x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

Date researchers honoured with awards

Work on genetic code and palm weevils has been recognised.

Professor Abdelouahhab Zaid, the secretary general of the awards, says the UAE has a responsibility to encourage scientific advancement throughout the world.
Professor Abdelouahhab Zaid, the secretary general of the awards, says the UAE has a responsibility to encourage scientific advancement throughout the world.

ABU DHABI // A team of Saudi scientists has been honoured for its work in unravelling the genetic code of the date palm - as have the Egyptian engineers who developed a machine to detect palm weevils.

They were among eight groups named yesterday as winners of the Khalifa International Date Palm Award.

Professor Abdelouahhab Zaid, the secretary general of the awards, said that as a global leader of date palm research, the UAE had a responsibility to encourage scientific advancement throughout the world.

The event attracted 131 entrants - up from 67 last year - from 24 countries. Award winners received Dh300,000. Those in second were granted Dh200,000.The selection committee withheld awards in two of the 10 categories.

According to Prof Zaid, the increase in the number of entrants was due to greater interest from abroad. The number of UAE-based entrants had not increased since the awards' inception, he said. Around 10 per cent of applicants were from non-Arab countries.

The awards committee visited countries around the region to publicise the awards. The result, said Prof Zaid, was a book compiling all the winning research papers. It will be released on March 15, when an awards ceremony will be held at the Emirates Palace hotel.

mdetrie@thenational.ae