UCL Department of Science, Technology, Engineering and Public Policy


UAE 21st Century Science Policy

Collaborating with the UAE Office of Advanced Sciences to produce two reports informing the process and direction of science policy development in the UAE

About the reports 

Since its independence in 1971 the UAE has implemented a set of development strategies leading to its emergence as a significant oil-based economic power. Over the decades since, its economy, society and culture have evolved significantly. Large-scale investment in national economic development and infrastructure has transformed UAE society. A concern of UAE leaders today is to create sustainable pathways to long-term prosperity and security for Emirati citizens and residents. Science is seen as integral to this ambition, and is recognised as a springboard for the next phase of national development and diversification.

The UAE Office of Advanced Sciences (OAS) is undertaking a series of studies to define and develop opportunities in support of this national ambition. These two reports, Focus on: R&D Funding and Focus on: Human Intellectual Capital, result from a joint endeavour between UCL STEaPP and UAE’s Office of Advanced Sciences (OAS). They are a synthesis of this exploration and are based on desk research and multiple meetings with the UAE Minister of Advanced Sciences, her team, a range of stakeholders and global experts.

21 Century Science Policy

The reports are designed to move beyond the application and deployment of generic models of policy intervention and to give insight into collective analysis about the process and direction of science policy development in the UAE. The reports do not provide comprehensive analysis of specific policy instruments, nor propose recommendations for specific policy design.

Over the period of April-September 2019, a team of staff members worked with the UAE’s Office of Advanced Sciences. Together we explored recent thinking about the design and content of science policy, and the process associated with generating policy for integrating science, technology and innovation with societal aims and ambitions.   

The reports are therefore broad, covering considerable intellectual breadth and depth.

In each report the team present their summary in 3 parts:

  1. Global Science of Science Policy offers a short summary of the global state of knowledge and best practice regarding the framings and tools used for science policy design.
  2. 7 Principles for UAE Leadership outlines a set of guidelines with which to shape science policy instruments for the UAE’s future.


3.  Focus On: R&D Funding and Focus On: Human Intellectual Capital draw on these principles in presenting some of the drivers of change and propositions for consideration for designing UAE research and innovation funding and human capital-oriented policy instruments.

The reports also reflect a targeted desk-based exercise to gather relevant evidence from around the world (appearing here as an annex to the reports).