Era of global collaborative innovation essential for capturing promise of Fourth Industrial Revolution, His Excellency Dr. Sultan Al Jaber tells 2021 Pujiang Innovation Forum

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  • His Excellency Dr. Sultan Al Jaber delivers keynote at 2021 Pujiang Innovation Forum on importance of building R&D ecosystem that fosters innovation
  • UAE invited as Country of Honor to annual event that assembles world leaders
  • HE Dr. Sultan Al Jaber: UAE-China partnership is a model of collaboration in science, technology, research and innovation that is accelerating global progress

Abu Dhabi, UAE: His Excellency Dr. Sultan bin Ahmad Al Jaber, the UAE’s Minister of Industry and Advanced Technology, said the UAE and the People’s Republic of China have set the standard for a model of cross-border collaborative innovation which will be vital for tackling future challenges.

He made the remarks while delivering the virtual keynote speech at the 2021 Pujiang Innovation Forum, with the UAE invited as the Country of Honor for the annual event, which was held under the theme of “Innovation for ‘A Better Life for Mankind’. 2021 also marks the 50th anniversary of the establishment of UAE-China relations.

Noting the enduring bilateral bond shared by the UAE and China, His Excellency said the relationship is set to deepen as the two countries expand their collaborations into knowledge-intensive sectors and spur innovation through leveraging advanced technologies and Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR) solutions – both key enablers of the UAE’s National Strategy for Industry and Advanced Technology, Operation 300bn.

His Excellency Dr. Sultan Al Jaber said, “Building an ecosystem that stimulates innovation is no longer optional, it is essential for countries to compete, succeed and fulfil their economic potential.

“This is why,” he said, the UAE’s leadership, “has always fostered a culture of inclusion that welcomes everyone to make it in the emirates. It is why we encourage cooperation beyond our borders – because together we are smarter more agile and more resilient.”

He continued: “We saw this principle in action, when our countries collaborated in a combined response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Vaccines developed at record time in china were deployed at scale across the UAE to achieve the fastest vaccination drive in the world.

“This same spirit of collaborative innovation can help us solve other global challenges,” he said, citing milestone achievements in the renewable energy sector.

“The UAE and China have partnered to create the world’s largest single site solar power plant – Noor Abu Dhabi. With 3.2 million solar panels installed across 8 square kilometers, Noor Abu Dhabi will produce 1.2 gigawatts of clean electricity.

“And our two countries will soon set a new benchmark in the renewable energy space, with the Al Dhafra Solar PV project, which will be almost twice the size of Noor, and which has set a record low tariff of 1.35 cents per kilowatt.

“In short,” His Excellency added “together we are proving that when countries collaborate to innovate, costs come down, economic opportunities go up and society benefits.”

Beyond climate change and healthcare, His Excellency said, “I see numerous opportunities to leverage our partnership for innovation across the traditional and emerging industries, in creative and commercially viable ways.

He went on to suggest the two counties explore the potential of zero carbon hydrogen, build on their shared experience in the life sciences to create new medicines and cutting-edge treatments and valuable biotech businesses and work on developing sustainable farming methods underpinned by advanced technologies to feed a growing global population while minimizing environmental impacts.

His Excellency Sultan Al Jaber also delivered a rousing call to action to the international community to show courage in the years ahead to capture the promise of the 4IR, citing the UAE’s remarkable success story of an example of visionary leadership and bold ambition.

“Pushing the boundaries of innovation requires you to be brave. To be bold and, dare I say it, to be ready to fail on the road to success,” he said.

“This is the spirit that turned a hydrocarbon economy into a center of excellence for renewable and new forms of energy. It is the reason we were able to transform our fishing and pearl diving villages into world class logistical hubs that today transport millions of Chinese goods across the world. It is the vision that allowed the UAE to explore space and send the first probe from our region to Mars.

“And it is the driving force behind launching the first university dedicated to the pursuit of artificial intelligence – the Mohammed bin Zayed University of Artificial Intelligence – that teaches young people from all around the world.”

His Excellency then focused on how the UAE is applying this same progressive mentality to refocus its industrial strategy “around leveraging the power of breakthrough technologies, to build resilience into our core industries.”

He then invited the world to participate in the UAE’s journey toward creating added value in the industrial sector through innovation, calling on innovators, entrepreneurs to take advantage of the attractive business environment in the UAE to make it in The Emirates.

“To create a culture of innovation,” he said, means “going beyond business as usual. The other critical enablers are directing investment into research and development. Setting aside capital for commercialization, setting up supportive policy and legal frameworks.

“As such, the UAE is redesigning its R&D and commercialization strategy to make sure that industries of most promise are incentivized first. In short, we are establishing a more efficient ecosystem to turn ground-breaking ideas into marketable products, as we extend an open invitation to the world to join us on this journey of value creation and innovation,” His Excellency said.

The UAE is the Country of Honor at the Pujiang Innovation Forum this year for the first time since the platform’s inception in 2014, reflecting the depth of relations between the two countries. Russia, Israel, Britain, Denmark, Portugal, Singapore and Serbia have previously been invited as guests of honor. This year, more than 1,500 delegates attended – many remotely, as the platform pivoted to an accessible online platform.