Sharjah, UAE: As the UAE continues to make impressive progress in the Global Innovation Index, the Sharjah Research, Technology and Innovation Park (SRTIP) is stepping up efforts to become one of the region’s most dynamic incubation hubs.
The UAE ranks 31st globally and first regionally in the 2022 Global Innovation Index (GII) published by the United Nations specialized agency World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO). The report presents the latest global innovation rankings for 132 economies based on 81 different indicators.
The UAE’s overall ranking has risen by two places from last year, leading the Arab region for the seventh consecutive year. The UAE’s progress strengthens its position among the world’s most innovative countries, ahead of countries such as India (ranked 40), Russia (47), Malaysia (36) and Poland (38).
Hussain Al Mahmoudi, Chief Executive Officer of SRTIP, said: “It is gratifying to see that the UAE’s ambitious efforts to become an innovation-led economy are paying off. Innovation is a key component of the ‘Unity of Knowledge’ pillar of the UAE Vision 2021 part. At SRTIP, we are poised to become one of the most dynamic centers of innovation-driven companies. We already have companies pushing the frontiers of smart transportation, agriculture, 3D printing and other emerging technologies. As we continue to seek solutions to modern approach to problems and challenges, we welcome more entrepreneurs to join our unique ecosystem.”
With the support of the government, private sector companies and the research capabilities of the American University of Sharjah (AUS), SRTIP has witnessed tremendous growth in recent months. Earlier this month, it publicly demonstrated the Hungarian solar racing Megalux, part of a partnership with Hungary’s Johan von Neumann University (JvNU) to develop solar cars.
Last October, SRTIP presented Lightyear 0, the world’s first solar-powered electric vehicle that can be used for remote production. Lightyear 0 is the only solar-powered electric car that has actually started production. The Lightyear 0 can be charged by the sun while parked or driving, and can run for months before needing a plug to recharge.
USky Transport is in the advanced stages of building a suspended test track for SRTIP’s first high-speed electric skypod network in the UAE. Once the full-length line opens, the track will allow pods suspended on super-strong string rails to travel at speeds between 150 km/h and 500 km/h.
Mr. Al Mahmoudi added: “SRTIP is in sync with the Emirate of Sharjah’s progress towards building a knowledge economy and becoming a center for R&D and innovation in the region. The world is entering the Fourth Industrial Revolution and we believe we must transform Sharjah through an ecosystem that fosters and rewards innovation. We are preparing for this change by building a world-class research and testing center.”
Talking about the key highlights of GII 2022, Mr. Al Mahmoudi pointed to two key findings – the coming wave of innovation in the digital age based on supercomputing, artificial intelligence and automation will have a major impact on productivity across all sectors, thereby Scientific breakthroughs leading to fundamental science; a wave of deep science innovation building on breakthroughs in biotechnology, nanotechnology, new materials, and other sciences that is revolutionizing innovation in four areas critical to society: health, food, environment, and fluidity.
STRIP also aligns with GII’s findings on venture capital (VC) deals. According to the report, despite the Covid crisis, the world is witnessing a historic boom in venture capital activity, with the number of deals up nearly 50% in 2021.
Mr. Al Mahmoudi said: “We at SRTIP believe that venture capital is the right model for financing innovation. In 2021, the UAE will attract over $1.47 billion in venture capital in the MENA region, with Saudi Arabia, Egypt and Bahrain coming in second and third and fourth place.In the UAE, easy access to diverse financing channels and favorable legislative tools help create one of the most attractive landscapes in the world for start-ups and entrepreneurs, including the SRTI park.
“SRTI Park has become a leader in venture capital, with companies investing over $100 million in research to develop solutions in transportation, agriculture, renewable energy, 3D printing, AR and VR. There are now more than 2,000 companies at SRTI Park conducts business.”