Multi-million dirham prize was awarded to the winners of a worldwide healthcare competition
Dh30 million pledged to support health-care patents in UAE
Investors pledged Dh30 million to fund patents from people with ideas that could develop the UAE’s health-care sector.
At the closing ceremony of an annual worldwide competition, 23 innovators were awarded Dh3m between them to support their health-care ideas. A further Dh30m will be invested in their projects.
Many of Wednesday's winners of the Technology Innovation Pioneers (Tip) competition do not come from medical backgrounds – one of those awarded works for an oil company.
Emirati Ahmed Al Hammadi won funding for inventing a catheter that does not collect bacteria that can subsequently cause infections.
“I saw that there was a need for it and it wasn’t available in the market, so I decided to make one,” he said.
“I am not even remotely related to the medical field, but I wanted to help the thousands of people who suffer from recurrent infections.”
From a cure for cancer to a tiny device that could resolve common ear infections without the need for surgery, the projects are expected to save lives and relieve pain for millions of people.
Investors will also have a hand in developing many of the projects that the competition brought together on Wednesday.
The awards, in their first year, are a culmination of a partnership between the Department of Health in Abu Dhabi and the Department of Economic Development, to accelerate the development of innovation in the emirate’s health-care sector.
Sultan Al Mansoori, the Minister of Economy, said the competition was significant in developing tools that could improve the country’s health care.
He said Tip added value to initiatives undertaken by the UAE to develop an integrated system that supports innovation and encourages entrepreneurship through new technologies. “The initiative will stimulate research and development activities, increase the rate of patent registration in the health sector and enhance its attractiveness as strong investment platforms.”
He said the private sector would need to contribute by supporting and funding the inventors “to transform their creativity into something productive and deliver the development we all aspire to”.
The first instalment of the competition received more than 1,000 submissions.
Sarah Al Amiri, Minister of State for Advanced Sciences, said: “We are delighted that the first Technology and Innovation Pioneers Healthcare Award and Conference... has strengthened the status of the UAE and the capital Abu Dhabi as a global centre for innovation and medical and scientific research, which in return raises the country’s positing in various global indexes in line with the national agenda.”
The chairman of the Department of Health Abu Dhabi, Sheikh Abdulla bin Mohammed Al Hamed, said Tip aimed
“to attract innovations to solve health-care challenges including public health. What make us prouder is that we are the first government entity in the region to create the link between investors and health-care innovators”.
The winning projects will be funded and used by hospitals and health-care providers, including New Medical Centre.
“We inaugurated the Tip platform, the first of its kind in the region, to provide an innovation ecosystem to accelerate research and create innovative solutions towards key challenges presented in partnership with the government and private sectors, encouraging dynamic cross-collaboration to achieve unique results,” said Saif Al Hajeri, chairman of the Department of Economic Development Abu Dhabi.
“Such initiatives will open doors to new business ventures, creating new career opportunities in the private sector, which supports and promotes the diversification of the economic landscape of Abu Dhabi in a sustainable way.”