x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 18 January 2018

Wellspring of innovation

Recent examples demonstrate the welcome news that researchers from the UAE are doing well on the frontiers of world-class scientific study.

An Arabic proverb states that a flood is nothing but an accumulation of water drops. In the UAE, many drops of scientific research and achievement are accumulating to issue, we hope, a torrent of innovation.

As The National reported yesterday, an Emirati software entrepreneur, Hashim Abdullah Al Mussabi, has designed a computer mouse that uses facial recognition technology to enable disabled people to use computers.

It is just one example of individual innovation that contributes a growing movement of indigenous R&D; growing slowly, perhaps, but with undeniable momentum. As we report today, Dr Nidhal Guessom, an Algerian astrophysicist at the American University of Sharjah, was published in the journal Science last week for work on a computer model that can predict exactly when the crescent moon will be visible to mark the period of Ramadan and the two Eids.

There are many fields and disciplines. Dubai's Central Veterinary Research Laboratory, for example, is working on the treatment of breast cancer using tiny particles produced by the white blood cells of a camel.

Not all of these innovations will have major consequences or reap financial rewards. Simply, they are projects by researchers in the UAE catering for the UAE's needs. That is a refreshing stream of thought indeed.