School:Abu Dhabi University

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Promoting student innovation and entrepreneurship

Abu Dhabi University offers a wide range of courses and extra-curricular activities to convey the idea of innovation and entrepreneurship to the students. The university has got around 30 courses that expose the students to the I&E ecosystem.

Various clubs such as the Entrepreneur club and Beta Sigma Gamma Honor Society have been significantly delivering the I&E concept on campus. Creative thinking workshops are held weekly by the innovation center, to welcome creative ideas from students of all majors.

The university also organizes various annual competitions such as ADU innovates, and contests to encourage innovative research. An approximate of over 200 proposals have been received. Also, the mandatory internship program helps the students develop critical organizational skills and an entrepreneurial mindset. 

 Actively supporting the university technology transfer function

Currently, Abu Dhabi University does not operate its own technology transfer office. The University is in its early phases of obtaining all necessary services to take potential projects further. However, all such requirements are being outsourced to reputable sources. Abu Dhabi University is taking its plan seriously and it has a lot of students who have the potential to make such projects successful.

Encouraging faculty innovation and entrepreneurship

Abu Dhabi University is still working on it, there are plans but nothing is implemented yet. The faculty is more encouraged to do researches and consultation.  There are contracts in place and some faculty is doing work outside of the university (for example through ADU KG, a sister organization/consultancy). Moreover, there is an assessment done by students to evaluate the professors’ performance, and there is a criterion in this evaluation which measures the innovative techniques used by the professors in the class and outside the class.  

Facilitating university-industry collaboration

On campus, the department of arts and science has developed spaces for innovation such as the chemistry and physics laboratories. The engineering department, on the other hand, has a regional partnership with a program called TechShop this is accessible to students of the same college.

Tawazun industrial park plays a crucial role in the economy with access only to industry personnel, but there may be scope for students’ partnership in the near future.

Gitex startup movement, Khalifa fund, and innovation 4 impact are considered sources of funding for entrepreneurs in the region. Innovation to impact is limited to digital entrepreneurs and companies. The government has also started the initiative and launched UAE innovates accessible to all residents of the UAE and a different program called as in5 is also open to students of all majors and entrepreneurs situated in the region. 

We have had the Chancellors innovation awards for 6 years already with hundreds of submissions from faculty, staff and students on improving ADU internal operations. 

ADU also ran Technopreneur innovation contest for 4 years with Khalifa Fund. This was a UAE level innovation contest for any UAE based entrepreneur.

Mentoring, guidance, and advises are accessible to students of all majors and different campuses. On-campus programs are known as ADU innovates, ADU idea drop, and the Research and Development Center. The main motivation for this is, that some of the applied research projects could actually become commercial products for startups. So after the prototype phase, the Innovation center could help them with go to market phase.

Engaging with regional and local economic development efforts

The main contribution from ADU is naturally talented graduates for the job market. ADU strives to develop student profiles that have the skills and attitudes needed for the future workplace, and for advancing the local economy. The regional economic development programs like in5 and UAE innovates is open to all whether applying through an institute or independently. ADU doesn’t have any official partnership with these programs, but if taken into consideration it may be possible. However, ADU innovation center and faculties inform students about contests and encourage them to apply.

Collaboration is already in place with TechShop but limited to students majoring in engineering. There are regular educational trips held that incorporate innovation as a result of successful companies. At ADU the Office of Research and Sponsored Programs plays a key role in helping students patent their ideas with Takamul program, and cover part of the patenting cost. They also inform and support research applications to national level competitions and sponsorship programs.