UAE Aircrafts Manufacturing Sector Requires Qualified Emiratis and Institutions to Stimulate Innovation

September 21, 2018

Masdar Institute Student Defends Thesis on ‘UAE Aircrafts Manufacturing Sector’s Potential and Challenges’

Abu Dhabi-UAE: 29 May, 2012 – Systemically stronger education and research institutions, more highly qualified Emiratis, and a larger number of finance-related institutions may pave way for the success of the UAE aircrafts manufacturing sector, according to the thesis submitted by Yousif Al Abd, Graduate Student and Research Assistant at the Engineering Systems and Management at Masdar Institute of Science and Technology.

Al Abd belongs to the second batch of Masdar Institute Master’s students who will receive their degrees from the research-driven university by the end of this month. His thesis work in such a highly focused area reflects the profound nature of the students’ research that generally characterizes the advanced work undertaken at Masdar Institute.

Al Abd said: “The UAE aircraft manufacturing sector has a number of competitive advantages. That is because the country’s leadership has successfully minimized investor skepticism with substantial initial investments. However, the industry is still in its infancy in the UAE, lacking a number of main elements that are seen as crucial for innovation existence, keeping in mind that incremental innovations are important catalysts in sustaining such a sector.”

Emphasizing the crucial importance of triple-helix link (Government-Science-Industry), Al Abd argues that by enhancing the science-industry links, the country will strengthen its capabilities to overcome the current drawbacks. With that, better alignment between human capital and market needs will be stimulated. In addition, the industry will have a cheaper R&D access which is performed under universities, as the case in the US.

Dr Toufic Mezher, Professor – Engineering Systems and Management, was Al Abd’s guide, while the research committee members include Dr Inas Khayal, Assistant Professor, and Dr Yasser Al-Saleh, Research Fellow at the INSEAD Innovation and Policy Initiative. Al Abd defended his thesis with arguments backed by the interviews that he conducted with the different stakeholders in the UAE aircraft sector.

Reiterating that the UAE is a unique case unlike any other country, given the strategy that Abu Dhabi is pursuing through Mubadala Development Company, Dr Mezher pointed out that the full support of the country’s leadership is a positive factor for the UAE aircraft industry even though additional efforts may still be required to make the industry globally competitive.

Dr Mezher said: “The UAE needs to have an efficient and effective infrastructure, institutions, and human capital.  The critical mass in all three can only be achieved through the cooperation and collaboration among all critical elements of the ‘Technology Triangle’ – government institutions and agencies, academic Institutions, and the private sector. To be effective, the technology triangle should be based on the mutual interests of all three elements.”

A keen aircraft designer, Yousif Al Abd wants to build an UAV-related company within the next five years and contribute to the Abu Dhabi leadership’s vision for the country as well as Al Ain aerospace cluster.

His advice to those looking at Masdar Institute for pursuing their Master’s studies in sustainability is to find the topic they are passionate about and to pursue it, because “Masdar Institute gives students the chance to go after their dreams”, he adds.

The thesis by Yousif Al Abd gains significance following the recent 10-year direct contract between Boeing and Mubadala Aerospace for Strata Manufacturing, the advanced composite aero structures facility in Al Ain that will produce commercial composite aero structures for the 777 and 787 Dreamliner.

The growing aviation industry contributed 6.3% (or AED61.3 billion) to the UAE’s gross economic product in 2011, His Highness Sultan bin Saeed Al Mansouri, the UAE Minister of Economy, told delegates at the Global Aerospace Summit recently.

Established as an on-going collaboration with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Masdar Institute integrates theory and practice to incubate a culture of innovation and entrepreneurship, working to develop the critical thinkers and leaders of tomorrow.  With its world-class faculty and top-tier students, the Institute is committed to finding solutions to the challenges of clean energy and climate change through education and research.