UAE Continues to Eye Dubai as Major Regional Hub of Biomedical Research

UAE Continues to Eye Dubai as Major Regional Hub of Biomedical Research

The momentum for high-quality biomedical research advances around the world with COVID-19 contributing to the reality of humanities vulnerability to health challenges. Most recently, Dubai’s private sector, via the Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry announced a donation of about $200,000 to Al Jalila Foundation to fund medical research in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). The private sector in Dubai seeks to use awards such as this to foster and facilitate advancement of medical science; the economic elites in this part of the world understand that they must diversify their economic reality if they are to further advance their economic and social interests. COVID-19 is a stark reminder of the importance of not only top quality healthcare but also research.

Capital Flows into Clinical Care & Research Advancements

Enormous sums of private equity, in the form of venture capital, private equity, family offices and even directly from pensions and sovereign wealth funds are now invested in healthcare-related enterprises, underlying the importance of the field as a whole. The medical science field is one that Dubai must build a strong presence acknowledges Hamad Buamim, President and CEO of the Dubai Chamber. This emphasis and focus recently was evidenced by the opening of the Mohammed Bin Rashid Medical Research Institute, the country’s first independent multidisciplinary biomedical research center.

COVID-19 Research

Recently, the Al Jalila Foundation via Mohammed bin Rashid Medical Research Institute awarded 2.5m AED ($680,643) in seed grants in key biomedical research areas including genetics, therapies and diagnosis. Presented by the Sheikh Mansoor bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Chairman of Dubai’s Supreme Committee of Crisis and Disaster Management, the awards went to highly talented scientists from the most prestigious medical institutions in the UAE such as United Arab Emirates University, University of Sharjah, Al Ain University and Al Jalila Children’s Specialty Hospital.

50 Year Plan

Leadership in the UAE, led by Dubai are working for the long term, with a vision to not only tackle major health challenges but to morph the Gulf country into a formidable supporter of continuous healthcare and biomedical research advancement. Dr. Abdulkareem Al Olama is the CEO of the Al Jalila Foundation, which positions itself as a sort of research pioneer for the region,  commented on the recent award, “As the UAE looks to the next 50 years we are inspired by the great strides we as a nation, are taking in medical innovation and the advancement of science and research.

Who is the Al Jalila Foundation?

This foundation apparently operates under the umbrella of Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Global Initiatives and promotes medical education and research by investing in the UAE’s medical treatment infrastructure and capabilities.  Offering scholarships in a bid to develop home-grown new generations of medical professionals, it also supports ground-breaking research targeting health challenges common in this region.

The group was formed by official decree 23/2012 on 26 Nov. 2012 to form a foundation for the promotion of innovative medical research and medical education in the UAE. The operation runs out of the Dubai Healthcare City, a free economic zone dedicated to the healthcare sector.

What is Dubai Healthcare City?

Dubai Healthcare City is a new development in Dubai that includes a significant concentration of high-tech hospitals and medical teaching centers. This upscale part of the city also includes upscale malls and fashion boutiques, luxury stores and the like. The community was launched in 2002 as a medical cluster that would attract medical tourism to Dubai.

According to some reports, this medical cluster is home to 120 medical facilities, including hospitals (Mediclinic City Hospital and Dr. Sulaiman Al-Habib Hospital) and over 120 outpatient medical centers and diagnostic laboratories with over 4,000 licensed healthcare professionals.