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US$5m UAE rain enhancement program awards grants to research groups from USA, China & Russia

Research groups from the USA, China and Russia have been awarded grants from the United Arab Emirates’ world-leading Research Program for Rain Enhancement Science

Under the patronage of His Highness Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Prime Minister of the UAE and Minister of Presidential Affairs, the awardees of the Third Cycle of the UAE Research Program were announced at a ceremony held as part of Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week 2018.

The UAE continues to lead global research and scientific enquiry through the innovative program which is designed to boost water security globally.

Reflecting on the impact of the Program, HH Sheikh Mansour Bin Zayed said:

“The UAE Research Program for Rain Enhancement Science demonstrates our leadership in tackling the challenge of global water stress and devising the innovative solutions needed to aid people at risk around the world”

“It is imperative for all of us to devote our resources and employ creative thinking to secure sustainable supplies of clean water. As rapidly expanding populations place increasing pressure on limited water sources, the UAE is playing a dynamic and imaginative role in advancing the science and technology needed to ensure water for all in need.”

The 2017’s Third Cycle call for research proposals led to the submission of 201 pre-proposals involving the input of 710 scientists and researchers affiliated to 316 institutions from 68 countries.

The three scientists leading the research teams that will share this cycle’s grant of US$5 million are:

  • Professor Eric Frew, of the University of Colorado, for his project dealing with targeted observation and seeding using autonomous unmanned aircraft systems.
  • Dr Lulin Xue, of the Hua Xin Chuang Zhi Science and Technology LLC in China, for a project entitled “Using Advanced Experimental – Numerical Approaches to Untangle Rain Enhancement (UAE-NATURE)”.
  • Dr Ali Abshaev, of the Hail Suppression Research Center in Russia, for a project examining the creation of updrafts for the formation of artificial clouds and rainfall.

His Excellency Dr Abdulla Al Mandous, Director of the National Center of Meteorology (NCM) said advances in the science and implementation related to rain enhancement research are offering an increasingly viable and technically feasible method of replenishing and boosting existing water supplies.

The Program’s awardees are already breaking new ground in developing solutions applicable to regions subject to arid regions and beyond, including innovative algorithms, nanotechnology and land cover modification, ice production processes in cumulus clouds, aerosols’ role in precipitation enhancement and electrical properties of clouds.

Launched by the Ministry of Presidential Affairs in the UAE, and managed by the NCM, the UAE Research Program for Rain Enhancement Science is an internationally-recognized initiative offering a grant of 5 million US dollars to be shared by up to five winning research proposals.

Since the Program was launched, an ambitious international outreach campaign has engaged with 1,220 researchers and 520 institutions from more than 68 countries. Key global institutions engaged during successive and successful roadshows include the United Nations, the European Commission, the World Meteorological Organisation, NASA, Harvard and Princeton.

ADSW 2018 hosted the Second International Forum on Rain Enhancement – the three-day event provided a platform for discussion on the newly awarded research projects from the Program’s Third Cycle as well as updates on breakthroughs made by the First and Second Cycle projects.

Serving as a hub for an internationally recognized research network, the UAE Research Program for Rain Enhancement Science facilitates active knowledge transfers needed to ensure sustainable development and economic growth in regions of the world vulnerable to aridity and water shortages.

The Program was launched with the aims of addressing water security challenges and placing the UAE at the international forefront of scientific research into rain enhancement.

2018 will see a pause in the Program’s annual call for submissions to allow it to both assess the progress made so far and to set new strategic goals in cooperation with its network of international partners.

In collaboration with international experts from the World Meteorological Organisation, the Program will identify the most promising areas for future research while expanding its global campaign to raise awareness of the potential of rain enhancement through publications and continued active outreach.

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