Khalifa bin Zayed issues law establishing Advanced Technology Research Council


UAE President His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, in his capacity as the Ruler of Abu Dhabi, has issued Law No. 14 for 2020, to establish the Advanced Technology Research Council (“ATRC”).

The law stipulates that ATRC is an independent legal entity with full legal capacity to practice its activities and is affiliated to the Abu Dhabi Executive Council.

With the objective of expanding the breadth and depth of an already thriving R&D ecosystem, ATRC has been established to strengthen Abu Dhabi’s position as a world-leading, dynamic hub for research and development. Bringing together cross-disciplinary leaders in research and technology, the new Council will cultivate a collaborative research community, accelerate innovation and discovery and foster a culture of inquiry.

ATRC will oversee all R&D activity in the emirate, assimilating and therefore replacing the Abu Dhabi Research and Development Authority.

As per the new law, ATRC will be responsible for proposing general policies, strategic plans and initiatives related to research and development (“R&D”) in the field of advanced technology as well as setting R&D priorities in the emirate in a manner consistent with the Government’s directives and aspirations. ATRC will also be responsible for setting controls and standards necessary to approve, support, finance and undertake R&D contracts and reporting on these to the Executive Council for approval.

The scope of advanced technology R&D was defined to include R&D activities in all fields and specialties, including engineering, communications, artificial intelligence (AI), robotics, space, alternative energy, renewables, and the environmental, chemical, petrochemical, food, pharmaceutical and construction industries as well as other industries and disciplines, that seek to solve practical problems while achieving commercial purposes and resulting in inventions, products, services or technologies. These activities also include non-commercial academic R&D activities.

The Council’s duties also include preparing plans and programmes, including financing programmes, that aim to expand R&D capabilities in advanced technology according to approved controls, managing and implementing R&D programmes, as well as launching, adopting and supervising R&D initiatives funded by the government.

The Decree also stipulates that ATRC is responsible for reviewing and disbursing R&D grant requests by academic intuitions and individuals in accordance with approved controls and standards, establishing or investing in companies including laboratories and incubators, attracting or accepting investments for R&D purposes, and investing in advanced technologies. In addition, ATRC is responsible for establishing and developing R&D partnerships with local and international financing institutions, exchanging expertise to secure financing and develop R&D in advanced technologies, and entering into contracts and memorandum of understanding agreements with local and international scientific and research institutions, as well as implementing strategies related to investment and commercial activities and intellectual property resulting from research undertaken or contributed to by the Council.

Furthermore, the Law states that ATRC will be run and managed by a board appointed by the Chairman of the Abu Dhabi Executive Council.