Sep. 8, 2021


Hussain Mohamed Al Mahmoudi

UAE

Hussain Mohamed Al Mahmoudi

CEO, Sharjah Research Technology and Innovation Park (SRTI Park)

“The lab will act as a platform for entrepreneurs in education and for companies to co-create, co-design, and co-manufacture.”

BIO

Hussain Mohamed Al Mahmoudi is the CEO of Sharjah Research Technology and Innovation Park (SRTI Park). He's also the CEO of the American University of Sharjah Enterprises. Previously, he was the director general of the Sharjah Chamber of Commerce & Industry.


How did SRTI Park display resiliency over this period?

Our projects did extremely well during the pandemic because most companies and institutions found innovation as a way to manage and mitigate their crises. As the leading platform for innovation, research, and technology transfer it allowed us to provide solutions to these companies and help them mitigate their risks, sustain their businesses, and create new opportunities. For example, there is a shift towards a more efficient and sustainable ways of producing food such as hydroponics and aquaponics, which fits in well with the food supply security agenda. Moreover, Sharjah RTI Park is one of the leading entities in this particular field with projects such as Merlin and Veggie Tech. Another great example, now in the additive manufacturing world, the park is pioneering 3D printing with a wide range of materials such as metal, plastic and concrete (Housing functionalities too). Those struggling with normal construction methods have created a type of construction technology that can cater to construction demand, is cheaper, and more sustainable. The same applies to transport and logistics. The park mandate is innovation and technology transfer. There are many institutions with venture designing, company designing, and company building as well.

How is SRTI Park engaging with the theme of sustainability?

Sustainability is a key pillar of our work, and most of our projects include sustainability in their activities. For example, by introducing hydroponics, aquaponics, and vertical farming into agriculture, we create food sustainability by reducing the water consumption up to 90% versus traditional farming. A project like the skyway, for example, provides sustainability because it uses less energy and land and is much more cost efficient. We also had a project of 3D housing wherein we printed using technology from sustainable elements. These are some of the examples of the type things we do in food, transport, and project design using robotics and AI to support sustainability. Another example is helping companies develop their operations. In light of the challenges presented by the pandemic, we printed face masks in collaboration with these companies, so they would have a profitable product to sell. We printed 4.5 million masks that not only generated revenue, but also support the UAE to tackle the recent pandemic. We are also working with Sharjah Civil Defense to create more effective hoses by using modelling technologies available in SoiLab - Sharjah's fist Open Innovation Lab at the Sharjah Science, Research, Technology and Innovation (SRTI) Park. The lab with strengthen the positioning of the Emirate of Sharjah at the competitive forefront of technological development.

What are some of the cutting-edge projects that employ the latest digital tools?

At the park, we have one of the biggest manufacturing laboratories, where we 3D print metal for oil and gas and other industries. We also digitalize manufacturing industries here. In the current transition to the 4th Industrial revolution, companies are shifting towards online operations and becoming more digital overall. One great example of this is the innovation work we are currently doing with Intel and SoiLab in creating new online educational platforms that will provide young Emiratis with the skill sets needed for the future society.

How does the Sharjah Open Innovation Lab play a part of the strategic goals of the university?

The lab will act as a platform for entrepreneurs in education and for companies to co-create, co-design, and co-manufacture. The lab includes a digital lab, textile, and manufacturing. We provide solutions to support the development of initiatives to advance manufacturing and promote smart manufacturing. We support entrepreneurs and SMEs using machineries that allow them to co-create and co-develop their products.

What role is SRTI Park playing in this national vision?

We provide cutting-edge technologies for companies to use. Second, we are launching different programs, for example, the Sharjah Advanced Industry Accelerator, to attract companies to Sharjah, especially those focused on advanced industries. We also have the angel network, which facilitates investment in these companies. We work with universities on specific research related to industry, like exoskeleton technology, innovative concrete, and others. Our major aim is to provide an environment conducive to creativity and innovation by creating an attractive and sustainable park with world-class infrastructure and services. Our main focus is to develop innovative systems in order to enhance the status of Emirates as a global destination in the areas of research promotion and technology advancement.

What are your goals and expectations for this coming year?

The main highlight that I would like to add here is that there four basic aims behind the development of the Park, including promoting an innovative ecosystem, generating employment, effectively catalyzing the knowledge economy, and investing in the future. Similarly, our major focus is to manage as well as design an innovation ecosystem within a free zone that promotes Research and Development and supports enterprise activities and the triple helix collaboration of industry, government, and academia. In this manner, we only aim to continue operations extensively in its efforts to attract and host knowledge-intensive businesses. As said earlier about thematic view, the SRTIP aims to create significant employment opportunities for the people through which offer potential sustainability. We are aggressive about investing in the future, and this project aims to unlock the knowledge and resources of the region's research-based educational institutions and link them to the private and public sectors to produce solutions that answer to market needs. By providing R&D and innovation infrastructure, SRTI Park will strengthen and promote industry university linkages and entrepreneurship; paving the way towards a knowledge economy.

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