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SH24_IT_SRTIP_Hussain Al Mahmoudi

UAE - Telecoms & IT

Hussain Al Mahmoudi

CEO, Sharjah Research Technology and Innovation Park (SRTIP), UAE

Bio

Hussain Al Mahmoudi is a visionary leader with an unwavering commitment to advancing global innovation, holds the role of CEO at the Sharjah Research Technology & Innovation Park (SRTIP), the fastest-growing R&D park in the region. Appointed directly by the Ruler of Sharjah, his mission is to forge collaborative, long-term partnerships among industry, academia, and the public sector, cultivating an ecosystem of enterprise and innovation.
As the driving force behind SRTIP, Hussain has propelled Sharjah as a premier research and development center in the UAE. His accomplishments include attracting major projects in transport and logistics, pioneering the R&D and commercialization of 3D construction technologies, and initiating regional entrepreneurship programs.

"Since its inception, SRTI Park has emerged as a leading technology hub, attracting over USD100 million in research and pilot investments."
TBY talks to Hussain Al Mahmoudi, CEO of Sharjah Research Technology and Innovation Park (SRTIP), UAE, about Sharjah’s role in the region, SRTI Park, and the future of the sector.
What recent achievements or milestones highlight SRTIP’s role in advancing Sharjah as an innovation and technology transfer hub?

Since its inception, SRTI Park has emerged as a leading technology hub, attracting over USD100 million in research and pilot investments. Notable features include a robust transport and logistics innovation center, housing cutting-edge technologies such as suspended rail transport and next-generation train systems, solar cars, EV bikes and hydrogen storage research. Currently, this vibrant technology park accommodates over 6,000 registered entities. Additionally, we boast one of the region’s largest additive manufacturing facilities, capable of printing metal, concrete, polymer, and plastic. Digitization efforts include hosting the first and only water-cooled, high-performance computer (HPC) and investments in mixed reality technologies such as virtual and augmented realities. SRTIP has evolved into a regional platform for pioneering technologies.

What updates can you provide on the suspended rail project, including its anticipated commercial launch timeframe?

This project represents a substantial investment in the technology park aimed at redefining the regional and global transport ecosystem. We are testing solutions for both passenger and cargo mobility, emphasizing sustainability. Currently in the pilot phase, successful outcomes could lead to commercial projects. Our aim is for manufacturing of this technology to take place within the tech hub and in Sharjah, marking the project’s transition from demo to commercial prototyping. Negotiations have been underway with various local and regional governments regarding commercial terms. Though the exact timing is uncertain, I anticipate progress in 2024.

How soon do you expect green hydrogen production from seawater to impact energy production and consumption across Sharjah due to these initiatives?

As a research park, we focus on demonstrating new technologies. Currently, we are in the demo phase of green hydrogen production from seawater, aiming to showcase it to government stakeholders for potential adoption. Our previous work on using hydrogen for seawater desalination has led to interest from a city in the UAE, which is planning a larger prototype. This collaborative process exemplifies our approach, as seen with the government of Ras Al-Khaimah’s decision to pursue a larger prototype to test this technology further.

In July 2023, an Emiri decree granted legal recognition to SRTIP, empowering it for operational actions. What significance and operational impact does this hold?

Initially, we operated as a part of the American University of Sharjah, under their ownership. However, with this transition, we have become an independent entity, established as a free zone. The consolidation of all technology parks in Sharjah under our umbrella has positioned us as the primary driver of innovation and technological development in the region. This shift will enhance our role and contribute to the advancement of the innovation ecosystem throughout the UAE.

Considering SRTI Park’s achievements and ongoing projects, how do you envision its evolution in the coming years?

SRTI Park is set to expand with a strategic focus on industry-academia collaboration and research. Our advanced accelerator, in partnership with the government, industry, and academia, will be a key area of development. We are broadening our accelerator’s scope to include sustainability, renewable energy, and healthcare. Moving forward, we aim to strengthen industry-academia initiatives, entrepreneurship, and funding systems. Our research agenda will encompass emerging areas such as healthcare, sustainability, space, and water technology. Additionally, ongoing projects include the imminent completion of our water R&D facility by the year’s end. We are actively attracting companies in advanced industries and will continue to do so.

How does SRTI Park align with the broader goals of the Emirate of Sharjah, particularly in terms of advancing toward a knowledge-based economy?

This technology park serves as the innovation hub for the Sharjah government, fostering collaboration among government, academia, and the private sector to co-create and accelerate innovation. We facilitate this process by providing the necessary infrastructure, including buildings, labs, and supportive frameworks such as funding mechanisms and legislative support. Additionally, we focus on talent development, nurturing researchers, innovators, and entrepreneurs. Furthermore, we actively commercialize technology IP from universities and research centers, exemplified by our conductive concrete, hydrogen and water technologies, and 3D printing initiatives.

What is your outlook for the sector over the coming year?

The outlook is promising, especially with the growing investment in technology. Positioned at the forefront of this trend, we anticipate becoming a central hub for innovation. With significant investments from both the government and private sector, we are witnessing a convergence of efforts that will likely elevate our role in the innovation landscape. Expectations point toward increased investments and greater momentum in this field, as innovation continues to dominate global conversations. SRTI Park is one of the fastest growing technology parks in the Middle East, reinforcing its role as a key player in shaping the future of research and technology. This technology park is driving an innovation ecosystem that promotes research & development and supports enterprise activity through the triple helix collaboration of industry, government & academia. SRTI Park provides an environment conducive to creativity and innovation by creating a sustainable ecosystem with world-class infrastructure and services, to enhance the Emirate’s status as a global destination for nurturing research and technology.

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