Tuesday 6, September 2016

Abu Dhabi – MENA Herald: The Masdar Institute of Science and Technology, an independent, research-driven graduate-level university focused on advanced energy and sustainable technologies, today announced that it has signed an agreement to be the Official Sustainable Energy Partner of “Innovation Live!”, an initiative aligned with the UAE National Innovation Strategy and Vision 2021.

Facilitated by MEED, “Innovation Live!” responds to the vision of H.H. Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, UAE Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, for an innovative and efficient future.

Masdar Institute Vice President for Research and Interim Associate Provost Dr. Steve Griffiths said: “As one of the UAE’s leading research and innovation-focused universities, with a particular commitment to developing clean energy and sustainable technologies, Masdar Institute is pleased to be a part of “Innovation Live!”. We believe innovation is a critical component to not only the UAE’s knowledge economy transformation, but also to achieving the sustainability globally. We look forward to participating in “Innovation Live!” and the new ideas and initiatives that it inspires.”

Nisha Ramisetty, Director of Innovation Live, said: “MEED is pleased to partner with Masdar Institute on this exciting initiative focused on bringing government and business together to enable innovation and ultimately drive economic growth. We continue to collaboratively develop the initiative with government and private sector leaders to bring an interconnected innovation ecosystem to life, with sustainable energy as a crucial piece of the puzzle.”

“Innovation Live!” is to feature two main offerings – the Watercooler Challenges and the “Innovation Live! Summit”. The Watercooler Challenges are brainstorming sessions designed to identify and solve specific sector based challenges that create barriers to innovation across the government and private sector while the summit, scheduled for 21 November at the Jumeriah Beach Hotel in Dubai, is intended to be an anchor event of the UAE Innovation Week and is designed to align government and private sector to address challenges and facilitate change. It is estimated that 600 selected senior representatives will be attending the summit.

UAE Innovation Week, which takes place this year on 20-26 November, is a nationwide celebration of innovation to help create a culture of innovation and strengthen the UAE’s position as a global hub for innovation. This year the week is to feature more than 850 activities and initiatives across the UAE.

As part of the MoU, Dr. Griffiths will act as plenary speaker at the “Innovation Live! Summit”. Masdar Institute will also host a number of the Sustainable Energy watercooler challenge sessions, and lead general engagement and outreach for the two main features.

The Watercooler Challenges kicked off this month, and will be held monthly through November 2016. They will feature independent groups composed of senior government and private sector experts who meet monthly to develop critical solutions which will ultimately shape policy. Each Watercooler Challenge will have one or more relevant government patrons committed to ensuring that the discussions are implementation focused.

The first Watercooler Challenge, hosted at Masdar Institute’s Innovation Center on 21 August, was on the topic of Sustainable Energy. It was attended by Regulation and Supervision Bureau Executive Director Graeme Lindsay Sims; Ministry of Energy Regulation and Supervision Department Director Hind Almutawa; Masdar Institute Vice President for Research Dr. Steve Griffiths; Environment Agency Abu Dhabi Abu Dhabi Sustainability Group Director Huda Al Houqani; EY Clean Energy and Sustainability Services (MENA) Partner Gus Schellekens; Dubai Energy and Water Authority Innovation and Future Manager Luciana Soledad; Atkins Head of Middle East Power & Renewables Callum McLaurin; PriceWaterhouseCoopers Partner Hannes Reinisch; and Eversheds Head of Projects and Partner Gurmeet Kaur.

The UAE Vision 2021 was launched in 2010 with four key goals for the UAE’s future: ‘An ambitious and confident nation grounded in its heritage’, ‘A strong union bonded by a common destiny’, ‘A competitive economy driven by knowledgeable and innovative Emiratis’, and ‘A nurturing and sustainable environment for quality living’.

The National Innovation Strategy was announced in 2014 with a goal of stimulating innovation in seven sectors in the UAE where innovation is key to excellence: renewable energy, transport, education, health, technology, water and space. These are sectors that Masdar Institute directly and indirectly responds to through its academic and research efforts.