Monday 23, May 2016

Abu Dhabi – MENA Herald: Following an intensive evaluation process, the UAE Research Program for Rain Enhancement Science has shortlisted 15 of the most advanced pre-proposals from world-leading experts as part of the evaluation process of its ongoing second cycle.

The research teams that made the cut belong to North America, Europe, the Middle East and Africa. The selected research teams with proposals and projects featuring decisive ideas on new seeding agents, modelling and assessment of existing and potential rain enhancement techniques, and studies on aerosol & cloud processes, have been invited to prepare and submit full research proposals before August 17, 2016.

The shortlist was finalized following the deliberations of an international technical review committee that met in Abu Dhabi from May 4-5. This panel meeting came after a month-long initial review process. The selected pre-proposals were drawn from 91 submissions, representing 398 scientists and researchers affiliated to 180 organizations across 45 countries worldwide. They were scored based on 3 evaluation criteria: Research excellence, impact and quality; experience and/or expertise of the proposers, and potential for success; and the potential to enhance or transform the UAE weather modification research community and industry.

Managed by the UAE’s National Center of Meteorology & Seismology (NCMS), the UAE Research Program for Rain Enhancement Science has received a high uptake from the world’s academic and research community engaged in the specialized field of rainwater augmentation – since its launch in January 2015.

Dr Abdullah Al Mandoos, Director of NCMS, said: “This year’s initial pre-proposals were all of a high calibre and demonstrate great potential. Our intensive and rigorous evaluation process has enabled us to shortlist a selection of the most advanced and ambitious ideas in the field of rain enhancement today. We deeply appreciate the unwavering support of His Highness Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister of the UAE and Minister of Presidential Affairs, in ensuring that the UAE plays a leading role in addressing the growing challenges of water security.”

Following the submission of the final proposals in August 2016, an expert committee of international specialists will meet in Abu Dhabi to review the full proposals and select the eventual awardees of the program grant. The recommendations of the committee will factor in the inputs of more than 20 reviewers spanning a wide range of expertise.

The final proposals will be examined by several leading international experts on the basis of very stringent criteria: overall scientific and technical merit, significance and innovation, approach, project/delivery plan, milestones and deliverables, investigator/team, required/available resources and budget, and capacity building.

Speaking of the shortlisting process, Alya Al Mazroui, Manager of the UAE Research Program for Rain Enhancement Science, said: “Our eminent international technical review committee for the second cycle of the program faced a daunting task in shortlisting the best possible submissions to go through to the next round. This reflects the high quality of pre-proposals that the program has received in the current cycle. To evaluate the next stage of the program that will be more intensive, we will invite international reviewers from our extensive database to further refine this encouraging shortlist.”

The Program is also carrying out a roadshow over the next 2 weeks from the period 23rd May – 2nd June 2016 in Japan and China to meet with Professor Masataka Murakami, one of the three awardees from the Program’s first cycle, and also meet with several scientists and stakeholders to draw further participation in the Program’s upcoming and third cycle which will launch in January 2017.

Launched by His Highness Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the UAE Research Program for Rain Enhancement Science is designed to help arid and semi-arid regions overcome water scarcity challenges by using technology to stimulate rainfall.

Through continuing research efforts, the program aims to advance the science, technology and implementation of rain enhancement and encourage more investments in this field. This in turn will help develop strong international synergies that can further contribute to the advancement of the sciences and operations of rain enhancement and help identify viable and innovative solutions.