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Badr Al-Olama

Abu Dhabi’s top research centres to boost food, water innovation

ABU DHABI, June 11, 2024

Abu Dhabi’s top research centres have teamed up to bolster innovation, talent development and advanced research, with the aim of tackling food shortages and water security globally.
 
AGWA (AgriFood Growth & Water Abundance), Abu Dhabi’s new food and water cluster, is joining forces with five of the UAE capital’s leading universities and technology enablers for this. 
 
Led by the Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development (ADDED) and Abu Dhabi Investment Office (ADIO), AGWA is set to become a global hub for novel food and ingredients, as well as for technologies that increase access to water resources and enable their efficient utilisation. 
 
Expertise and resources
ADIO has brought together the expertise and resources of the Advanced Technology Research Council (ATRC), the Abu Dhabi Investment Authority Lab (ADIA Lab), Khalifa University, the United Arab Emirates University (UAEU), and Hub71 to collaborate on fostering innovation and sustainable solutions within the food and water sectors. 
 
The research centres will play a defining role in uncovering breakthroughs and advancements related to the future of food and water. This will drive progress in areas like the development of alternative proteins, functional ingredients, algae, farming, and reverse osmosis membranes. 
 
The innovative AGWA cluster has been meticulously designed to support local suppliers and exporters alike, serving as a platform for the maximisation of commercial opportunities. The cluster aims to meet increasing global demand, alleviate pressures on agricultural systems, address shifting dietary patterns, capitalise on technological advancements, and support global food security, ensuring a reliable and resilient supply chain for food and water.
 
Cutting-edge solutions
The five Abu Dhabi research-led organisations will work closely with other AGWA companies to support the development of cutting-edge solutions and technologies, nurture talent and expertise essential for driving innovation and growth, and provide insights into emerging trends that affect market demands and challenges related to food and water.
 
Badr Al-Olama, Director General of the Abu Dhabi Investment Office (ADIO), said: “The depth of Abu Dhabi’s innovation ecosystem is a key strength offered to any company that seeks to join AGWA. This agreement brings together an array of specialist expertise from six world class institutions, enabling cluster companies to innovate and lead the drive for food security and water abundance.” 
 
Dr Horst Simon, Director of ADIA Lab, said: “ADIA Lab was created to tackle some of society’s most pressing issues through the study of data and computational sciences. The AGWA Cluster will foster collaboration between experts from various fields, working together to find solutions to a global and vitally important issue: food and water scarcity. We look forward to drawing on our network of leading scientists, supporting cutting-edge research projects and hosting knowledge-sharing events to play our part in the success of AGWA.”  
 
Dr Arif Sultan Al Hammadi, Executive Vice President, Khalifa University, said: “We are delighted to collaborate with key government, regulatory, and industry stakeholders and leading research institutions to contribute to the AgriFood Growth & Water Abundance (AGWA) cluster, a vital initiative for tackling the global challenges of food and water security. Khalifa University’s diverse research and enterprise-oriented endeavours align with the directives of the UAE leadership. 
 
Resilient future
“Our innovations focus on converting agricultural waste into sustainable resources, advanced water treatment solutions, climate-smart agriculture, and scientific breakthroughs that draw inspiration from the adaptability of the UAE's unique desert environment. By combining our novel findings and technologies relevant for agriculture and food security, and developing precipitation enhancement techniques to replenish water resources, we can create the necessary momentum for a more resilient future for the UAE.”
 
Ahmad Ali Alwan, CEO of Hub71, said: "Food and water security has been an important theme for Abu Dhabi and the UAE. Innovative technologies will play a significant role in developing sustainable food and water systems, essential for a resilient future. Abu Dhabi's pioneering initiatives in establishing this new cluster will foster collaboration and drive the development of transformative technologies in this sector."
 
Shahab Issa Abu Shahab, Director General at ATRC, said: "AGWA marks a significant step for Abu Dhabi in addressing global food and water challenges. ATRC is proud to be a part of this initiative and we look forward to supporting the development of cutting-edge technologies that will ensure a sustainable food and water supply for a growing global population."
 
The partners will establish a comprehensive framework to facilitate research and development activities. This framework will efficiently bring new products, processes, and services to market, while supporting companies to integrate into global value chains and enabling their transition to high-value activities. Additionally, the partnerships will provide continuous learning opportunities to enhance the skills of Abu Dhabi’s workforce.
 
Farming base
Abu Dhabi is home to more than 24,000 farms, of which 50% are in the Al Ain region. The AGWA cluster builds on this strong traditional farming base in Abu Dhabi, and the UAE capital’s leadership in advanced food and water production methods.
 
AGWA taps into a mega AED77.4 trillion ($21.07 trillion) industry with immense potential for economic growth and job creation. By 2045, AGWA is expected to contribute AED90 billion in incremental GDP to Abu Dhabi’s economy, create 62,000 new jobs, and attract AED128 billion in investments.--TradeArabia News Service
 



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