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Advanced Technology Research Council awards AED40 mn in competitive research funding to 53 R & D projects across eight key sectors

ABU DHABI, 30th November, 2021 (WAM) — Abu Dhabi’s Advanced Technology Research Council (ATRC), the overarching entity mandated to shape Abu Dhabi’s R & D strategy and its advanced technology ecosystem and drive the UAE’s strategic research priorities, today announced that it has awarded AED40 million in research funding to 53 successful R & D projects across eight key sectors in 2021.

Managed by ASPIRE, ATRC’s technology programme management pillar – through its two programmes – ASPIRE Award for Research Excellence (AARE) and ASPIRE Young Investigator Award (AYIA) – the grant funding is being allocated to entities in the Aerospace, Education and Social Sciences, Energy, Environment, Food and Agriculture, Health, ICT and Manufacturing sectors.

Speaking on the funding, Faisal Al Bannai, Secretary General of ATRC, said: "As a core foundational priority for the Council, we are delighted to play our part in collaboration with the country’s higher education institutions, in incubating research projects that will contribute to the greater good and encourage sustainable progress in Abu Dhabi, the UAE and beyond. ATRC congratulates the winners and commends all the participants for the exceptionally high standard of entries to the ASPIRE programmes this year."

Dr. Arthur Morrish, CEO of ASPIRE, said: "ASPIRE will manage the distribution of the grants to our two key research-enabling programmes that aim to foster a healthy spirit of competition and bring to the forefront the most worthwhile and cutting-edge projects. Such projects can now transition seamlessly from concept to completion and lab to market without interruption to ensure transformative global impact."

The grant awardees were picked from 370 proposals across the two programmes. AARE and AYIA are ongoing initiatives run by ASPIRE to boost synergies with research communities, accelerate the growth of the Abu Dhabi research and development ecosystem and position the emirate as an innovation hub.

An international pool of peer reviewers from leading research institutions around the world whittled down the sizeable number of initial proposals based on criteria such as research quality and originality, feasibility of the proposal, relevance to strategic sectors in Abu Dhabi, qualifications of applicants, potential impact on the sector and human capital development. In addition, due weightage was accorded to entries that demonstrated collaboration with industry, as well as inter-institutional and STEM education engagement.

The AARE grant was open to all full-time faculty in Higher Education Institutes geographically located within the emirate of Abu Dhabi and is growing from strength to strength.

Meanwhile, the AYIA programme funding totalling AED1 million is allocated to six outstanding research proposals in targeted thematic areas. The competitive funding programme was open to young researchers in Abu Dhabi who are within six years of obtaining their terminal degree (PhD or equivalent).

Research funded by the two programmes is anticipated to advance scientific and technological development within Abu Dhabi, as well as foster meaningful partnerships between scientists in Abu Dhabi and leading academic and industrial stakeholders at a national and global level.

Following its launch in November 2020, ASPIRE, ATRC’s technology programme management pillar, continues to nurture the research ecosystem through its corporate R & D programmes and frames grand competitions that contribute to advancing innovation and solving Abu Dhabi’s unique challenges as well as supporting the development of new technologies.

ASPIRE is a key partner of "XPRIZE Feed the Next Billion" Competition, funded by Ghadan 21, Abu Dhabi's accelerator programme.

The US$15 million competition aims to find alternative protein solutions to end global hunger and strengthen food security. More recently, ASPIRE has announced that it will host the upcoming edition of the US$3 million MBZIRC Maritime Grand Challenge that aims to find real-time solutions to maritime safety and security challenges.

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Almarai signs multiple agreements to localize jobs through training and recruitment programs

Almarai signed a cooperation memorandum with the Food Industries Polytechnic, the
Transport General Authority, and the Saudi Logistics Academy to localize jobs in the
food and beverages sector through training and rehabilitation programs ending in
employment. This came within the first international conference on the labor market,
organized by the Ministry of Human Resources and Social Development on 13 – 14
December 2023 at the King Abdulaziz Convention Center in Riyadh.

‘These agreements are part of Almarai’s corporate program for the social responsibility
to achieve localization in the food industry sector, which is one of the top priorities of the
comprehensive strategic plans in Almarai, especially since the company is one of the
largest working environments in the kingdom, with more than 9,000 Saudi employees,
including more than 900 Saudi female employees.”Fahad Aldrees, Chief Human
Resources Officer of Almarai, said.

He added that the agreements signed to train and qualify young people are part of the
integrated initiatives and training and rehabilitation programs for national human
resources in Almarai. He pointed out that the company provided about half a million
employee training hours during 2022, raising its retention rate to 90% during 2022.

It is worth mentioning that Almarai is the world’s largest vertically integrated dairy
company, and the largest food and beverage producer and distributor in the Middle
East. Almarai was ranked among LinkedIn’s top 15 Saudi companies for professional
career development for 2022.

