200 universities globally respond to Space Settlement Challenge

The first funding programme by The Dubai Future Foundation’s new think tank receives an exceptional response

Dubai: More than 260 research proposals from across the world were submitted for the Space Settlement Challenge held in Dubai by the Mohammed Bin Rashid Centre for Accelerated Research.

The first funding programme by The Dubai Future Foundation’s new think tank, received an exceptional response from more than 200 leading universities in 55 countries globally, it was announced.

Proposals included topics ranging from advanced bio-engineering for life support on Mars to the social and economic business models required to make the space industry a success.

Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and Stanford University in the United States as well as Cambridge University and Oxford University in the United Kingdom all submitted proposals for the challenge

The challenge called for research proposals from any discipline, in pursuit of concepts, solutions and business models that facilitate space habitation. Researchers competed for Dh2 million in seed funding, which will be divided among the 20 to 30 selected proposals.

Khalfan Belhoul, CEO of Dubai Future Foundation, emphasised the goal of the Centre, which is dedicated to supporting research for the advancement of humanity. “At Dubai Future Foundation our mandate is to identify the challenges of tomorrow and turn them into opportunities today for our nation and for humanity at large. The Centre for Accelerated Research will be tackling complex issues such as space settlement, digital economics, artificial intelligence and more.”

The Space Settlement Challenge was launched at the 6th World Government Summit in February 2018, with the objective of accelerating space exploration activities by funding trailblazing research. It is the first of the Centre’s major research activities and uses a novel, accelerated funding and review platform called Guaana, which emerged from the Dubai Future Accelerators.

Applicants are currently evaluating each other’s proposals and will decide the winners anonymously using an advanced system of collective intelligence. Funding decisions will be awarded on May 17, 2018, at which point the winning researchers will receive their funds automatically and begin their research.

The Centre also announced several new upcoming research initiatives, including work focusing on the use of personal data by major technology companies, the development of regional technology sectors, the social consequences of autonomous vehicles, and more.

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