East Anglia and Dubai hold similar values that further innovation in regions

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A delegation of experts from the Government of Dubai, including senior figures from the city’s tech, healthcare and cultural sectors, visited the Norwich Research Park to meet the people and businesses tackling the grand challenges facing humanity and shaping the future of food, energy, medicine and mobility.

Hosted at The Earlham Institute, a series of presentations were delivered by Norwich Research Park institutes and businesses in the region, including the New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership and the Norfolk Chamber of Commerce.

The presentations introduced the Cambridge Norwich Tech Corridor’s partnership approach and its role in developing the regional innovation ecosystem, offering insights into key sectors, capabilities, and opportunities for engagement and investment.

Dr Amer Sharif, CEO, Dubai Academic Health Corporation and Professor Alawi Al Sheikh Ali, Deputy Director General, Dubai Health Authority, who were pivotal in Dubai’s hugely successful COVID response, shared their learnings for future pandemics.

HE Khalfan Belhoul, CEO, Dubai Future Foundation and Museum of the Future, and HE Huda Al Hashimi, Deputy Minister of Cabinet Affairs for Strategic Affairs, also outlined Dubai’s approach to innovation through policies, platforms and people and how this is harnessed via incubators and accelerators.

Dr Amer Sharif, CEO, Dubai Academic Health Corporation, and Chair of Dubai COVID-19 Command and Control Centre, said: “During our visit to the Norwich Research Park, we had the pleasure of hearing about the UK’s approach to innovation in the life sciences, health and tech and sectors. The exchange of ideas, knowledge and expertise has undoubtedly deepened our relationship with the UK across these industries. And with so much multidisciplinary expertise working to a shared vision, the future looks bright.”

Roz Bird, CEO, Anglia Innovation Partnership, said: “We were delighted to host the high-level delegation from Dubai, in partnership with New Anglia LEP, at the Earlham Institute here at Norwich Research Park. It was a chance to spend quality time with an impressive team of likeminded people who have achieved a great deal in Dubai over the last ten years.

“We put together a packed programme of presentations, representing the wide range of research activity and expertise at Norwich Research Park, including presentations from two of our key companies – Leaf Expression Systems and the 2Blades Foundation. The delegation expressed real interest in the Park’s commercialisation activity including AIP LLP’s recent launch of its new Enterprise Strategy.”

Professor Alawi Alsheikh-Ali, Deputy Director General of the Dubai Health Authority, said: “There is an immense concentration of talented scientists and researchers in the Norwich Research Park. Meeting these world-leading thinkers, all of whom are tackling the biggest medical and technical challenges facing humanity, has inspired us to pursue an even deeper level of partnership with the UK and the region. I admire their commitment to scientific advancement and look forward to a rich and production future of collaboration.”

Noora Al Abbar, Director, Government of Dubai Media Office, said: “The work being done in the Cambridge Norwich Tech Corridor is extremely impressive and we were delighted to be able to learn more about the region’s development and plans. Dubai has huge ambitions, driven by fostering a culture of innovation and enterprise, and we are always keen to meet, talk to others, learn and see where new relationships can be built. It was reassuring to see that there was a mutual agreement and similar values are held between the two regions in order to foster innovation.”

Chris Starkie, Chief Executive of the New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership, said: “It was a privilege to welcome such an influential delegation from Dubai to the region. It is clear from our discussions there is much in common between Dubai, Norfolk and Suffolk in agri-tech, healthcare and energy. We identified great opportunities for collaboration to drive forward our respective economies, discovering new innovative ways of working.”

Trevor Holden, Managing Director of Broadland and South Norfolk Councils, said: “It was a fantastic opportunity to meet with some of Dubai’s foremost experts to learn about their ambitions and aspirations in science and innovation – there was a genuine congruence of ambition.”

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Dubai Life Sciences and CleanTech delegation UK visit 16-20 May 2022. Photo credit ©Simon Finlay Photography.

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