The Sharjah government is investing $500m over the next five years towards developing a research and development facility at the American University of Sharjah (AUS).

The investment wil focus on developing PhD programmes geared towards research and development as well as in setting up laboratories that will cater to six priority sectors that include water, power, transportation and mobility, and digitalisation, among others.

According to Hussain al-Mahmoud, CEO of AUS Enterprises, the long-term plan is to commercialise intellectual properties (IPs) that will come out of the R&D programme.

“The investment will include attracting the best talent from Silicon Valley to China… to fuel the programme’s objective to strengthen the country’s R&D capability,” Al-Mahmoudi told MEED at the sidelines of Siemens’ Digitalisation Roadshow held in Dubai on 3 May.

The executive said the UAS already offers the best engineering courses in the country, and that it will be working with other universities to develop courses that cater to the increased demand for digitalisation and innovation among enterprises in the UAE.

Al-Mahmoudi also cited that a strong public-private-education partnership is necessary in addressing future challenges in the country’s economy.