A scientist in a research lab. Photo is for illustrative purpose.
Al Jalila Foundation, a member of the Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Global Initiatives, announced on Monday that 91 scientists from 26 educational institutions across the UAE have applied for seed grants for research on combating the novel coronavirus (COVID-19).
In line with its mission to transform lives, the global philanthropic organisation has been supporting talented biomedicine scientists in a number of research areas including cancer, cardiovascular disease and diabetes since its inception in 2013 investing over Dhs25 million to advance medical research. In April, Al Jalila Foundation expanded its research portfolio in response to the COVID-19 global outbreak.
The sixth seed grant cycle offers research grants of up to Dhs500,000 to support scientists in conducting 1 to 2-year research projects to investigate the pathology, diagnostics, epidemiology, transmission, therapeutics, and prevention related to COVID-19 with a specific focus on the UAE population and demographics. Applications received support 46 basic, 27 translational, and 18 clinical research projects.
Professor Yousef Mohamed Abdulrazzaq Al Bastaki and Dr Raja Al Gurg (right).
The prestigious grants open to UAE nationals and residents saw applications from scientists of 31 nationalities conducting research at the nation’s most prestigious institutions including Mohamed Bin Rashid University of Medicine and Health Sciences; Khalifa University of Science and Technology; United Arab Emirates University; New York University Abu Dhabi; the American University of Sharjah and University of Sharjah.
Dr Raja Al Gurg, Member of the Board of Trustees of Al Jalila Foundation and Chairperson of the Board of Directors of Al Jalila Foundation, commented: “Al Jalila Foundation’s investment in medical research reaffirms our commitment to embed research and innovation in the fabric of the UAE’s long-term healthcare strategy. By supporting talented scientists and investing in research, we are developing the next generation of innovators in health sciences and paving the way for medical breakthroughs to save lives.”
Dr Abdulkareem Sultan Al Olama, CEO of Al Jalila Foundation, said: “The COVID-19 global outbreak has amplified the need to invest in pioneering medical research. Now, more than ever, we are counting on scientists and doctors coming together to develop better diagnostic testing, treatments, and gain a better understanding of the coronavirus and other viral diseases. We are delighted with the incredible response we have received from the scientific community and confident about what this round of research grants will yield towards supporting the fight to combat the coronavirus.”
The applications are assessed through a stringent independent international peer review process overseen by a Scientific Advisory Committee. The committee is made up of the most brilliant minds in the region who work with the international peer review panel to award research grants to the most deserving scientists.
Professor Yousef Mohamed Abdulrazzaq Al Bastaki, Chair of the Scientific Advisory Committee of Al Jalila Foundation, said: “We are very pleased by the great interest in our research grants and the quality of applications received from leading scientists at prestigious institutions across the UAE. Research is vital in building a knowledge-based economy and transforming the healthcare system to be more research oriented, and hence, improving people’s lives with better diagnostics and treatment. We look forward to supporting new ground-breaking research projects that will hopefully lead to medical discoveries and potentially a treatment for COVID-19 and other such viruses.”
Since inception in 2013, Al Jalila Foundation has provided opportunities to increase innovative and impactful medical research investing Dhs25 million to award 95 research grants and 8 international research fellowships at leading global institutions in the UK, USA and Japan to discover solutions for the region’s biggest health challenges.
The successful applicants will be announced by the end of September 2020 with research commencing in October.
The test will be done on fully automated and highly sophisticated system using the Electro-chemiluminescence immunoassay (ECLIA) method that uses plasma, or serum samples.
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