UAE Space Agency Signs MoUs with Eight Leading UAE Universities

07 January 2017

The UAE Space Agency has signed memorandums of understanding (MoUs) with eight prominent UAE universities in order to support the space sector through collaboration in space science, education, research, technology and applications. The MoUs provide a formal framework for engagement between the Agency and individual academic institutions.

The UAE Space Agency signed MoUs with the University of Sharjah, Zayed University, American University of Sharjah, Khalifa University, American University of Ras Al Khaimah, United Arab Emirates University, New York University Abu Dhabi, and the Masdar Institute of Science and Technology.

According to the new agreements, the Space Agency and its new partner institutions will develop and activate space research centres and innovative space education programs. The institutions will work with the Space Agency to jointly identify suitable research and education projects of mutual interest. Finally, the MoUs also cover collaboration in regards to the implementation of directives or initiatives emanating from the UAE’s National Space Policy.

H.E Dr. Khalifa Al Romaithi, Chairman of the UAE Space Agency, said: “These MoUs are in line with the foremost goals of the UAE Space Agency. By collaborating with academic institutions within the UAE we will be supporting the space sector, promoting scientific research and innovation, and directly engaging with students in order to inspire them to think about space, technology, and their role in building the future of our country. We are extremely pleased to be collaborating with such a wide range of respected entities and look forward to working closely with them.”

H.E Dr. Mohammed Al Ahbabi, Director General of the UAE Space Agency, said: “The MoUs complement the outstanding relationship between the Agency and institutions of higher education across the UAE. The agreements will allow academic institutions to not only assume a greater role in supporting the space sector but by collaborating on research and education projects, enhance the opportunities available to students and inspire them to consider a career in space.”

Professor Maamar Bettayeb, Vice Chancellor for Research and Graduate Studies of University of Sharjah, said: “This MOU between the UAE Space Agency and University of Sharjah represents an opportunity for us to contribute in this important priority area of UAE in research and development of space technology. University of Sharjah is already engaged with the establishment of various space research labs and research groups working in key areas of space research and technology. We look forward to working with the UAE Space Agency to contribute together to this important area of strategic importance to the UAE.”

Professor Reyadh AlMehaideb, Vice President of Zayed University, said: “We are honored to ink the MoU with the UAE Space Agency in line with the UAE’s vision that aims to make the UAE among the most innovative nations in the world. We look forward to promoting space subjects within the science and information technology programs at Zayed University to inspire a whole generation of young students who aspire to be astronauts and engineers and be engaged on space issues. Space sector education is an excellent tool for fostering the study of science and discovering new technologies that would tackle challenges on earth. Zayed University has always been committed to promoting space subjects as a motivator for STEM education among its students through innovative projects and research and hosting of lectures by prominent guest speakers and leading astronauts to give a glimpse into future flights and missions.”  

Dr. Arif Sultan Al Hammadi, Executive Vice President of Khalifa University, said: “Khalifa University has worked hard to establish its Aerospace Engineering program and develop the Aerospace Research and Innovation Center (ARIC), so it’s our pleasure to collaborate with the UAE Space Agency, as they will offer our students a platform to employ their innovations and research skills they acquired during their study at the University and an avenue to experience the reality of working in the field of space research, development and exploration, which will enable them to contribute to the realization of the wise leadership’s vision in achieving excellence in this emerging field in the UAE.”

H.E Dr Mohammed Al Baili, Vice Chancellor at United Arab Emirates University (UAEU), stressed the importance of this agreement in realizing the University’s primary mission of developing research solutions in fields that are of strategic value for the state. The University also engages in active partnerships with stakeholders to enhance the community’s wealth of knowledge, in line with the National Innovation Strategy.

Al Baili noted that UAEU recently launched the National Centre for Space Science and Technology, which is the first of its kind in the region and will be an incubator for research, development and innovation in the field of space. He pointed out the necessity of joint participation in developing advanced national educational capacities that are important to the space sector. Space is one of the most important drivers of the national economy, and a major contributor to scientific development and the creation of a knowledge economy, he said.

Al Baili praised the efforts of the UAE Space Agency in implementing a national plan for developing human capital in the space sector in order to enrich scientific knowledge of the earth and universe, as well as strengthening national security and emergency services in case of natural disasters.

NYU Abu Dhabi Provost Fabio Piano said: "This agreement is an important foundation in building NYU Abu Dhabi's capacity to push the frontier of space science and to inspire the next generation of global leaders about the wonders of space and the importance of exploration. It will connect the NYU Abu Dhabi academic and research environment to the UAE Space Agency in a meaningful and purposeful way, allowing us to identify opportunities for collaboration and partnership and to positively contribute to the space sector in the UAE and beyond."

Prof. Hassan Hamdan Al Alkim welcomed AURAK’s latest agreement, stressing, “We pride ourselves on being a government-owned university and are always eager to contribute to the advancement of this country. This cooperation with the UAE Space Agency represents a significant opportunity for mutual benefit, which will ultimately strengthen our nation’s role in the space sector. Furthermore, signing a memorandum of understanding with such a prestigious entity underlines the quality of the research going on at AURAK, through our Ras Al Khaimah Research and Innovation Center, as well as our ICT Center for Teaching and Creativity in Informatics Communication and Networking.”