UAE Research Program for Rain Enhancement Science Identifies Qualified Research Proposals for Fourth Cycle Grant

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Winning research teams to be officially announced in January 2022

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 National Center of Meteorology (NCM) today announced that it has identified the qualified research projects for the fourth cycle of the UAE Research Program for Rain Enhancement Science. The announcement was made following the meeting of the international technical review committee that convened virtually from the 3rd till the 4th of October, 2021 to evaluate the full proposals that reached the final stage of evaluation.

During the month-long evaluation phase, the committee reviewed 8 full-proposals that were submitted by 51 researchers, scientists and experts affiliated with 26 institutions in 9 countries. The evaluation was based on five-point criteria: overall scientific & technical merit, significance and innovation; investigator/team; capacity building; approach; and resources and budget.

The shortlisted proposals covered various research areas such as cloud microphysics, cloud seeding assessment, new seeding materials assessment, droplet charge measurement, cloud seeding prediction support, and the use of artificial intelligence techniques for accurate weather forecasting that supports cloud-seeding operations.

Earlier, the program announced the shortlisted pre-proposals from the initial evaluation phase, following a month-long evaluation process that culminated in the meeting of the international technical review committee virtually from 17 to 19 May, 2021. In total, 81 pre-proposals were submitted, which were presented by 378 scientists and researchers affiliated with 159 institutions across 37 countries on five continents. They 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.

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: “We are delighted with the timely completion of the evaluation of shortlisted projects qualified for the program’s fourth cycle grant. This phase is a key step towards identifying the most innovative ideas with potentials to advance rain enhancement research locally, regionally and globally. This aligns with the program’s objective of promoting rain enhancement research to address global water security challenges as envisioned by the UAE’s wise leadership. We are confident that the projects selected for grant will offer valuable knowledge and scientific input to help mitigate global water scarcity.”

For her part, Alya Al Mazroui, Director of the UAE Research Program for Rain Enhancement Science (UAEREP), said: “During the evaluation process, the international technical review committee focused on proposals that can make a valuable addition to the UAE’s ambitious efforts to address water scarcity challenges in arid and semi-arid regions across the globe. The shortlisted proposals stood out for their high quality and scientific merit, requiring the committee members to make rigorous efforts to identify the best among them based on stringent selection criteria. This will ensure their effective contribution to enhancing cloud seeding and breaking new ground in this important scientific domain, while complementing the existing research efforts with new ideas.”

Al Mazroui added: “At the program, we are committed to driving the development of rain enhancement research given its importance in ensuring a water-secure future. We look forward to the special event to be held beginning of next year to reveal more details about the winning projects.”

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 grant 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 an event set to run in January 2022.

The success of the UAE Research Program for Rain Enhancement Science articulates