Abu Dhabi's Department of Economic Development to support start-ups at RDPETRO

Development funding with multi-million-dollar potential will be available for the most innovative ideas and value-add R&D projects at RDPETRO.

Qasem Al Kayoumi, RDPETRO chairman, and head of ADNOCs Technical Centre.
Qasem Al Kayoumi, RDPETRO chairman, and head of ADNOCs Technical Centre.

Abu Dhabi’s Department of Economic Development (DED) has announced support for the Start-up Hub at RDPETRO, the largest oil and gas conference in the world fully dedicated to research and development, to be held during 9-10 May 2018 in Abu Dhabi.

This is especially significant as 2018’s conference will have a particular focus on tech start-ups, which will play a pivotal role in bringing new perspectives to RDPETRO, which presents a unique platform and business growth opportunities for these innovative organisations to show the potential of their projects, products and research and compete for investment.

In addition to providing a monetary award to the best start-ups, DED has also offered their full support to start-ups looking to set up in the capital, including facilitating the filing of patents.

Commenting on this new partnership, Salem Abdalla M Bin Shabib, advisor of innovation, incubation and SME at DED, said: “DED launched the Technology Innovation Pioneers ‘TIP’ platform last year operated by Takamul programme with the aim to create a more robust ecosystem for innovation and technology in the UAE, presenting real industry challenges and reaching out world-wide for innovative technological solutions, bringing them to the UAE and providing the ecosystem to encourage the growth of start-ups and SMEs that would be home-grown.”

This news was shared at a closed-door roundtable held recently, where the panelists included RDPETRO chairman Qasem Al Kayoumi, who is also head of ADNOC’s Technical Centre. Citing technological innovation and R&D investment as key enablers to ADNOC’s 2030 Smart Growth Strategy to creating a more profitable upstream, a more valuable downstream, and a more sustainable and economic gas supply, Al Kayoumi underscored the importance of RDPETRO.

“RDPETRO is rooted in our collective, specific challenges, and focused on finding effective solutions from R&D and innovation in tech, in academia, in any industry – wherever they may come from, provided they can show the value of their ideas,” Al Kayoumi said.

“This unique event will bring together the best and brightest minds, inside and outside our industry, to Abu Dhabi to offer new perspectives and tackle industry challenges by thinking differently and offer innovators access to end-users with the potential to tap into multi-million-dollar development funds,” added Al Kayoumi.

Announcing the support of the DED, Tiago Hipolito, ADNOC’s advisor for R&D planning and policies, added that this endorsement was invaluable for an event that is aiming to be different, disruptive and innovative. “What we are trying to achieve here is a complete ecosystem, a platform to bring solutions designed to solving industry technical challenges from the brightest minds in academia to industry,” Hipolito said.

“As the world’s first ‘R&D co-funding’ public event for the oil and gas industry, enabling a multi-million-dollar fund to develop R&D projects, we are looking to harness creative and entrepreneurial talent and reward cutting-edge innovation. For the government to support RDPETRO is a matter of great prestige for us,” Hipolito added.

Faisal Al Hmoudi, director of innovation and incubation, and head of Takamul programme, DED, said: “Partnering with RDPETRO is a natural step for us. The Takamul programme provides unique and dedicated support to the life-cycle of technological innovation, from ideas right through to application, by facilitating the creation, commercialisation, as well as patent support and protection of the intellectual property, with the aim to encourage and nurture more innovation star-ups in the UAE to further support a sustainable knowledge-based economy.”

The roundtable panel also included three RDPETRO steering committee members – Khadija Al Daghar, ADNOC’s R&D manager, Dr Steve Griffiths, senior vice president of research at Khalifa University and also programme co-chair of this year’s RDPETRO technical committee, and Professor Karl Rose, senior strategy advisor at ADNOC, and RDPETRO Steering Committee member.

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