Sandooq Al Watan, the national initiative to support research projects for the post-oil era, has announced expanding the scope of the "ReThink Brine Challenge" to include the development of innovative medical products and disinfectants by reusing brine discharge.
The deadline to enter the Rethink Brine Challenge has been extended to 11th October, 2020. All participants should create their teams and submit a summary proposal of the research by the new date on the Researcher Platform, www.centurium.ae.
Talal Al Dhiyebi, Chief Executive Officer of Aldar, said, "The extension of this important initiative comes at a critical time for the UAE as new, innovative solutions are increasingly needed to support our government’s response to the COVID-19 crisis, particularly in light of the challenges facing the healthcare sector globally. At Aldar, we are committed to delivering on our national and corporate responsibility and supporting our partners at Sandooq Al Watan to pave the way for a better tomorrow. Ensuring a safe and sustainable community is a core pillar of Aldar’s sustainability agenda, and a top priority in our ESG efforts. Through this initiative, we renew our commitment to provide all that is needed to support national efforts in protecting our society and ensuring the health and safety of its people On the occasion, Ahmed Baharoon, Executive Director, Environmental Information, Science & Outreach Management of EAD, said, "In 2020 the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted the world and has resulted in global demand for medical and health supplies. Brine – a by-product of the desalination process – has a harmful impact on the natural environment; that got us thinking about whether brine’s powerful chemical and physical properties could be used in public health applications. As such, we are looking for creative ideas from competitors to see if they can develop medical/health materials derived from brine and achieve a win-win for public health and the marine environment."
He also added that he is looking forward to the execution phase of the winning idea and how it will help us all lead healthier lives."
Ahmed Fikri, Acting Director-General of Sandooq Al Watan, said, "Expanding the scope of the Rethink Brine Challenge comes in line with the global efforts and the preventive and precautionary measures taken by various local authorities to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus, one of the greatest challenges facing humanity. We believe expanding the scope of the challenge will motivate creators, innovators and researchers to provide innovative ideas and creative solutions that can contribute to enhancing health and safety levels for all members of society."
Othman Al Ali, Chief Executive Officer of Emirates Water and Electricity Company, EWEC, said, "We are pleased to support the expansion of the ReThink Brine Challenge to address the impacts of the ongoing global COVID-19 pandemic. Facilitating researchers in their efforts to find a valuable use for brine discharge and providing our expert insights and knowledge, aligns with our mission at EWEC to be a leader of change within our industry by supporting the production of sustainable and environmentally-friendly water and power. The discovery of a medical use for brine discharge has the potential to significantly enhance international efforts to combat COVID-19 while simultaneously supporting the sustainability of the water sector."
The CENTURIUM prize is part of the "researcher.ae" platform, an initiative by Sandooq Al Watan, which includes a series of scientific challenges with the aim of encouraging students, researchers and experts from the industry to find innovative solutions to some of the most significant challenge facing the UAE and the world within different sectors, including healthcare.
A judging committee of experts and representatives from sponsoring and partnering and other entities will oversee the competition, where a total prize purse of AED3.4 million will be utilised to award the milestone prizes to shortlisted teams and the winning team will take the final prize of AED2.5 million.
Participants can spend the Milestone Awards at their discretion, as long as it is used to complete the challenge. After being reimbursed for all costs incurred during the competition, the final winner can allocate 50% of the grand prize for personal use, while the remaining amount is spent on further developing the final product.