UAE Space Agency rolls out $1mn contest to tackle food & climate crisis

By Amirtha P S, Desk Reporter
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UAE Space Agency
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The UAE Space Agency has launched a new competition offering $1 million in funding for scientists, entrepreneurs, academics and innovators to bring out new ideas that tackle climate change and food security.

The competition, launched in partnership with the UAE’s Ministry of Climate Change and Environment (MOCCAE), aims to find technically feasible, scalable and innovative ideas using data gathered from space to create services that support agricultural or environmental practices. This could be using data to map and monitor greenhouse gas emissions or analyzing soil moisture levels to boost crop yields.

Six finalists will be invited to pitch their ideas in front of a committee of experts in February next year, from which the top two will be selected as the winners. They will each receive up to $544,484 in funding, technical support, assistance from leading experts, and help to secure commercial partnerships and reach customers. 

The program also aims to enhance the competitiveness of the UAE space industry, encourage public-private partnerships, upskill talent and strengthen the national space ecosystem.

Sarah bint Yousif Al Amiri
Sarah bint Yousif Al Amiri
UAE Space Agency

“Expo 2020 Dubai represents a unique opportunity to galvanize the world around global challenges and catalyze collaboration for a brighter future. Today we are taking a big step forward in our commitment to avert environmental disaster, empower talent, promote the development of commercially viable services for space, and encourage public-private partnerships. Our competition aims to find the best and brightest academics, entrepreneurs and scientists to create applications that tackle climate change or food security. We are seeking competitive proposals that are original, feasible, scalable and backed by meticulous research and analysis. We hope to boost private sector participation in the space sector and contribute to the UAE’s position as a regional hub for space innovation that supports economic growth and development for the next 50 years.”

Ms. Mariam bint Mohammed Almheiri, UAE’s Minister of Climate Change and Environment, said, “Climate change and food security are interlinked. Higher temperatures and extreme weather events have a devastating effect on global food systems. In turn, food systems are responsible for more than one-third of global greenhouse gas emissions. To chart a sustainable future, we must address these challenges head-on, which require innovative solutions.”

Proposals should be submitted before the deadline on 15 January 2022. The competition will recognize proposals based on a variety of factors including the professional experience and academic background of the individuals, as well as the originality and viability of the idea.

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