HCT & the Sharjah Research, Technology & Innovation Park to Support Student Research Projects & Startups
The Higher Colleges of Technology (HCT) will collaborate with the Sharjah Research, Technology & Innovation Park (SRTIP) to promote innovation and entrepreneurship among Emirati students, after the parties signed a collaboration agreement at the Expo 2020 Dubai site, on the sidelines of HCT’s 2nd InnCuVation Forum.
The agreement was signed by Professor Abdullatif AlShamsi, HCT President and CEO, and Hussain AlMahmoudi, CEO of SRTIP, in the presence of officials from both parties.
The entities will seek to support and empower Emirati youth with the required expertise to establish their own businesses and unleash their innovations, by implementing joint research and education projects, as well as training and development programs.
Under the terms of the agreement, HCT and SRTIP will work closely so as to keep updated on new developments in innovation and entrepreneurship programs, while supporting joint projects. The two parties will further discuss ways of providing support to HCT students’ startup businesses and projects, as well as exploring opportunities for further cooperation in applied research and offering special facilities for students to benefit from SRTIP’s services.
Prof. AlShamsi lauded the collaboration, reiterating SRTIP’s reputation as a key supporter of the UAE’s innovation and scientific research system. He said HCT is keen to build effective partnerships to promote innovation and entrepreneurship, particularly in light of HCT’s focus creating graduating companies and entrepreneurs through its InnCuVation Spaces and Startup Development Program.
To date, the Startup Development Program has been instrumental in launching 138 startups in tandem with a focus on incubating and promoting ventures and innovations based on advanced technologies, such as Artificial Intelligence, Virtual Reality, 3D Printing and more.
Prof. AlShamsi said the aim is for the signatories, through the mechanism of this partnership, to provide integral support nascent innovations through SRTIP’s startup incubation environment, which brings together global companies, expertise and technologies.
He added that in recent years HCT has great importance to applied research, which distinguishes it as an applied education institution. “HCT’s applied research environment contributes to providing innovative solutions to the challenges that various sectors and institutions may face,” he said.
In 2022, HCT has funded 62 research projects conducted by faculty members in the areas of health, energy, water, information technology, education and transportation, all of which promote innovation and development opportunities. In addition, HCT students are often part of the faculty members’ research activities, with whom they work to develop their skills and ultimately link them to the relevant labor market.
Prof. AlShamsi noted the partnership’s goal was to support Emirati startups and enhancing their presence in the competitive market, thus contributing to the UAE’s economic development, in which SMEs act as key drivers.
H.E. Hussain Al Mahmoudi said SRTIP serves as a leading local platform to promote innovation practices among students and motivate innovators to take advantage of an environment that helps them innovate. Consequently, it provides them with many opportunities to develop and refine their skills and enter the world of entrepreneurship.
He noted that SRTIP collaborates with many research bodies and institutions in the innovation field and has conducted many experiments in cooperation with international scientific, academic and research bodies and institutions. As a result, SRTIP would become the first complex in scientific research across the region within the next few years, he said.
“This will help achieve SRTIP’s vision and goals, aimed at providing a suitable environment for creativity and innovation to enhance the position of the Emirate of Sharjah as a global destination for research and technology,” he added.
“Therefore, it will support the Emirate's direction towards knowledge economy by supporting, encouraging and developing innovation and scientific and applied research to undertake investment activities,” he said.
H.E. Al Mahmoudi said with this agreement, SRTIP seeks to fulfill the vision of His Highness Sheikh Dr. Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Sharjah, by developing cooperation between academia, the private sector and companies, via practical applied research projects.
He also stressed the importance of having a strong partnership between faculty, students and private companies, as evidenced by such projects implemented at SRTIP, including the construction of houses using 3D printing technology.
He said SRTIP aspires to develop similar projects in the transportation and communications sectors, through fruitful collaborations between students and companies, adding that SRTIP strives to be “a haven for global research companies, researchers and innovators, including students, academics and alumni”.
H.E. Al Mahmoudi also emphasized the importance of promoting and activating joint role of faculty and students to move scientific research from theory to the practical, applied phase and make it a tangible reality at SRTIP. This would be achieved through SRTIP’s role as a link between academia and the private investment sector, creating optimal operating conditions, including financial support, enabling researchers to connect with the business and investment world.