Dubai Future Foundation announces seven key "Future Challenges", open to applications from companies around the world

Dubai Future Foundation announces seven key "Future Challenges", open to applications from companies around the world

  • Directives from HH Sheikh Mohammed – monitored closely by HH Sheikh Hamdan – stress urgency and for cooperation in the quest to achieve the targets of the initiative
  • HE Al Gergawi: “Dubai Future Accelerators” is the business support system that is most in line with government directives and strategies
  • Several prominent UAE figures commented on the initiative, including HE Humaid Mohammed Al Qatami, HE Major-General Khamis Mutar Khamis Al Muzainah, HE Matar Al-Tayer, HE Said Mohammed Al-Tayer, HE Engineer Hussein Nasser Lootah, HE Ahmad Bin Byat, HE Dr Abdullah Al-Karam, and HE Saif Al Aleeli
  • The international competition constitutes a roadmap to exploring seven future opportunities in seven key innovation sectors: health, education, renewable energy, transportation, infrastructure, safety and security, and advanced technology

His Excellency Mohammed Abdullah Al Gergawi, Vice Chairman of the Board of Trustees and Managing Director of Dubai Future Foundation, asserted that the directives of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai – monitored closely by His Highness Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of the board of Trustees of the Dubai future Foundation – stress the need to speed up the adoption of the necessary practical steps, as well as to combine efforts from various government institutions, in the quest to achieve the targets of “Dubai Future Accelerators”. The initiative seeks to enhance the UAE’s global position in the field of shaping the future, and attract the brightest and most innovative minds to sectors of strategic priority for the country.

HE added, “The ‘Dubai Future Accelerators’ initiative, launched by His Highness Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, under the directives of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, constitutes a support system for businesses and startups that are most in-line with government strategies, especially with the support from government and semi-government institutions that represent the most vital sectors in the government's agenda, such as health, education, transportation, infrastructure, renewable energy, etc.

HE explained that the current challenges facing some of the vital sectors for the cities of the 21st century require in-depth study and continuous foresight for the rapidly-changing future. HE stressed the importance of engaging the emerging enterprise sector with R&D centres and innovators from around the world to create a supportive platform for their role in creating solutions to these challenges.

Today the Dubai Future Foundation announced seven "future challenges", part of its landmark "Future Accelerator" program.

The Dubai Future Accelerator is an expansive program that brings together top international companies and entrepreneurs to address seven key “21st century opportunities”.

This includes the application of cutting edge technologies like AI and robotics, genomics, 3D printing, distributed ledgers, biomimicry and biotechnology, as well as new business models and ways of working.

The Dubai Future Accelerator will focus on the identification and deployment of futuristic prototypes at a city-wide scale. It links innovative companies and solutions with leading government departments to create breakthrough initiatives and transformational change.

"The Dubai Future Accelerator is the most ambitious program in the world. It is designed to link our most powerful and influential government leaders with the world’s most ambitious companies and entrepreneurs to create radical new solutions to change the world," said HE Mohammed Al Gergawi.

"The challenges represent some of the most urgent issues facing cities in the 21st century. They also represent some of the most cutting edge opportunities to address them," said H.E. Mohammed Al Gergawi.

Seven Founding Entities participate in establishing the World’s Largest Initiative.

His Excellency Ahmad Bin Byat, Vice Chairman and Managing Director of Dubai Holding, said, “As an organisation that places great emphasis on innovation in business, Dubai Holding is delighted to be part of Dubai Future Accelerators and lend support to Dubai Future Foundation in strengthening the emirate’s global competitiveness. We see this as another exciting platform for Dubai Holding to support the development of an innovation-led economy, as it is set to be the world’s largest public-sector structure designed to rapidly turn business ideas into reality and boost entrepreneurship in the UAE.”

His Excellency Humaid Mohammed Al Qatami, Chairman and Director General of the Dubai Health Authority (DHA), said that Dubai Future Accelerator is an extraordinary shift in the science of strategic planning and building the future, created by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai. HE stressed the importance of securing the necessary tools and capabilities of the future in order to achieve a head-start in realising sustainable development, building a knowledge-based economy, and possessing the tools of innovation in various fields, including the field of health, which represents the hub of this ambitious initiative.

