Twenty-eight student teams from 16 universities across the UAE have secured the funding and support needed to take their creative solutions to the next level, thanks to Expo 2020 Dubai’s innovation and partnership programme 'Expo Live'.
The teams, comprising about 100 students, are to each receive grants of up to AED50,000, plus guidance and exposure, to advance their ideas after participating in the second cycle of the University Innovation Programme, UIP, which was conducted by Expo Live with the support of the UAE Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research.
The latest projects to receive Expo Live’s backing include a mobility device that allows people of determination to use a single wheelchair for an entire airline journey, paper that uses sand from the UAE as a replacement for wood pulp, and an auditory mobile app that enhances a user’s hearing capacity by sending vibrations to their brain.
The successful applicants will receive guidance from Expo Live, as well as their universities, to advance research and development, create a business model, grow their team and potentially partner with other entities. Grantees may even have the chance to showcase their innovations to millions of people at Expo 2020 Dubai.
Dr. Ahmad bin Abdullah Humaid Belhoul Al Falasi, Minister of State for Higher Education and Advanced Skills, said, "The creative solutions submitted to Expo Live as part of the University Innovation Programme are a testament to the pioneering capabilities of UAE youth. It is young people with enterprising minds and an innovative outlook who will be responsible for leading the country’s transformation into a knowledge economy and in meeting the aspirations of the leadership towards UAE Vision 2021 and UAE Centennial 2071.
"The calibre of projects selected during the programme’s second cycle reflects the high standard of tertiary education in the UAE and I sincerely congratulate each and every awardee for their hard work and achievements. My colleagues and I are extremely keen to see how their innovations will progress on the journey to Expo 2020 and beyond."
Yousuf Caires, Vice President – Expo Live, Expo 2020 Dubai, said, "This programme epitomises Expo 2020’s theme of ‘Connecting Minds, Creating the Future’, and it is truly exciting to witness first-hand the levels of innovation that are being cultivated among university students here in the UAE.
"Young innovators who secured Expo Live’s support as part of the UIP’s first cycle are already advanced in developing creative solutions to global challenges that impact our region. We look forward to working closely with grantees from the second cycle as they take their projects to the next level, and we cannot wait to see how they turn their ideas and prototypes into reality."
Khalifa University’s GenoMatch, one of the groups selected during the latest cycle, is developing a method to more easily identify compatible organ donors for transplant patients in the UAE. Team members Hasan Alattas and Halima Alnaqbi said, "We are absolutely thrilled to receive Expo Live’s support as it will help us bring our solution to life. It is so exciting to have an idea with the potential to save lives, and we have now secured the funding and guidance necessary to advance our vision."
More than 500 student groups from 57 universities across the UAE submitted applications as part of the UIP’s second cycle, with proposed solutions addressing at least one of Expo 2020’s three key subthemes: Opportunity, Mobility and Sustainability. Finalists pitched their projects to a panel of judges at the Expo 2020 Dubai Visitor Centre.
The 28 projects selected join the 19 groups that secured support during the UIP’s first cycle, meaning that Expo Live has now committed grants, guidance and exposure to 47 student teams from across the UAE.
Expo Live is a US$100 million innovation and partnership programme launched by Expo 2020 Dubai.