Khalid bin Mohamed bin Zayed witnesses the partnership signing between Abu Dhabi Government and XPRIZE

Mar 26 2019


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The partnership is a major Ghadan 21 initiative to grow Abu Dhabi’s R&D ecosystem with a commitment of 300 million AED (81 million USD) to crowdsource innovation via a series of XPRIZE Abu Dhabi global competitions

Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates – 26 March 2019: Following the directions of His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces and Chairman of the Abu Dhabi Executive Council, and the follow up of His Highness Sheikh Hazza bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Deputy Chairman of the Abu Dhabi Executive Council, His Highness Sheikh Khalid bin Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Member of the Abu Dhabi Executive Council and Chairman of the Executive Committee has witnessed the signing of the agreement between the Abu Dhabi Government and the XPRIZE Foundation, the global leader in incentivized prize competitions, in the presence of a number of government leaders and strategic partners. The agreement is the largest government partnership to date for XPRIZE.

Over the next three years, the partnership will launch a series of XPRIZE Abu Dhabi competitions to bring together home-grown United Arab Emirates (UAE) talent and innovators from around the globe to develop solutions that help answer the Emirate’s and the world’s critical challenges. The competitions will focus on six key themes: water scarcity, energy efficiency, food security, artificial intelligence, human ageing, and environmental conservation.

Initiated as part of the Ghadan 21 programme, more than AED300 million (81 million USD) has been committed to the XPRIZE Abu Dhabi competitions. It is the first global partnership and major milestone of the recently announced AED5.6 billion commitment by His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi, and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, Chairman of the Executive Council to accelerate the R&D ecosystem in Abu Dhabi.

The comprehensive R&D strategy has been developed to position the Emirate as a global beacon for technology, innovation and talent. Competition prizes is a key pillar of the R&D strategy, designed to bring together people from across disciplines and markets to jointly solve some of the world’s and the Emirate’s most pressing challenges. The XPRIZE Abu Dhabi partnership is the first major milestone of this strategy.

The Abu Dhabi Executive Office has also put in place plans to ensure the best ideas that are developed as part of the XPRIZE Abu Dhabi competitions, will be offered local incubation opportunities in the Emirate, including the recently launched Abu Dhabi HUB71, which will support and invest in tech start-ups.

His Highness Sheikh Khalid bin Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Chairman of the Executive Committee and Member of the Abu Dhabi Executive Council said: "The Abu Dhabi Government's long-term vision and focus on development drives the anticipation of global challenges. By working with our international partners, we are able to find suitable solutions, especially on vital issues such as climate change, water scarcity and artificial intelligence. We follow paths that look forward to the future. The focus on R&D is at the forefront of these tracks because it presents the challenges in all dimensions and contributes to the provision of innovative solutions ensuring a prosperous and sustainable future for the next generation, without considering borders. This is a step in support of R&D and innovation, and it will be followed by several government initiatives in collaboration with the world's leading institutions."

His Excellency Jassim Mohammed Buatabh Al Zaabi, Chairman of Abu Dhabi Executive Office said: “We are excited about the local impact of the partnership with XPRIZE and the opportunity to engage the nation’s brightest minds and inspire the Emirate’s and UAE’s high schools and universities to harness ideas through innovation and collaboration. I am looking forward to seeing the ideas that will be generated to help address these challenges and how Abu Dhabi can play a leading role. Beyond the competition, we are committed to helping successful ideas grow with the support of our local innovation hubs.”

Peter H. Diamandis, Founder and Executive Chairman of XPRIZE Foundation said: “We are excited about this partnership and see this as an opportunity to inspire innovation in the region as well as diversify and expand our pool of problem-solvers participating in our ongoing competitions to develop breakthroughs that will benefit the world. We look forward to announcing the global XPRIZE competitions with Abu Dhabi over the next three years, stimulating ideas and innovation that will generate impact that will last far into the future.”

Over the past two decades, XPRIZE has been instrumental in some of the world’s most innovative developments. The first-ever XPRIZE competition, the $10 Million Ansari XPRIZE for sub-orbital spaceflight, captured the world’s imagination and catalyzed a multi-billion-dollar commercial space industry demonstrating the massive leverage and effectiveness of incentivized competitions. Since then, XPRIZE has launched seventeen competitions in the areas of Energy, the Environment, Civil Society, Human Health and Longevity, Learning, Exploration, and Mobility.

The most recent competition is the $10 Million ANA Avatar XPRIZE, challenging teams to develop an Avatar System that will transport a human’s sense, actions, and presence to a remote location in real time, leading to a more connected world. Teams can register through September 30, 2019 at

Photo Caption:

Peter Diamandis, the founder of XPRIZE Foundation, with Sara Musallam, a member of the Abu Dhabi Executive Council, at the announcement of a series of XPRIZE competitions under the Ghadan 21 initiative in Abu Dhabi yesterday.


XPRIZE, a non-profit organization, is the global leader in designing and implementing innovative competition models to solve the world’s grandest challenges. Active competitions include the $20M NRG COSIA Carbon XPRIZE, the $15M Global Learning XPRIZE, the $10M ANA Avatar XPRIZE, the $7M Shell Ocean Discovery XPRIZE, and the $5M IBM Watson AI XPRIZE. For more information, visit

About Ghadan 21

The Ghadan 21 programme is working to accelerate the Abu Dhabi economy. From 2019-2021, AED50 billion has been committed to the programme by His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces and Chairman of the Abu Dhabi Executive Council. The programme is anchored around four main pillars: Social, Economic, Liveability and Knowledge.