RAK: A Rising Leader in Research and Development

The recent economic turmoil in most parts of the world has forced a shift in focus and a change of investment strategy among industrialized countries. Knowledge and innovation have moved to the forefront of important policy decisions in nations that see their future economic growth depending on more than just the existence of natural resources within their borders.

Leading Research and Development Initiatives

The United States and Germany each invest 2.6 percent of their gross domestic product in research and development. The United Arab Emirates (UAE), in comparison, invested just 0.01 percent. However, the emirate of Ras Al Khaimah, without the abundance of oil and gas resources of some of the other members of the UAE, has embraced research and development as fundamental to its future growth and development.

The Sheikh Saud Bin Saqr Al Qasimi Foundation for Policy Research opened in 2009 to improve economic and social development in Ras Al Khaimah. Named by the University of Pennsylvania as one of the premier think tanks in the world, the Al Qasimi Foundation attracts doctoral students and faculty members from leading universities in North America, Europe and Australia by offering research grants, housing and stipends. This approach has brought a knowledge base from overseas from which local researchers in Ras Al Khaimah can also benefit and build upon.

Knowledge-Based Programs

As part of its mission to develop policy initiatives in education in Ras Al Khaimah, the Al Qasimi Foundation sponsors the Gulf Comparative Education Society and other activities designed to foster professional and educational collaboration in the region. An example of this collaborative endeavor is the Ras Al Khaimah Teacher’s Network created by the Foundation.

The Teacher’s Network enables educators in Ras Al Khaimah to connect with other educators throughout the region and world, from Minnesota to London. Established as a social network, teachers can share ideas, resources and information with each other. The network allows RAK teachers and educators to expand their knowledge base through social connections with their counterparts wherever they happen to be.

The annual RAK Education Policy Forum Series, held in collaboration with Middlesex University, encourages debate and discussion of policy issues and general concerns in the education community. The program attracts educators and academics from all sectors of the education community.

Using Research for Policy Development

Universities in the UAE can be proud of their success in focusing on academic instruction with few of them developing research activities. His Highness Sheikh Saud Bin Saqr Al Qasimi saw a need for more research-oriented activities in the institutions of higher learning in the UAE and specifically in Ras Al Khaimah.

From the beginning, His Highness envisioned the Al Qasimi Foundation as the catalyst for the collaboration between world-class universities and partners in the private and government sectors. The Foundation facilitates these entities engaging in research and development that lead to policy changes and solutions in urban planning, public health, economics and the environment in Ras Al Khaimah and the UAE.

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