Bringing science and development together through original news and analysis

  • UAE plans US$400 million 'biotechnology park' in Dubai

According to pan-Arab newspaper Asharq Al-Awsat, DuBiotech, which was launched on 1 February, will include two main initiatives: an 'industrial cluster' and a Foundation for Research and Innovation.

It will also house other companies offering support services such as venture capital, legal services, and training tailored to the biotechnology sector.

The Foundation for Research and Innovation will channel government funding into research and development in fields such as medical genetics and stem cell research, crop biotechnology and pharmaceutical research.

It will also act as a business incubator, providing funds and support to help commercialise promising innovations.

DuBiotech will also have a strong social focus, says its executive director, Abdulqader Al-Khayat. It will collaborate on research with universities, medical research institutions and non-governmental organisations in the United Arab Emirates and the wider Gulf region, and promote the use biotechnology to bring social, economic and environmental benefits.

Construction at the three square kilometre DuBiotech site will begin in the second half of 2005, and companies should be able to move into operational premises by the second quarter of 2006.

The DuBiotech project is the latest in a series of initiatives aimed at accelerating the development of knowledge-based economies throughout the Gulf region. Work is underway in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, on a 'biocity', and Qatar's science and technology park is due to be completed at the end of this year.

Together, these initiatives will help produce a new generation of biotechnologists and entrepreneurs who will promote the commercial development of biotechnology in the Middle East, says Faisal Taha, director of technical programmes at Dubai's International Center for Biosaline Agriculture (ICBA).

"It is time that the region gets its share of the biotechnology market," Taha says.

Mohammad Al-Attar, ICBA's director-general, told SciDev.Net that DuBiotech was a milestone and that the United Arab Emirates model for creating a diversified knowledge-based economy was something other countries in the region could learn from.

Republish
We encourage you to republish this article online and in print, it’s free under our creative commons attribution license, but please follow some simple guidelines:
  1. You have to credit our authors.
  2. You have to credit SciDev.Net — where possible include our logo with a link back to the original article.
  3. You can simply run the first few lines of the article and then add: “Read the full article on SciDev.Net” containing a link back to the original article.
  4. If you want to also take images published in this story you will need to confirm with the original source if you're licensed to use them.
  5. The easiest way to get the article on your site is to embed the code below.
For more information view our media page and republishing guidelines.