09 February 2019

Lab Chat

The United Arab Emirates (UAE) Cabinet recently made a decision to focus on the growth of the country’s status and reputation as an incubator of talent and innovation. In line with this new goal, the UAE government has just granted its first set of long-term visas to scientists, encouraging the use of their facilities to further research projects.

The recipients of the visas are the winners of the Mohammed bin Rashid Medal for Scientific Excellence, for both the first and second editions of the award. A further 18 experts and researchers from the science and knowledge fields, who were all shortlisted for the award, have also been granted long-term visas.

Boosting UAE’s scientific community

Minister of State for Advanced Sciences, Sarah bint Yousif Al Amiri, views this new step as highly positive for the country. “[The] granting of long-term resident visas to scientist and researchers is a reflection of the UAE leadership’s vision to enhance the country’s position,” she explains.

She also believes that the long-term visas “further emphasise the UAE’s leading role in honouring scientists and providing innovative solutions that would ultimately serve mankind”. The move is part of a wider goal of the UAE becoming a global scientific hub, focused on building an integrated community of scientists capable of meeting future development needs.

The winners

Back in November 2018, the UAE Cabinet released a decision stating that a 10-year visa would be granted to innovators, doctors, specialists and inventors, with similar benefit for their spouses and children. The winners must be accredited by the Emirates Scientists Council and must also meet a minimum of 2 of the following prerequisites:

• Winners must have a PhD degree from one of the world’s top 100 universities
• They must have contributed to major scientific research in their field of specialisation
• They must have a high academic achievement
• They must have over 20 years professional experience

The esteemed winners include:

Dr. Lihadh Al Gazali – senior consultant at the clinical genetics and paediatrics at the UAE University
Dr. Hassan Arafat – professor at Khalifa University
Dr. Omar Yaghi – founding director of the Berkeley Global Science Institute, co-director of the Kavli Energy NanoScience Institute & the California Research Alliance

Aiding scientific progression

The UAE is clearly focused on aiding scientific progression, much like the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), who recently granted £6.1m funding to British universities to develop ultrasonic technologies. This can only be good news for the scientific community across the world, who will all benefit from continued investment in research, new technology and the finest talent.

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