Outstanding scientific achievement is helping academics on the path to UAE citizenship

Residents receive permanent residency visas at a special ceremony in Abu Dhabi in 2019 attended by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid

Academics granted long-term residency two years ago say the sense of security has immensely benefited their work.

Expatriate professors, who work at universities across the UAE, said they never expected the years they spent hunched inside laboratories, conducting exhaustive research, would see them hand-picked for the 10-year golden visa.

citizenship programme announced by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, Vice President and Ruler of Dubai, in January has triggered renewed excitement in university circles.

The initiative seeks to grant Emirati citizenship to «talented and innovative» people and, for the first time, allows non-Emiratis to retain their original citizenship.

Senior academics said a shot at citizenship would strengthen contributions to the country’s grand scientific vision and encourage involvement in policy initiatives.

The National spoke to three professors, who were among the first group of 20 selected for permanent visas in 2019. They said the residency visas changed their lives and allowed them to contribute to the country they call home.

The golden visa scheme recognised the exceptional work of expatriates.

Engrossed in cancer research, water desalination and nutrition projects, the professors aim to place the Emirates on the global map in scientific research.

The professor finding better ways to desalinate seawater

Predicting the next big thing the goal for Hassan Arafat, a professor of chemical engineering at Abu Dhabi’s Khalifa University.

“People in academia are able to foresee what the next generation would be interested in or the next big thing that has potential,” said Prof Arafat, director of the university’s Centre for Membrane and Advanced Water Technology.

“Grand challenges require grand ideas that require longer time to work on and integrated efforts.”

The Jordanian, 47, wants to break the silos that academics work in to build a seamless connection between science and industry.

His research focuses on providing affordable and environmentally friendly desalination solutions.

Prof Arafat is working with researchers to design nanomaterials that reduce the amount of energy and chemicals used in the process.

Input from academics can help government departments better navigate the intricacies of scientific policy, technology transfer and intellectual property laws, he said.

Prof Hassan Arafat is a director of the Centre for Membrane and Advanced Water Technology at Khalifa University in Abu Dhabi. The professor of chemical engineering was among a select few academics awarded long-term residency in the UAE. Here, Prof Arafat is in the laboratory where his research work involves using nanomaterials in the desalination process with the goal of making it cheaper and environmentally friendly. Courtesy: Prof Hassan Arafat
Prof Hassan Arafat is director of the Centre for Membrane and Advanced Water Technology at Khalifa University in Abu Dhabi. Courtesy: Prof Hassan Arafat

He sees permanent residency as a clear signal to “work on something that would be a major development”.

Read more at: http://thenationalnews.com/uae/government/uae-golden-visas-the-expat-professors-granted-long-term-residency-1.1184927

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La ACIEAU es una plataforma de networking profesional de científicos e investigadores españoles que trabajan en los Emiratos Árabes Unidos. Cuenta con más de 60 miembros, incluidos destacados científicos, investigadores y expertos en una amplia gama de áreas de conocimiento: desde Ingeniería, Medio Ambiente, Salud, Veterinaria y Biología, hasta Ciencias Sociales e Inteligencia Artificial. Su propósito es difundir los logros científicos y tecnológicos de los investigadores españoles en los Emiratos Árabes Unidos.