Tue 02-05-2017 20:10 PM

UAE Research Program for Rain Enhancement Science shortlists most promising proposals from its Third Cycle Submissions

ABU DHABI, 2nd May 2017 (WAM) – The UAE Research Program for Rain Enhancement Science has shortlisted 15 high-quality pre-proposals from the 201 submissions received for the Third Cycle of its grant award competition. Reflecting its growing international status as a leading platform in rain enhancement science, the Program has been able to call on the advice of a panel of noted experts from leading institutions around the world in order to select an impressive shortlist of innovative new ideas.

Launched by the Ministry of Presidential Affairs of the UAE in early 2015 and managed by the UAE National Centre of Meteorology and Seismology (NCMS), the UAE Research Program for Rain Enhancement Science has already attained a leading position in the common quest to address water security challenges through effective international cooperation aimed at advancing innovative scientific and technical research and innovation in the field of rain enhancement.

Dr Abdullah Al Mandoos, Director of NCMS, said: "The high number of pre-proposals we shortlisted confirms the UAE’s reputation as a focal point of international partnerships breaking new ground in the search for sustainable solutions to the water scarcity challenge. The careful evaluation process of the submissions received accords with the highest international scientific standards.

We remain deeply indebted to the strong and consistent support given by His Highness Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister of the UAE and Minister of Presidential Affairs, and by the continuous feedback of the Board of Trustees, in ensuring that the UAE plays a leading role in advancing the science of rain enhancement.

The shortlist was finalized following a month-long review process that culminated in the meeting of an international technical review committee in Abu Dhabi from 1-2 May to reach agreement on the final shortlist of successful applicants."

The selected pre-proposals were drawn from a very strong field consisting of 201 submissions, representing 710 scientists and researchers affiliated to 316 institutions across a truly global spread of 68 countries on five continents. The pre-proposals selected were scored based on three evaluation criteria: research excellence, impact and quality; experience and/or expertise of the proposers, and potential for success; and the potential to enhance or transform the UAE weather modification research community and industry.

Alya Al Mazroui, Manager of the UAE Research Program for Rain Enhancement Science, said: "We are grateful for the work of our dedicated international technical review committee in selecting such an impressive group of pre-proposals to proceed to the next round of evaluation and selection. The outstanding success of our Third Cycle so far confirms the reputation of our Program as a globally-recognized hub of excellence for rain enhancement research: we would like to invite other international reviewers to play their part in this exciting process."

The selected pre-proposals include a wide range to potential solutions to the principal challenges of ride rain enhancement science, including but not restricted to the search for new seeding agents, assessments of cloud formation patterns, new modelling processes, the efficiency of rain enhancement techniques, and the impact of aerosols on precipitation processes. The shortlisted teams have been invited to prepare and submit full research proposals before 17 August 2017.

Following the August deadline, an expert committee of international specialists will meet again in Abu Dhabi to review the full proposals and select the eventual awardees of the program grant. The recommendations of the committee will factor in the inputs of international reviewers spanning a wide range of expertise in the science and technology of rain enhancement.

The success of the campaign demonstrates the growing interest in this scientific and technical field thanks to the UAE’s leadership in this field. Offering a grant of 5 million US dollars over a three-year period to be shared by up to five winning research proposals, the Program has already generated extensive among leading scientists and technologists around the world. After the applications are evaluated through a two-stage merit review decision process, the final winners will be announced and honored at the Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week (ADSW) in January 2018.

The UAE Research Program for Rain Enhancement Science’s current awardees are already carrying out ground-breaking work on innovative algorithms, nanotechnology to accelerate water condensation and land cover modification to enhance precipitation. Further projects will commence this year on ice production processes in cumulus clouds, the role of atmospheric aerosols in precipitation enhancement, and the potential for modifying the electrical properties of clouds.

The significant growth in the number of applications this year further demonstrates the Program’s internationally-recognized importance as a global focal point for advanced research in the field. The results already achieved that could have a real impact on the global search for water security.

The success of the Program’s call for submissions confirms the status of Abu Dhabi and the UAE as a pioneer in this scientific field. By serving as a hub for an internationally recognized research network, the UAE Research Program for Rain Enhancement Science is moving from strength to strength in facilitate active knowledge transfers needed to ensure sustainable development and economic growth in those regions of the world vulnerable to aridity and water shortages.

WAM/bashir