Sharjah, March 18, 2019 - Under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Dr. Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi, Member of the Supreme Council of the UAE, and Ruler of Sharjah, the Sharjah Research Technology and Innovation Park (SRTI Park) and Future Cities Catapult held the UK-Sharjah Innovation Forum at the House of Lords in London on March 8.
During the forum, Sharjah’s Innovation Economy Report was launched, to highlight global best practice for innovation economies. This report will act as a roadmap for the next coming years.
Present were high level Sharjah government officials led by His Excellency Sheikh Fahim bin Sultan Al Qasimi, Executive Chairman of the Department of Government Relations, His Excellency Sheikh Khalid Bin Ahmed Bin Sultan Al Qasimi, Director General Department, eGovernment of Sharjah,
His Excellency Hussain Al Mahmoudi, CEO of SRTI Park, Dr. Rashid Al Leem, Chairman of Sharjah Electricity and Water Authority (SEWA), His Excellency Marwan Al Sarkal, Chairman of Sharjah Investment and Development Authority (Shurooq), Khalid Bin Butti Al Hajeri, Director General of Sharjah University City, and a number of British Government representatives, members of the House of Lords and CEOs of some of the major British companies, as well as, esteemed members from the American University of Sharjah - Board of Trustees.
The forum opened with a UK CEO Roundtable Discussion, where the investment opportunities at SRTI Park were showcased to UK FTSE 250 companies. The day was chaired by Sir Michael Bear, former Lord Mayor of London. Attendees also included Lord Clement Jones, Nicola Yates OBE, Chief Executive Officer of Future Cities Catapult, representatives from the government of Sharjah and the Embassy of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in London.
During the day the delegation discussed the roles Sharjah and Future Cities Catapult can play in the development of smart cities and the investment opportunities at the SRTI Park. Bosch, JCB, MasterCard and other companies specializing in smart building solutions, data collection techniques and virtual reality experiences also shared their insights on the day.
The goal of the session was to develop Sharjah’s relationship with the global research sector and establish Sharjah as the capital of education, scientific research and innovation.
Sheikh Fahim bin Sultan Al Qasimi stressed upon Sharjah's potential to become a world leader in innovation, research and entrepreneurship, and shared the Emirate’s vision to enhance its position in to become one of the smartest cities in the world.
He noted the strong strategic relations between Sharjah and the UK and how they can develop the economic and investment relations in innovation and knowledge economy.
Hussain Al Mahmoudi discussed the vision and objectives of the SRTI Park aimed at providing an environment conductive of creativity and innovation to ensure the status of Sharjah as a global destination by supporting the Emirate's aim towards establishing knowledge economy.
During the forum, Al Mahmoudi discussed that Sharjah has more than 21 industrial areas, and how the Emirate and the UK together can utilize this by collaborating in the fields of smart industries related to robotics and artificial intelligence. Smart industries are part of the fourth industrial revolution in the world and Sharjah plans to lead in this through research, development and innovation.
The importance of the session was to develop Sharjah’s relationship with the global research sector as a reflection of His Highness’s vision to establish Sharjah as the capital of education, scientific research and innovation in line with of the American University of Sharjah’s (AUS) strategy.
One of the main focuses is to support scientific research through SRTI Park and it to be a hub for international research companies, researchers, students, faculty and graduates of the AUS.
Through its relation with the most prestigious universities and international institutions such as Cambridge, Oxford and Imperial College, SRTI Park will create a world class innovative research environment, focusing on: water technology, renewable energy, environment technology, transportation technology, information technology, industrial design and architecture.
The participants were briefed on SRTI Park’s mission and current projects taking place within the park.
Some of these projects consist of building hydroponic farming lab using solar-evaporated sea water coming directly from the Sharjah coast, pre-fab housing constructed from recycled plastic, construction of an elevated train pilot track and much more, using the natural resources in the best way.
The park has easy access to vital and logistical facilities in the emirate and in the UAE, and the infrastructure meets the requirements of international standards.
His Excellency Marwan Al Sarkal, Chairman of Sharjah Investment and Development Authority (Shurooq), showcased the Emirate as a unique investment, commercial and tourism destination, and the role that Shurooq plays in facilitating partnerships, entrepreneurs and opportunities.
The seminar was attended by Sheikh Fahim bin Sultan Al Qasimi, Hussain Al Mahmoudi and Nikola Yates Obi, Chief Executive Officer of Catapult, and representatives of the British Government. It focused on how to enhance cooperation around innovation and smart cities between the British government and Sharjah. Also, to promote the Emirate as a regional capital for innovation, research and development in the Middle East and to strengthen its position in this field and how British companies can contribute by investing and starting businesses in Sharjah.
Also, to promote the Emirate as a regional capital for innovation, research and development in the Middle East and to strengthen its position in this field and how British companies can contribute by investing and starting businesses in Sharjah.
The forum discussed a number of common themes that focused on joint investment between the UAE and the UK in the fields of R&D.
The partnership aims to enhance the successful cooperation between the UK and Sharjah, putting the park’s location on the map for future institutions, and making Sharjah a world-class research and technological center. In addition, to attract specialized investments in technology, research, innovation and knowledge. In order benefit society, knowledge and economy, to assure that Sharjah is a global capital for education, scientific research and innovation.
Al Mahmoudi added: "The organization of this forum is the final one of a series of seminars and workshops during a year of cooperation and joint work with the British Government represented by the Catapult Future Cities and the transfer of knowledge between them with the means of strengthening the status of Sharjah as a global hub for scientific research, technology, innovation and knowledge. The convening of the Forum at the House of Lords UK Parliament is a symbolic indication of the evolving relations Sharjah has with the British Government in the fields of scientific research and development.”
Sharjah has taken a keen interest in encouraging and activating the academic role represented by faculty members and students to move scientific research from the theoretical stage to the applied practical stage through the park. All the financial conditions have been created to serve this objective and work to help researchers connect with the business world and attract investors. SRTI Park main objective was to create triple helix partnerships between public, private and academic sectors.
The SRTI Park successfully hosted the joint seminar with of the British Government and Sharjah on Innovation and Cities of the Future.
The workshop was held under the patronage of a number of government authorities in Sharjah, businesses and experts to provide them with basic creative skills in various topics such as data technology, address creation, internet technology and other topics.
A workshop titled "Sharjah Innovation: Towards a Global Destination for Creativity" was held with the participation of representatives from the Government of the UK, the Government of Sharjah and the SRTI Park, which aimed to promote Sharjah as a regional capital for innovation, research and development in the Middle East.
In addition to a workshop "The Future of Innovation and the Launch of the Smart Cities Project" held earlier this year, attended by a large number of experts and an elite of academics and researchers.