands will be led by Dr. Elke Neumann. It intends to achieve food security in arid regions.

The team will look at innovative ways to increase urban farming food supplies. The focus will be on protected urban plant cultivation, urban agroforestry, aquaculture as well as insect and algal farming.

The third institute at Khalifa University, led by Dr. Samuel Mao, will focus on sustainable energy production, storage and utilization. It will concentrate on developing advanced renewable energy and sustainable technologies.

Dr. Arthur Morrish
Dr. Arthur Morrish

“We are pleased to collaborate with Abu Dhabi’s universities that are key incubators of our next generation of local talent and help shape tomorrow’s scientific leaders. With the growing focus on sustainability in all spheres of life today, we are now able to support world-leading research in these priority areas. We look forward to seeing the long-term impact the VRIs will have, and to their recommendations that can enhance the quality of life of the local population with far-reaching implications for healthcare, food security, and sustainable energy production within and beyond our borders.”

Dr. Ray O. Johnson, CEO of TII commented that, “The proposed VRIs will significantly contribute to improving the emirate’s excellent healthcare system, find new strategies to ensure food safety, and implement schemes to bring about sustainable change through renewable energy.”

“With each VRI, we hope to develop meaningful synergies with higher education institutions across the globe, and generate strong industry engagement, leading to enhanced visibility for these programs,” Dr. Johnson added.

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