UAE Space Agency declares winners of programme - GulfToday

UAE Space Agency declares winners of programme

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This initiative highlights the shared vision of both parties in providing a local platform that unveils Emirati talent.

The UAE Space Agency and Krypto Labs, the global innovation hub, have announced the two winning teams of the GeoTech Innovation Programme. The winners were awarded funding of Dhs100,000 in cash and Dhs500,000 in kind, and the opportunity to accelerate and transform their innovative ideas into commercially viable and scalable market-ready products and/or services.

 Working collectively and actively on mapping land deformation patterns in the UAE, Dr Prasanth Marpu, Adham Alkhaja, Dr Nikolaos Lisosis, and Dr Prajowal  Manandhar gained recognition as one of the two winning teams for proposing a business idea under the title “Ayn Astra” which offers four products making use of satellite data. The proposition aims to use advanced processing algorithms for interferometric data processing. It also offers land use and land cover mapping, and it will be mapping the health of palm trees/vegetation and tracking dune motion.

“Utopia: Strategic Land Management Powered by AI” is the title of the business idea proposed by winners Ali Al Hammadi and Ziang Zhang. Their idea aims to offer a consulting agency based on an artificial intelligence system that generates assessments of existing land use, forecasts of future use and needs for a set of development assumptions, and strategies for urban and rural land management, and development using big data (primarily satellite data).

  The programme received over 80 applications from university professors, students, entrepreneurs and engineers, from private and public companies, universities, and educational institutes in the UAE.

Dr Eng. Mohammed Nasser Al Ahbabi, Director General of the UAE Space Agency said: “The UAE Space Agency’s support for this initiative is in line with its strategic goals of supporting the development of national capabilities and the growth of innovation-led entrepreneurial activity in the UAE space industry. With the space sector poised to contribute to more and more socio-economic development, the GeoTech Innovation Programme is already playing a significant role in identifying, facilitating and advancing local entrepreneurial efforts in a range of fields related to space.”

Dr. Saleh Al Hashemi, Managing Director of Krypto Labs, said: “This programme is one  of our many initiatives that aspire to promote and facilitate a culture of innovation, as we believe that an innovative culture acts as the fundamental enabler in creating cutting-edge solutions. The ideas highlighted and discussed throughout the programme are a testament to this, as their application and implementation will generate significant impact.”

  Dr. Khaled Al Hashmi, Director of Space Missions, Science and Technology at the UAE Space Agency, said: “The  GeoTech Innovation Program comes in line with our Science, Technology, and Innovation Roadmap, which on one hand, aims to develop local talents in space sciences and provide practical solutions that can contribute to transforming the UAE into a knowledge-based  society; and on the other hand, fulfils the strategic objective of developing the UAE space sector by supporting entrepreneurs to establish innovative businesses and startups.”

This initiative highlights the shared vision of both parties in providing a local platform that unveils Emirati talent and develops their skill-set in the field of space sciences and its applications in line with the sustainable development of the UAE.

In another development, the UAE Space Agency has won a World Summit of Information Society (WSIS) Prize, for its role in promoting international partnerships within the space sector. The summit, being held in Geneva, Switzerland till 12 April, was attended by Information and Communication Technology (ICT) experts and high-level representatives from the WSIS stakeholder community.

 The UAE Space Agency, the first national space agency in the region, was established  in 2014, and is responsible for organising, regulating and supporting the national space sector under federal law. This includes the complete overseeing and funding of space missions such as the Mars Hope Probe, the UAE’s unmanned mission to Mars.