National Innovation Strategy

  • 21 October 2014

The UAE’s strategy, led by the President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan (may God protect him), has been to reinforce creativity and innovation in different areas of business and to establish institutional frameworks that encourage innovation to the extent that it turns into a culture rooted in different institutions. Affirming this strategy His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, has launched the National Innovation Strategy with the objective to make the UAE among the most innovative countries in the world by 2021. The strategy, which is remarkable because it attaches great importance to achieving excellence, follows these characteristics:

First of all, this strategy depends on a clear path and specific steps instead of general trends. It works on four parallel tracks – building a stimulating environment for innovation by supporting laws and institutions, developing government innovation by institutionalising innovative practices with the support of an integrated system of modern tools, encouraging private sector to establish innovation and scientific research centers, adopting new technologies and developing innovative products and services, providing individuals with highly innovative skills by concentrating on science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

Another remarkable aspect of this strategy is that it is inclusive and wholesome. In addition to providing institutional, legislative, and technological requirements for innovation, the strategy cultivates all the powers of society to attain the goal of innovation at the government, private sector, or individual levels. This process involves clear definition of priorities as it focuses on the sectors that represent a real addition to national development: renewable energy, transportation, education, health, water, space exploration, technology development in communications and satellites, besides studies in transferring space technologies to applications on the ground.

Moreover, it doesn’t only involve clear definition of national priorities, work domains, and contemplated goals. The National Innovation Strategy includes 16 indicators to measure the progress. Government-sector indicators include the percentage of innovative ideas and the proportion of budget allocated to innovation. Private sector indicators include research and development investment and the knowledge profile of the workforce. Global indicators include an overall measure comparing the county’s innovation capabilities as well as indicators for the protection of intellectual property, patents and availability of scientists and engineers.

It goes without saying that this index will ensure continuous follow-up of progress in different areas related to the National Innovation Strategy. This is a basic attribute for all development plans in the UAE as they are not only put in place but also followed through toward implementation in a way that ensures achievement of their defined objectives.