18 January 2021; Dubai, United Arab Emirates: Ajman University has become the first institution in the UAE to be awarded the Microsoft AI for Health Research Grant, receiving a total amount of over one million dirhams. The establishment has been exclusively selected as of one of 150 grantees worldwide, with awards made for projects combatting the global pandemic.
Given the urgency of the pandemic, Microsoft’s AI for Health initiative has been mobilised to focus on helping those on the front lines of research. The company is focusing efforts in five specific areas where it believes that data, analysis and the skills of data scientists can have the biggest impact and is dedicating over seventy three million dirhams worldwide to achieve this objective.
“Ajman University (AU) is strongly committed to promoting innovation, and social impact, and this grant is very much aligned with these core values of our pioneering institution”, AU Chancellor, Dr. Karim Seghir, said. “The rapid progress made through this Microsoft initiative will support our researchers in identifying sustainable solutions to the pandemic and provide timely information to policymakers for data-driven decisions that protect communities, cities and regions”.
The funding will be applied across four projects with variable timelines between 8 to 24 months. For example, one project will analyse the effective application of health criteria in classrooms in light of the pandemic, to keep students safe and prevent the spread of infection. A further project will provide analytical modelling of the evolution of different strains using data-based models, in order to identify the different factors impacting on epidemic limitation.
The Microsoft AI for Health Research Grant programme encompasses a total of 72 grants for 68 organisations across 20 countries, 27 of which have been awarded in 2020.
“Since the launch of our AI for Health Initiative in January this year, AI and data have helped to improve the health of people and communities worldwide”, said Ahmed Ameen Ashour, Education Director, Microsoft UAE. “With large-scale computing and open data, what used to take months can now be done in a matter of days. Grantees and partners like Ajman University have shared access to Microsoft’s AI technology, and these resources have accelerated the progress made in their research. This work is part of Microsoft’s larger commitment toward fighting the pandemic, as we support remote education and empower students around the world, enable businesses to work from home, secure essential medical supplies, and support local communities”.
Established in 1988 as the first private university in the GCC, Ajman University (AU) also was the first university in the UAE to admit expatriate students. In 2020, Ajman University became one of the first six higher education institutions in the world to receive global accreditation from the Quality Assurance Agency (QAA), a UK-based independent body and a global leader in quality assurance for higher education.