The UAE Space Agency and the Higher Colleges of Technology have formed an alliance to create opportunities for UAE Nationals to enter the space sector, when Dr Mohammed Nasser Al Ahbabi, Director of the UAE Space Agency, and Dr Abdullatif Al Shamsi, Vice Chancellor of HCT, recently signed a five-year Memorandum of Understanding.
The MoU aims to ensure cooperation between the parties in developing human resources and attracting Nationals for employment in the UAE space sector by offering scholarships and academic programmes; establishing advanced labs for space programmes and satellite systems; and providing internships opportunities for students.
The MoU was signed in Abu Dhabi in the presence of HE Mohammad Omran Al Shamsi, Chancellor of the Higher Colleges of Technology, and H.E Khalifa Mohammed Al Rumaithi, Chairman of the Board of UAE Space Agency.
Dr. Abdullatif Al Shamsi expressed his pride in this cooperation which represents an added value for HCT, as it constantly seeks to offer new programmes and initiatives in line with UAE Vision 2021.
He added that it is imperative to prepare UAE youth to move forward in the world and to reach space by equipping them with advanced skills in technology, sciences and other subjects.
He affirmed that the step taken by the UAE leadership to explore space with other advanced nations represented a major challenge, adding that educational institutions play a key role in this endeavour as they are mandated to prepare qualified UAE Nationals for future roles.
The Vice Chancellor pointed out that through the MOU both parties will develop space academic programmes and review the curricula related to this sector, and also establish specialized labs. As a result scholarships and internships in Engineering Technology and other related programmes will be offered. He hoped that HCT graduates will become the number one choice for employers in this sector and other vital sectors in the UAE.
Dr Mohammed Nasser Al Ahbabi, Director of UAE Space Agency, emphasized the importance of this step in empowering the education sector in the UAE to encourage students to major in space technology and other related specializations.
He stated that, along with the progress made in the UAE education sector, decision makers are also giving priority to enabling the qualification of UAE Nationals to contribute to the achievement of the UAE objectives in developing an economy not solely dependent on oil revenues.
Dr Al Ahbabi added that the UAE Space Agency devised a strategy and plan for supporting innovation in the UAE through several initiatives and programmes that enhance the role of the space sector in the UAE, in line with the country’s efforts and vision of UAE leadership.
He said this requires the employment of qualified, skilled nationals in the coming 3-5 years.
Under this MOU, the parties have agreed to:
- Provide scholarships to a group of national high school graduates who fulfill the requirements starting from AY 2015-2016 until they earn a Bachelor degree
- This will be in addition to HCT students in all specializations being offered scholarships
- Develop HCT space programmes and review related programmes
- Provide specialists and experts from the UAE Space Agency to propose the needed academic courses and contribute to the development of programmes
- Provide internships for Space programme students at the UAE Space Agency’s headquarters