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Dh3 million in awards to encourage health care innovation

First cycle of Technology and Innovation Pioneers Healthcare Awards to be handed out to 19 winners on May 9

Abu Dhabi: A number of technological innovations are set to change the health care landscape as Abu Dhabi hands out its first set of Technology and Innovation Pioneers (TIP) Healthcare Awards next week, top health and industry experts announced in the capital on Thursday.

A total of Dh3 million will be distributed among 19 winners who have worked to develop technologies for patents, proofs of concept and start-ups, all in a bid to bring about innovative solutions to health care challenges, they added.

“The awards will help the management of non-communicable diseases like diabetes and asthma, and improve the quality of life for patients. Indeed, some of the innovations are set to be market-disruptive,” Dr Asma Al Mannaei, director of health care quality at the Abu Dhabi Department of Health (DoH), told Gulf News.

“Our focus is not on just awarding developers but also to ensure that the technologies are accepted by policymakers and implemented by providers,” added Salem Bin Shabib, adviser for innovation, incubation and small and medium projects at the Abu Dhabi Department of Economic Development (DED).

The officials were speaking at a press conference held to announce the upcoming TIP Awards, which will be handed out alongside the TIP Conference on May 9. The awards have been initiated by the UAE Ministry of Economy and the Abu Dhabi DED, in collaboration with the DOH.

More than 1,180 ideas were submitted for the awards by applicants from a number of countries, including the UAE, Saudi Arabia, India, Pakistan, France and Egypt. These were then evaluated and re-evaluated.

Among the award winners, there are eight Emiratis, 10 UAE residents, three international applicants and one applicant with special needs. The technological innovations tackle challenges in the prevention and management of cardiovascular diseases, asthma, tobacco use, cancer, dental health, and maternal and infant health.

There are 12 winners who submitted ideas for patents, and Bin Shabib assured that these will be registered with the UAE Ministry of Economy.

“They are novel ideas which have not been registered before, and we will grant rights to the developers to own the ideas and exclusively implement them for a period of 20 years,” Bin Shabib explained.

There are also six proofs of concept, which are ideas to physically create devices, algorithms or software for the first time and see how they can be practically implemented. The four start-ups are market-ready ideas that can be scaled up to reach consumers.

Bin Shabib stressed that the TIP Awards are geared towards implementing innovation instead of simply recognising them. He added that the initiative, in collaboration with the private sector, will seek to train applicants while conducting local and international workshops to encourage further innovation.

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