UAE Research Program for Rain Enhancement Science Begins Evaluation of Shortlisted Proposals from Fourth Cycle Submissions

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His Excellency Dr. Abdulla Al Mandous, Director General of NCM and President of the Regional Association II (Asia) of the World Meteorological Organization (WMO)

Abu Dhabi-UAE: The UAE Research Program for Rain Enhancement Science (UAEREP), managed by the National Center of Meteorology (NCM), today announced that it has commenced the evaluation of the shortlisted innovative project proposals received for the program’s fourth cycle. The researchers who presented these proposals were invited to prepare and submit their full proposals no later than midnight 26 August, 2021 (GMT). Following a month-long evaluation of full proposals, the international technical review committee will virtually convene from 3 to 4 October, 2021 to select the fourth cycle awardees.

The shortlisted proposals cover various areas of research including cloud microphysics, cloud seeding assessment, new seeding materials, droplet charge measurement, cloud seeding prediction support using artificial intelligence techniques for accurate weather forecasting that supports cloud-seeding operations.

His Excellency Dr. Abdulla Al Mandous, Director General of NCM and President of the Regional Association II (Asia) of the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), said: “The evaluation of project proposals received for the program’s fourth cycle marks a key step in NCM’s continued efforts to promote scientific collaboration in rain enhancement research in line with the directives of our wise leadership. We are confident that the shortlisted projects for the program’s fourth cycle grant will provide important knowledge and scientific propositions to this vital research area, while delivering a profound impact on the global efforts to address water scarcity.”

The shortlist was finalized following a month-long evaluation process that culminated in the meeting of the international technical review committee virtually from 17 to 19 May, 2021 to reach agreement on the final shortlist of successful applicants. The selected pre-proposals were drawn from a wide variety of scientific fields relevant to rain enhancement, from 81 total submissions, presented by 378 scientists and researchers affiliated with 159 institutions across 37 countries on five continents. The pre-proposals selected were scored based on four evaluation criteria: research excellence, impact and quality; experience and/or expertise of the proposers, and potential for success; multidisciplinary collaboration across academic, industry and government partners; and the potential to enhance or transform the weather modification research community and industry in the UAE and across the globe.

For her part, Alya Al Mazroui, Director of the UAE Research Program for Rain Enhancement Science (UAEREP), said: “The international technical review committee will proceed with a careful selection process to ensure that the shortlisted proposals add value to the UAE’s ambitious efforts to address the most pressing water scarcity challenges in arid and semi-arid regions around the world.”

Al Mazroui added: “The research proposals shortlisted by the program’s fourth cycle are characterized by their high quality in terms of scientific merit and potential impact. The expertise of the committee members and their efforts to identify the most promising research ideas have allowed us to shortlist projects with significant potential to enhance our cloud seeding capabilities through harnessing innovative technologies. In addition to complementing our existing research, such efforts will help us break new ground in this vital scientific domain that serves as a key pillar of global water security.”

The fourth cycle of the UAE’s pioneering rain enhancement program is currently underway and offers a US$1.5 million grant for each winning research proposal, distributed over three years. The grants will enable these projects to move from theory to practice, provided that the winning projects shall start implementation within two months after the announcement of fourth cycle awardees at a virtual event set to run in January 2022.