Dubai raises innovation stakes

Room for improvement as R&D investments are still lagging behind
The recent test of a driverless car in Dubai is one of a number of new innovations seen in the city.
The recent test of a driverless car in Dubai is one of a number of new innovations seen in the city.


Dubai has improved its ranking to claim 15th place globally on the second edition of the Dubai Innovation Index, which was released by the Dubai Chamber of Commerce and Industry on the sidelines of the UAE Innovation Week.

The survey, launched by the Chamber, which plans to invest AED100 million on innovation-focused projects over the next three years, in cooperation with PricewaterhouseCoopers (PWC), analysed 28 top global innovation cities.

This year, the emirate moved up one position and outperformed business hubs such as Madrid, Milan, Shanghai, and Moscow.
New York secured the top position in the index, while London fell to fourth place after placing first last year. European cities ranked higher in general due to an increase in investments on skills and talent, while GCC cities scored high marks in the political, economic and social indicators category, a statement said.

The Dubai Innovation Index, one of the leading pillars of the Chamber’s innovation strategy, highlighted the Dubai government’s ongoing efforts in spearheading innovation initiatives in the emirate, the private sector’s significant contribution, and increased public-private sector collaboration, it added.

The Index showed that Dubai’s private sector has started embracing innovation as companies become more proactive about implementing new ideas. Business have also recognised the importance of finding and retaining the best talent required to drive innovation, it said.

Hamad Buamim, president and CEO, Dubai Chamber, said that the Innovation Index results "clearly indicate" the Dubai government’s efforts in laying down a strong foundation to drive innovation on a city-wide level are taking effect.

But he added that there remain some areas where Dubai can improve, including investing in research and development, developing employees’ skillsets, and raising information technology awareness.

In addition, there is still a need for businesses to adopt long-term innovation strategies that support the sustainable development of the emirate’s economy rather than their own institutional objectives.
Buamim said: "The Index has succeeded in identifying areas where we need to improve upon in order to boost our competiveness. By embracing innovative strategies and practices, the private sector can contribute greatly to Dubai’s vision to become one of the world’s most innovative cities by 2021.”

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