SRTI Park to position Sharjah as innovation, testing, research hub

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) officially launched of Sharjah’s Innovation Economy Report today. The special ceremony was held at Al Jawaher Reception and Convention Centre in Sharjah.

A host of dignitaries and officials from both private and public sectors, as well as scientists, specialists, smart industry leaders and leading global companies in future technologies attended this event.

Based on a series of events and joint efforts between Sharjah stakeholders and the British Government represented by “Future Cities Catapult”, this report highlights the next steps to be taken by SRTI Park to support the Emirate of Sharjah’s journey towards establishing a knowledge economy and becoming the R&D and innovation hub of the region.

The ceremony began with a welcome speech by His Excellency Hussain Al Mahmoudi, CEO of SRTI Park: “We are pleased to welcome you today to witness t new era towards a rapidly changing world. We are on the threshold of the fourth industrial revolution and it has its benefits and requirements. We must be ready for this change and establish Sharjah as the innovation location and a world-class research and testing center.”

This report puts the park on the path to future cities as part of its ongoing efforts to enhance cooperation with its international partners and to knowledge transfer with them to enhance Sharjah's status as a global capital for scientific research, technology, innovation and knowledge.

Through this report, SRTI Park joins the global standards system for innovative cities.

He spoke about 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 attendees 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, and construction of an elevated train pilot track and construction of buildings with 3D printing techniques.

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.

The event was attended by His Excellency Sheikh Fahim bin Sultan Al Qasimi, Executive Chairman of the Department of Government Relations and Andrew Jackson, British Consul General in Dubai. They participated in a panel discussion with Al Mahmoudi.

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.

For his part, the British Consul spoke 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.

In addition to that, 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’s main objective is to create triple helix partnerships between public, private and academic sectors.

They also discussed the smart industries and discussed the mechanism of cooperation with the British side in the development of these industries and work on the development of smart factories based on modern technologies to simulate the Fourth Industrial Revolution. 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.

During the discussion, Al Mahmoudi stated that 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.

SRTI Park has successfully hosted several events with “Future Cities Catapult” including UK-Sharjah Innovation Forum at the House of Lords in London, which aimed to promote Sharjah as a regional hub 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.

The panel session was followed up by SRTI Park’s partners discussing their projects.

CAFU introduced its services and smart solutions to Sharjah. They provide on-demand car refueling, petrol filling, petrol pump, gasoline refilling and more in the UAE.

Merlin Digital’s Sustainable Technologies Research Site is one of the few significant projects happening at the park. It focuses on identifying and developing innovative ways for a sustainable future by focusing on the main issues such as food, water and housing.

SkyWay is constructing an elevated train pilot track.

Meet, a specialist in the development and construction of modern, low-cost, fastest and most sustainable buildings, will develop a 3D printed house in the park.

Suresh Kumar of Design Infinity talked about the design and interior design of the company's existing projects including SRTI Park’s headquarter. The company is working to provide sustainable and innovative solutions for green buildings, making it one of the leading companies in the region in this field.

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