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325 scientists apply for UAE’s $5m rain grant

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Abu Dhabi: Some 325 scientists and researchers affiliated to 151 organisations have applied to participate in the UAE Research Programme for Rain Enhancement Science.

A total of 78 pre-proposals from scientific teams drawn from 34 countries around the world testify to the high level of international interest in the UAE’s initiative.

The initial deadline for research pre-proposals ended on April 16.

In its inaugural cycle, up to five projects will be selected as winners for the total grant of $5 million (Dh18.35 million) that will be awarded over a three-year period.

The prize-winning project proposals will be announced and honoured at a ceremony in January 2016.

The UAE is taking a global lead in promoting water security as part of its ‘Year of Innovation’ in 2015 to help arid and semi-arid countries increase their rainfall yields.

Shaikh Mansour Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Presidential Affairs and Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the UAE National Centre of Meteorology and Seismology (NCMS), launched the programme early this year.

Dr Abdullah Al Mandoos, Director of NCMS, said the submission of such a large number of applications from countries such as Cuba in the western hemisphere to China and Japan in the Far East and Sudan on the African continent validates the high level of international interest in the programme. The UAE is seeking to inspire new research and investment in a field that previously has been neglected but which offers significant potential for boosting water security, he said.

From the 78 pre-proposals received, the United States leads the way with 20 submissions, followed by the UAE with 19. Submissions from Russia, India and Iran numbered 10, 8, and 4, respectively, followed by Spain, China and South Africa with three each. Researchers from Britain, Japan, Australia, Kazakhstan and Sudan submitted two pre-proposals each, while individual researchers from other countries also participated in the first phase of the programme.

Alya Al Mazroui, Director of the UAE Research Programme for Rain Enhancement Science, said: “We are confident that the award winners will successfully develop strong research projects and forge collaborative synergies with all scientific partners and concerned organisations.”

With the pre-proposals submitted by April 16, the next stage will involve evaluation of the submissions by a specialised technical committee that will meet in Abu Dhabi on May 17 and 18 to shortlist selected candidates who will be invited to submit their full proposals. The shortlist of successful candidates will be announced on June 1. The last date for shortlisted candidates to submit the completed final research project is midnight of September 17.


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