Abu Dhabi's vision of becoming a knowledge-led economy was given a boost yesterday with the establishment of a research centre.
The Advanced Technology Investment Company (Atic) and the Semiconductor Research Corporation (SRC) launched the ATIC-SRC Centre of Excellence for Energy Efficient Electronic Systems (ACE4S), to be hosted jointly in Abu Dhabi by Khalifa University of Science, Technology and Research, and Masdar Institute of Science and Technology.
Atic is investing Dh17.5 million in the project, an amount matched by Masdar Institute and Khalifa University. The total budget for the centre is Dh35m spread over the next three years.
"Today represents a milestone in our journey towards a knowledge-led economy, a journey that will rely heavily on cultivating our human capital and strengthening our research and development capabilities" said Sultan Al Jaber, the chief executive at Masdar.
"This collaboration between Atic, Khalifa University and Masdar Institute will contribute to the UAE's establishment as a hub for semiconductor research. Such partnership models will be critical to our economic growth and global competitiveness within knowledge-intensive industries."
The centre will focus on research in four key areas: energy harvesting, power management, sensor technologies and wireless communications networks.
Within the first three years, ACE4S will seek to produce prototypes for healthcare applications as well as knowledge and research relevant to safety and security, aerospace, water quality and the environment.
"The focus is on semiconductor research. The goal is to create a centre of excellence that is renowned on a global scale ... and establish an R&D [research and development] infrastructure in Abu Dhabi so that it can compete globally. The way to get to that innovation is by creating an innovation centre like this," said Sami Issa, the executive director at Atic.
Atic has invested Dh100m over the past four years in R&D and university grants. The Mubadala-owned company is heavily involved in the semiconductor industry having acquired the silicon chip manufacturer GlobalFoundries, now the world's second-biggest producer of semiconductor chips.
"This partnership will transform the way we conduct research in nano-scale energy efficient systems-on-chips as it will help us educate and train a highly skilled workforce with relevant skills. This is a key element in driving innovation and entrepreneurship in the UAE's semiconductor sector in line with the Abu Dhabi 2030 vision," said Tod Laursen, the president of Khalifa University.
"The involvement of the SRC and its member companies in centre development will help create a world-leading institution with a sustainable university-industry collaborative research environment conducive to high-tech job creation and direct local and foreign investment."