His Excellency Major-General Khamis Mutar Khamis Al Muzainah, Commander-in-Chief of Dubai Police, praised the Dubai Future Foundation initiative, Dubai Future Accelerators, aimed at building the future today through innovative systems to attract the best solutions and projects of the highest possible economic value for the UAE. HE described the project as promising and said that it will contribute to the development and qualitative shift of Dubai, as it focuses on finding innovative solutions and attracting talent to participate in the development process.

His Excellency Matar Al-Tayer, Chairman of the Roads and Transport Authority (RTA), said, “The Dubai Future Accelerator program is one of the most important platforms to develop innovative solutions,” assuring that achieving the desired outcomes from Dubai Future Accelerator and making Dubai the most innovative city in the world calls for the consorted efforts of all bodies and institutions, as well as for attracting talents, and forging partnerships with the companies and institutions that work innovatively and search for out-of-the-box solutions.

His Excellency Engineer Hussein Nasser Lootah, Director General of Dubai Municipality, lauded the Dubai Future Accelerators programme, which will help cement the UAE’s global position in the innovation and creation. HE said, “Future accelerators and incubators would effectively contribute to implement innovative ideas in reality, which serves the government’s agenda in various sectors. They create a singular opportunity for cooperation to implement the department’s ideas and projects and develop them to serve broader segments of society.”

His Excellency Dr Abdullah Al-Karam, Chairman of the Board of Directors and Director General of the Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA) and member of the board of trustees for Dubai Future Foundation, said, “The initiative supports Dubai’s efforts to continue coming up with innovative ideas, executing them, and using every opportunity to ensure a brighter future for the emirate. The initiative allows entrepreneurs, experts, and public- and private-sector institutions to make use of the innovation-friendly environment, which will allow us to find new and innovative ways to provide educational services to cater to the aspirations of future generations.”

His Excellency Saif Al Aleeli, CEO of Dubai Future Foundation, said, “The Foundation will work in coordination with founders the initiative to ensure a quantum leap within its sectors, which, in turn, will contribute in boosting Dubai and the UAE’s position as a global capital for implementing future technologies and transforming future concepts into tangible projects.”

Seven Future Challenges

The challenges, sponsored by the following key government departments and enterprises, address the most important opportunities and technologies of the 21st century.

The challenges, and the institutions responsible for them, are:

  • Deploy digital solutions across hospitality, real estate and telecommunications industries that reduce paperwork, increase transaction speeds, and increase customer satisfaction by an order of magnitude (Blockchain, digital personalization, etc.), led by Dubai Holding.
  • Reduce water and energy consumption (in the home, in production and distribution, and/or in commercial application), led by the Dubai Electricity and Water Authority.
  • Prototype automated transport systems that could cut congestion in half and reduce transport-related CO2 emissions (across all modes, but in particular focusing on freight and fleet mobility systems such as taxis and public transport), led by the Dubai Roads and Transport Authority.
  • Test automated, recycled, and nature-inspired building materials and solutions that use energy and CO2 (including robotics, automation, bacteriological, mycology, algae, biomimicry, regenerative systems, sand-based 3D printing materials, and others), led by the Dubai Municipality.
  • Harness Dubai’s remarkable genetic diversity to enhance diagnostic speed and effectiveness (using genomics, analytics, telepresence and personalized medicine), led by Dubai Health Authority.
  • Test 21st century assessment systems and personalized learning solutions that work across curriculums (with an emphasis on Arabic language education, STEAM, well-being, coding, and other disciplines, led by the Dubai Knowledge and Human Development Authority.
  • Test integrated behavioural, genetic and biological systems for identifying, tracking and sharing information on criminals, in particular across borders and between jurisdictions, led by the Dubai Police.

Applications Open to Companies Around the World

The official website of the initiative,, provides further details about the challenges facing each sector, how to play a part in solving them, as well as some important dates. In addition to that, the website explains the selection criteria and assessment process, based on which the Foundation will select the companies that will participate in the first session of “Dubai Future Accelerators”.

Last week, Dubai Future Foundation launched the unique “Dubai Future Accelerators” initiative, part of Dubai's future agenda launched by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, in April 2015.

The initiative aims to provide an integrated programme to accelerate the development of the work of local, regional and global emerging companies working in the field of future technology within key innovation sectors. It also looks to contribute in expanding and facilitating global cooperation in the field of innovation, as well as offering an original platform for emerging companies to work with the relevant government entities and provide solutions to the toughest challenges in their respective sectors.