Mideast's first telecom research centre launched
Dubai, October 7, 2008
Etisalat, BT and Khalifa University of Science, Technology and Research (Kustar) have entered into a landmark contract to create the Middle East's first international centre for telecommunications research and innovation, based in the United Arab Emirates.
The centre - Etisalat BT Innovation Centre (EBTIC) - is expected to open in the first quarter of 2009.
Sheikh Hamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Chief of Abu Dhabi Crown Prince's Court and Vice Chairman of Kustar's Board of Trustees, underscored the role of universities in turning the UAE into a regional hub for research and innovation.
He called for forging partnerships on research among universities and bodies of the public and private sectors of the countries besides cooperation with the world's prestigious universities and institutes to create a successful academic environment for research and creativity.
The EBTIC is a jointly-funded research and innovation laboratory, and will be hosted by Kustar in its Abu Dhabi campus, with management and research staff provided by BT, Etisalat and Kustar.
The EBTIC will work with the participating partners to develop and exploit Intellectual Property Rights (IPR), foster and train local talent, and serve as a hub for international collaboration and higher educational programmes. The EBTIC will also attract talent from across the world to the UAE and aim to build a regional innovation network hub.
The centre is expected to grow to employ around one hundred scientists, focusing on research into Next Generation Networks, systems and services. Through collaboration with industry, universities and governmental organisations, EBTIC is expected to become a driving force for innovation in the field of Information and Communications Technology, both within the Middle East region and beyond.
Kustar will fund the EBTIC and provide researchers, accommodation and computing and network infrastructure as well as administrative support.
Dr Mugheer Al Khaili, director general of the Abu Dhabi Education Council and member of Kustar's Board of Trustees said: "As a research-driven university, one of Kustar's goals is to conduct globally competitive and relevant research. Our partnership with two international industrial partners to establish EBTIC is a step towards achieving this goal and is part of our research strategy that emphasises the value of collaborative and applied research.
"The EBTIC will build on the strengths of the university's ICT research, and at the same time will enhance, influence and inform the university's research and teaching.
“Hosting the centre at Khalifa University will encourage our graduates to continue their careers in research while completing their higher studies at the university”
Etisalat’s role will also be to fund the EBTIC and recruit the researchers with the exception of the staff that are seconded to EBTIC by BT and/or Kustar.
"The UAE is well-known for innovation as well as its rapid acceptance of new technology. This has helped it to become a true hub for business, tourism and trade. With the introduction of EBTIC, we are also supporting the rise of the UAE as a hub for research in the field of telecommunications," said Mohammad Hassan Omran, chairman of Etisalat.
"This is a key moment for both the telecommunications and knowledge industries in the region and we are proud to be working with committed partners to help further the ICT and research sector."
BT's role will be to provide the centre management and research staff providing research and innovation management and exploitation expertise.
Sir Michael Rake, chairman, BT Group, said: "The establishment of this centre represents a real and lasting sign of BT's commitment to the region, and a valuable means to expand the richness and diversity of our global innovation strategy.
"BT is delighted to partner with Etisalat and Khalifa University in