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January-March 2020

Abu Dhabi AI university is key to UAE’s future as the oil dries up

Abu Dhabi’s fledgling artificial intelligence (AI)-focused university is a core pillar of the United Arab Emirates’ (UAE) 30-year plan to remove its economy’s heavy reliance on oil. The Gulf state is developing healthcare, financial services, renewable energy and materials technology sectors, which will make up the UAE economy when the oil runs out. But first, it needs to ensure its citizens have the skills to drive them. The long-term nature of the UAE government’s initiative is what stands out for Oxford University professor Michael Brady, who is interim president of Abu Dhabi’s Mohamed bin Zayed University of Artificial Intelligence (MBZUAI), which was set up to ensure the UAE has the right skills to drive these industries. The Masdar City-based university has just opened to applications for its first intake of 50 students. Brady, currently professor of oncological imaging at Oxford University’s Department of Oncology, was invited by one of his former PhD students to advise on the project to establish a university ...

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