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SEBA Bank rebrands to AMINA Bank and continues to write its success story

a fully licensed Swiss crypto bank, announced today its new brand identity: AMINA Bank AG. The group operates
globally from its regulated hubs in Zug, Abu Dhabi and Hong Kong, offering its clients traditional and crypto banking services.
SEBA Bank made history in 2019 by becoming one of the first FINMA-regulated institutions to provide crypto banking services. This rebrand marks a new chapter for the company, which has proudly been in operation for more than four years. AMINA Bank is inspired by the same trailblazing ambition to lead the way for its clients and to write its own future as a Swiss-
regulated crypto bank offering services to its traditional and crypto savvy clients around the globe. The name ‘AMINA’ stems from the term ‘transAMINAtion’, meaning transference of one compound to another. AMINA is a brand driven by perpetual change, bringing together the various ‘compounds’ of traditional, digital, and crypto banking to unlock new potential and
growth for our clients. This vision of change represents the transformation of our clients’ financial future. Franz Bergmueller, CEO of AMINA, said: “We are delighted to introduce the world to our new brand identity. While we say goodbye to the SEBA name, we remain forever proud of the achievements made by the group under the former brand. “Our brand signifies a new era in the company’s growth and strategy; we are a key player in crypto banking and are here to define the future of finance. With our client-focused approach, our years of traversing traditional and crypto finance, we offer a platform for investors to build
wealth safely and under the highest regulatory standards.” “We are grateful to be encouraged by our supportive and committed investors who have been very helpful, supporting the growth of the company. We thank our employees in all the regions
for their dedication and client focus. As we look forward to 2024, our ambition is to accelerate the growth of our strategic hubs in Switzerland, Hong Kong, and Abu Dhabi, and to continue our global expansion, building on all the successes we have laid down over the past years.” Current clients of AMINA Bank (formerly SEBA Bank) will be unaffected by the rebrand other than encountering the new name; all operations will be business as usual across the board. The branch office based in Abu Dhabi and the subsidiaries in Hong Kong and Singapore will subsequently apply for a name change to align with the head office in Zug.

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Uptime Appoints Mustapha Louni Chief Business Officer

Uptime Institute is pleased to announce the appointment of Mustapha Louni to the position of Chief Business Officer, a role specifically created to drive strategic leadership and client success. In this new role, Mr. Louni will assume responsibility for the global Uptime sales and marketing organizations and drive overall business value for all Uptime clients. He will retain his existing responsibilities overseeing operations in the Middle East, India, Africa, and the Asia Pacific regions. In this elevated capacity, Mr. Louni is poised to play a pivotal role in driving Uptime’s next phase of global expansion through strategic initiatives to enhance market awareness of the dramatically expanding global service lines and delivery capabilities of Uptime that uniquely support the global data center industry in its pursuit of ever higher performance through elevated availability, resiliency, sustainability, and cyber-security of digital infrastructure. Louni’s appointment renews and expands Uptime

Institute 39;s 30-year commitment to advancing excellence in the data center sector on a global scale. “Today we are experiencing the next phase of the one-time, planetary transformation from analog to digital. This unprecedented, once-in-a-generation growth in data center demand is primarily driven by continuing cloud adoption, the new promise of AI, and the demonstrable fact
that hybrid digital infrastructure is here to stay for the foreseeable future,” said Martin McCarthy, CEO, Uptime Institute. “These complex and nuanced market demands require a visionary talent like Mustapha Louni. He is someone who cannot only deftly manage specific aspects of the business but also remain ahead of accelerating changes and trends. He continues to earn client
trust and respect by timely delivery on demanding commitments while he also inspires and energizes colleagues and clients alike. I am delighted to announce Mr. Louni’s new position and know that he will continue to expand the impact that he has already brought to Uptime since his arrival.” In 2014, Mr. Louni joined the Uptime organization in the United Arab Emirates, leveraging his extensive experience from roles at Panduit and Schneider Electric in Paris and Dubai. As the company’s first commercial resource in the Middle East and Africa region, Mr. Louni played a pivotal role in expanding Uptime’s presence. Within a year, he successfully established what became and remains Uptime’s fastest growing regional office. Under his leadership, Uptime has
extended his impressive trajectory of growth in MEA to the Asia-Pacific regions, augmenting the Uptime workforce with dedicated team members spanning more than a dozen countries across these regions. A new Uptime office has been inaugurated in Riyadh, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) this year, further fortifying the company’s ability to meet its commitment to sustained
growth and excellence and serve clients in critical, accelerating markets for digital infrastructure.

Uptime Institute began development of its proprietary and now globally recognized Tier Standards and its Tier Certifications 30 years ago to ensure that the mission critical computing needs of all organizations could be met with confidence and understood by executive management. Since that time, Uptime Tier Certification as well as other Uptime offerings including assessments and awards in digital infrastructure for ensuring business performance in areas of management and operations, risk and resilience, sustainability, and more recently cyber- security have gained global adoption. Uptime’s expanding success is based on delivering a
unique business service that is based upon unparalleled engineering excellence and technical mastery, while remaining vendor independent and technology agnostic.

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