Created in May 2020 to strengthen Abu Dhabi’s position and the broader UAE as a research and development hub for technology, the Advanced Technology Research Council (ATRC) shapes research and development for transformative technology outcomes.
The ATRC is responsible for defining Abu Dhabi’s research strategy across academia and industry, consolidating funds for efficient investment, and driving policy and regulation for agile decision-making.
The ATRC cultivates a collaborative research community through nurturing local talent and attracting global talent; and accelerating innovation and discovery through seven initial centres of research under its applied research pillar, Technology Innovation Institute (TII) which was launched in November 2020.
His Excellency Faisal Al Bannai, Secretary General, ATRC, shares some insights with the Abu Dhabi SME Hub and sheds light on the organization’s activities, and its mission to drive research and innovation in the emirate.
What are the R&D opportunities the ATRC is currently focusing on? What kind of business growth opportunities are you encouraging or expect will be developing in the coming years?
As catalysts of growth, the Advanced Technology Research Council (ATRC), and its two pillars, the Technology Innovation Institute (TII) and ASPIRE, will introduce many ‘firsts’ both regionally and globally. We are aligned with the UAE’s national priorities such as exploring innovative technology, harnessing the power of data, developing robust digital security infrastructure, and the deployment of autonomous capabilities.
That’s why we started with seven initial research centres under TII in quantum, autonomous robotics, cryptography, advanced materials, digital security, directed energy and secure systems. Our alignment with broader development goals in alternative energy, sustainability, food security, logistics, petrochemical development, and industrial manufacturing will be addressed in the coming years.
How does the ATRC ensure R&D projects find a clear innovation path from ‘lab to market’ and what has the impact so far been in terms of company creation in Abu Dhabi and the UAE?
ASPIRE, our technology project management pillar, focuses on commissioning research that leads to pioneering advances, helping deliver new technologies with practical applications. It frames research statements with clear benefits and practical, ‘real world’ applications in mind. Working in close consultation with researchers, innovators, and cross-sector industry stakeholders from all levels of the local and international R&D ecosystem, we ensure that our research projects have a clear path to successful application.
Seeking to solve tomorrow’s issues today, ASPIRE launches and manages high profile competitions and grand challenges to engage innovators and talented research teams from around the globe to develop ground-breaking solutions to the world’s most pressing problems.
What kind of synergies is the ATRC creating with the startup/SME sector and how can entrepreneurs leverage and benefit from the innovation that comes out of the ATRC?
As the organisation defining Abu Dhabi’s research strategy across academia and industry, our objectives align with the objectives of the Ministry of Industry and Advanced Technology’s (MoIAT) industrial strategy ’Operation 300bn’: to create an attractive business environment for investors in the industrial sector; catalyse industrial development and stimulate the national economy; encourage innovation, adopt advanced technology; and create strong foundations to enhance the UAE’s position as a leading global business and technology hub for future industries.
We aim to enable the local industry to leverage our know-how through MoIAT. This will help establish a world-leading industrial ecosystem that fosters our advanced technology breakthroughs, ensures their commercial viability, and secures long-term economic sustainability for Abu Dhabi and the broader UAE.