The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has recently launched a dedicated space academy aimed at fostering the next generation of Emirati talent in the burgeoning space sector. This initiative, discussed by Sarah Al Amiri, Minister of State for Public Education and Advanced Technology and chairwoman of the UAE Space Agency, underscores the nation’s commitment to advancing in the high-tech industry.
The academy is designed to enhance the capabilities and capacities of young Emiratis, preparing them for new development areas within the space sector. This effort reflects the UAE’s strategic focus on integrating youth in their ambitious space exploration and technology programs, ensuring continuous engagement and nurturing of young talent.
“We use the space academy to build up [young people’s] capabilities and capacities from the start and when we start placing them into new areas of development, you also need to ensure you’re continuously engaging with the youth program,” said Al Amiri in an exclusive interview with The National at the Dubai Airshow this week.
Creating opportunities in the private sector is crucial for the agency too.
“We always look at opportunities being created in the private sector — just by increasing the amount of companies in the private sector, you’re able to create new jobs,” said Al Amiri.
Asteroid Belt Mission
The first batch of 51 students attended workshops in January, with training set for next year’s first quarter. Subsequent phases involved 26 and 13 students, respectively. Graduates then completed a three-month space mission training, covering various aspects of space missions. Al Amiri noted that the fund would support key space projects, including an asteroid belt mission and climate-monitoring satellites.
“We deliver on programs through the space fund but you will start seeing companies being spun out, along with furthering the UAE space capabilities in terms of technologies and identifying which technologies we would effectively buy versus develop,” she said. “This is through a science technology road map that is governed through a research, development and commercialization agenda.”
The UAE established a space-focused economic zone to attract startups and established firms, with 14 organizations already involved. The space academy aims to cultivate entrepreneurs to increase job opportunities in the sector.
Uptake of Youth
“In terms of what the space sector does, having an aspirational space program creates an amazing ripple effect in terms of interest in opening up new opportunities for youth,” said Al Amiri. “In most of our programs, we ensure that we continuously have an uptake of youth because you don’t want a space industry that ages out.
The UAE’s dedicated space academy, led by Al Amiri, is a testament to the nation’s commitment to nurturing young Emirati talent and advancing in the high-tech space industry. By focusing on building the capabilities and capacities of its youth, the UAE aims to integrate them into ambitious space exploration and technology programs, fostering a new generation of entrepreneurs and innovators. This effort, combined with the creation of a space-focused economic zone and support for significant space projects, demonstrates the UAE’s strategic dedication to expanding and sustaining its growing space sector.
Featured image: Sarah Al Amiri. Credit: Sarah Al Amiri’s LinkedIn