The UAE government is driving concerted efforts to achieve its goal to become one of the world’s 10 most innovative countries globally by 2021.

Apart from developing a National Innovation Strategy (NIS) 2021, which identified seven key priority sectors for innovation, the UAE government appointed UK’s Cambridge Judge Business School in 2015 to train 60 individuals to hold the position of an Innovation Chief Executive Officer (CEO) in every government department.

“These individuals are expected to lead and promote the creation of a culture of innovation in each agency,” Ayesha Habib al-Mutawa, chief innovation officer at the UAE’s Ministry of Health & Prevention, told the Frontiers of Innovation conference organised by MEED on 14 December.

Al-Mutawa said the Health Ministry, which is one of the seven priority sectors, has set out “strategic initiatives and projects” in line with the government’s national innovation strategy.

Al-Mutawa said a number of key pilot projects that were launched within the ministry’s innovation framework, which include establishing an innovation laboratory, remote intensive care, a pharmacy that utilises robotics technology, and the use of 3D printing technology. The ministry also won gold accreditation from IdeasUK, a global pioneer in the promotion of employee suggestions schemes.

The NIS 2021 priority sectors include education, transportation, water, technology, aerospace, renewable and clean energy, in addition to health.

The UAE ranked 41st of 128 countries in the 2016 edition of the Global Innovation Index, published annually by the US’ Johnson Cornell University, France’s Insead that the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO).

The index measures innovation input such as political and regulatory environment, education, infrastructure and investment, as well as output such as knowledge impact and diffusion and goods and services.