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Dubai-UAE: 13 January, 2022 – Under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, UAE Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Presidential Affairs, the UAE Research Program for Rain Enhancement Science today hosted a special ceremony at the UAE pavilion at Expo 2020 Dubai to honour the winners of its fourth cycle grant.

The event drew the participation of His Excellency Dr. Sultan bin Ahmed Al Jaber, Minister of Industry and Advanced Technology, and His Excellency Faris Mohammed Al Mazrouei, Adviser at the Ministry of Presidential Affairs and Chairman of NCM’s Board of Trustees.

In a speech delivered on his behalf by His Excellency Faris Mohammed Al Mazrouei, His Highness Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan said: “Owing to the vision and unwavering support of our wise leadership, the UAE continues its sustained support for the scientific community in its efforts to promote water sustainability and find scientific solutions. Water scarcity has become a major global challenge that demands collective efforts and swift action to develop practical solutions to bolster water security worldwide.”

“In line with the UAE’s prudent approach to utilize research and development outcomes to address various developmental challenges, the country has taken a pioneering step to develop our water resources through establishing the UAE Research Program for Rain Enhancement Science and offering grants for the most outstanding rain enhancement research proposals.

“Since its inception, the program has played a crucial role in finding new solutions and ideas to tackle the scarcity of water resources and low rainfall rates. We are confident that through collaboration and collective efforts, we will be able to translate the ground-breaking ideas presented to the program into reality, while contributing to improved water security locally, regionally, and globally,” His Highness Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan added.

His Highness Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan also congratulated the fourth cycle awardees and wished them every success.

At the event, His Excellency Dr. Sultan bin Ahmed Al Jaber honored the awardees including Dr. Bradley Baker, Principal Investigator at SPEC Inc, and Dr. Luca Delle Monache, Deputy Director of the Center for Western Weather and Water Extremes (CW3E), Scripps Institute of Oceanography, University of California San Diego, USA.

Al Jaber said: “It is my great privilege to honour the fourth cycle awardees of the UAE Research Program for Rain Enhancement Science on behalf of His Highness Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan.”

He added: “The vision and support of our wise leadership have allowed the UAE to solidify its leading status and instrumental role in providing solutions to strategic issues such as water security. The UAE Research Program for Rain Enhancement Science is one of the country’s notable initiatives in this regard, as it has extended crucial support for innovative research projects and leading rain enhancement experts. This proves our ability to ensure the sustainability of water resources to serve the needs of communities facing acute water scarcity across the globe.”

For his part, His Excellency Faris Mohammed Al Mazrouei reiterated the support and appreciation of the UAE’s wise leadership for the tireless efforts of the scientific community to enhance water sustainability worldwide. He noted that news scientific solutions are needed to tackle water stress that has emerged as one of the most pressing national issues.

Al Mazrouei added: “It is imperative for us to use all our resources and employ innovative ideas to ensure sustainable supplies of potable water. Through adopting and supporting innovative solutions that help countries at risk of water stress, the UAE Research Program for Rain Enhancement Science has emerged as a key initiative that reaffirms the country’s leading role in enhancing global water security.”

For his part, His Excellency Dr. Abdulla Al Mandous, Director of NCM and President of the Regional Association II (Asia) of the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), said: “The UAE Research Program for Rain Enhancement Science was launched with the aim of ensuring global water security in line with the UAE leadership’s vision to promote knowledge-based initiatives. We are confident that the winning project proposals, along with the previously awarded projects, will provide a solid scientific basis to develop promising solutions for the pressing water stress challenges in arid and semi-arid regions.”

Dr. Bradley Baker received the grant for his research proposal titled ‘Enhancing Precipitation in the UAE Using Hygroscopic Nano-materials. His project aims to determine if the effects of the nano-material seeding agent and electric charge generators will stimulate a secondary ice process (SIP) that may potentially lead to rain enhancement.

Dr. Luca Delle Monache was awarded the grant for his research work titled ‘A Hybrid Machine Learning Framework for Enhanced Precipitation Nowcasting’. The project seeks to create an AI research and operations testbed in the UAE. The team will build a novel AI framework to blend satellite observations, ground-based weather radar data, rain gauges, and numerical weather prediction estimates.

The UAE Research Program for Rain Enhancement Science supervises research grants offered to projects that contribute to the development of innovative solutions in rain enhancement research.  In its fourth cycle, the program received a total of 81 total submissions presented by 378 scientists and researchers affiliated with 159 institutions across 37 countries on five continents.

The program offers a grant of $1.5 million distributed over 3 years for each of the research proposals in rain enhancement, with a maximum of $550,000 per year. Through its intensive outreach campaigns and external communication strategies, the program has built connections with 1,811 researchers and scientists and 806 research institutions from 70 countries, and received 451 research proposals over its four cycles.

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