Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Attends First Annual Meeting of the Academy of Scientists
Mediaoffice.ae: Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum said that developing the science sector is a key priority for the UAE, given its critical role in helping achieve the government’s strategic objectives and supporting government bodies in various development projects.
"Investing in developing the capabilities of scientists and researchers and involving them in planning for the future is key to the prosperity of any society," His Highness said. "We launched the Mohammed bin Rashid Academy of Scientists, the first initiative of its kind in the Arab world, to foster the development of the region’s scientists and the cutting-edge research needed to sustain our growth and development,” His Highness added.
"We aim to revive the scientific spirit to serve humanity, enhance the role of scientists in the development process of the UAE, and to create a thriving community of Emirati scientists across disciplines," Sheikh Mohammed said.
Sheikh Mohammed’s remarks came as he attended the first annual meeting of the Mohammed bin Rashid Academy of Scientists, which took place at Etihad Museum in the presence of prominent scientists and experts from various fields.
Present at the meeting were Deputy Ruler of Dubai HH Sheikh Maktoum bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum; President of Dubai Civil Aviation Authority and Chief Executive and Chairman of Emirates Group His Highness Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum; His Highness Sheikh Mansour bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum; Minister of Cabinet Affairs and the Future HE Mohammed Abdullah Al Gergawi; and Minister of State for Advanced Sciences and Chairperson of Emirates Scientists Council Her Excellency Sara Al Amiri, apart from a number of senior officials.
The meeting witnessed the launch of the Mohammed bin Rashid Medal for Scientific Excellence, which aims to honour distinguished scholars and researchers who have made remarkable contributions in scientific fields. The Medal, which represents the highest Emirati scientific honour, was awarded to Dr. Saeed Alhassan Alkhazraji from the UAE, and Dr. Hassan Arafat, from the Kingdom of Jordan, for their achievements and contributions in the scientific field.
Dr. Saeed AlKhazraji developed innovative ways to save water and invented a device that can absorb water from the air without electricity. The device absorbs moisture from the air at low temperatures and releases them as water at high temperatures. This water can be used to irrigate agricultural crops, thus reducing the depletion of water in some agricultural areas.
AlKhazraji received the Sheikh Rashid Award for Scientific Achievement in 2008 and 2012. He has published more than fifty scientific articles in prestigious scientific journals covering various scientific topics.
Dr. AlKhazraji began his scientific journey in 1999, specialising in chemical engineering, and earned a PhD in 2011 from the United States. He is currently Assistant Professor and Director of the Gas Research Center, Department of Chemical Engineering in the Khalifa University of Science and Engineering and Petroleum Institute in Abu Dhabi.
The Mohammed bin Rashid Medal for Scientific Excellence was also awarded to Dr. Hassan Arafat who has made significant contributions to the development of technologies for water desalination and treatment based on renewable energy, in line with UAE’s priorities and objectives. He has collaborated with researchers from the Masdar Institute at the Khalifa University in Abu Dhabi and researchers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He has proposed innovative energy efficient methods for desalination, which will contribute in the future to low-cost and effective solutions for people living in remote areas.
Dr. Arafat published a book on sustainability in desalination, the first of its kind in the world, in addition to more than 220 scientific articles in specialised journals and international conferences. He received two patents from the United States, in 2015 and 2017 for desalination technologies, and oversaw 29 graduate students and postdoctoral researchers.
Dr. Arafat earned his PhD in Chemical Engineering from the University of Cincinnati, Ohio, and a Bachelors in Chemical Engineering from the University of Jordan in his native country. He currently works as Professor at the Department of Chemical Engineering at Khalifa University of Science and Technology in Abu Dhabi.
Her Excellency Sarah bint Yousif Al Amiri, Minister of State and Chairwoman of the Emirates Scientists Council said: "The Annual Meeting of the Mohammed bin Rashid Academy of Scientists is being held in response to His Highness Sheikh Mohammed’s message to the community of scientists to advance the role of science and scientists in the UAE."
Al Amiri noted that the Mohammed bin Rashid Medal for Scientific Excellence honours distinguished scholars and researchers who achieved remarkable contributions in scientific fields. The Medal represents the highest Emirati honour in the field of science. Her Excellency added that a specialised committee at the Mohammed bin Rashid Academy of Scientists reviewed over 50 profiles of scientists and researchers before selecting the winners of the medal this year. The same process will be applied in the coming years to select more distinguished scientists and researchers.
The Annual Meeting focused on three main topics: Natural Sciences, Health Sciences, and Engineering and Technology. Ten discussion groups were formed with the aim of developing scientific plans and initiatives to achieve national strategies and objectives, and enrich the scientific field locally and globally.
The sessions focused on Natural Sciences featured discussions on a number of topics including advancing the role of science and scientists in the UAE. Scientists also proposed innovative methods to make the UAE an attractive hub for scientists from all fields and disciplines.
Sessions focused on Health Sciences discussed the needs and challenges of the scientific community in the UAE as well as the current progress of medical and health sciences. Scientists also highlighted the potential use of artificial intelligence and innovation in scientific research within the UAE scientific community.
In the field of Technology and Engineering, topics of discussion included biotechnology, infrastructure, digital science and scientific applications. Scientists also highlighted the challenges facing the UAE’s science and technology sector and proposed plans for development.
The Mohammed bin Rashid Academy of Scientists is a platform for the scientific community both in the UAE and internationally. It aims to create a scientific database for building national capabilities in the field of scientific research and shape the future development of scientific and technological fields.