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New Emirates Medical Journal

Volume 1, 2 Issues, 2020
ISSN: 0250-6882 (Online)
This journal supports open access

Open Access Article

Fostering University-Community Partnership in the Biomedical & Health Service Research in the UAE: Prospects for Change

Akshaya Srikanth Bhagavathula1, *
1 Institute of Public Health, College of Medicine and Health Sciences, UAE University, Al Ain, UAE

Article Information

Identifiers and Pagination:

Year: 2020
Volume: 1
Issue: 2
First Page: 20
Last Page: 21
Publisher Id: nemj-1-20
DOI: 10.2174/0250688201999200713195917

Article History:

Electronic publication date: 15/07/2020
Collection year: 2020

© 2020 Akshaya Srikanth Bhagavathula.

open-access license: This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International Public License (CC-BY 4.0), a copy of which is available at: ( This license permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

* Address correspondence to this author at the Institute of Public Health, College of Medicine and Health Sciences, UAE University, Al Ain, UAE; Tel: +971543226187; E-mail:

The Research Institute for Medical and Health Sciences (RIMHS) at the University of Sharjah, organized a half-day workshop on Thursday, 13th February 2020 to leverage on the partnership between the healthcare providers and the RIMHS. This professional meeting used a combination of presentations from various institutions and stakeholders, following panel discussions to understand the current challenges and opportunities to foster biomedical and health research in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

A large number of graduate students and faculties from the University of Sharjah (UOS) attended the sessions. Experts from Mohammed Bin Rashid University (MBRU), Sheikh Khalifa Specialty Hospital (SKSH), Emirates Medical Association (EMA), Ministry of Health and Prevention (MOHAP), Public health and Central lab sector of Sharjah Municipality, Dubai Health Authority (DHA), and Abu Dhabi Health Services (SEHA) participated in the panel discussion.

The program started with the welcome speech by Prof. Maamar Battayeb, Vice-chancellor for research and graduate studies, University of Sharjah. Through his inspirational speech, Prof. Battayeb discussed the current status of UOS research initiatives. Prof. Taleb Al-Tel, the director of the Research Institute for Medical & Health Sciences (RIMHS), detailed the purpose of the meeting to foster health research in the UAE in collaboration with key stakeholders. After that, delegates from various departments of UOS presented an overview of their research initiatives, and opportunities for partnerships with the community were also detailed. The details of the presentations are described in Table 1.


The workshop discussed a few of the challenges that were in line with the UAE’s 2021 vision to be one of the most innovative countries in the world. Innovation in healthcare has great importance to develop a high standard health system and enhance the quality of life. In this context, this meeting was the first to discuss the possible opportunities to use innovations in health research and to exchange dialogue with experts from various institutions, associations, and stakeholders. Each delegate presented ideas on health innovation and current technologies used in their institutions. Experts participated in panel discussions to elicit perspectives regarding the current challenges facing health research in the UAE.

Further, panel members were also asked to discuss the issues and to identify optimal research areas for potential partnerships on health innovation. Some of the questions addressed include: What is the future of smart healthcare? Current challenges in health research? How can health technologies bridge the healthcare gaps? What is the development of research centers, and how collaborative partnerships have the potential to improve healthcare services? What is the role of artificial intelligence in data mining and big data analysis? How can innovation in healthcare benefit communities?

Table 1
Presentations on research perspectives at University of Sharjah.

The Editor-in-Chief of New Emirates Medical Journal (NEMJ), Prof. Abdulla Shehab was invited as a special panelist to discuss the changes in clinical research in the UAE and the importance of technology in research publications. Dr. Thomas Boillant addressed the “Design Lab”, a point-of-care technology program of MBRU, in collaboration with various international universities. Through this international exchange program, students from multiple branches, including business, engineering, design, and medicine, will exchange their ideas as a team to identify the challenges in healthcare and propose possible solutions to overcome these challenges. The chief general officer of international relations from SKSH, Dr. Mustafa Alhashimi, described various opportunities in the biomarker’s discovery and drug development in cancer research. Dr. Suad Hanawi, deputy chairman of the central research ethics committee from the MOHAP, detailed the importance of ethics in the health technology research, MOHAP interests in collaboration with academic institutions on various research projects. Dr. Sumaya Mohamed AlBooshi, director of Nursing Department, MOHAP, highlighted the use of various technologies such as VR, E-platform, and evidence-based frameworks for research in nursing.


A panel of five members is invited to share their experience in health innovation and contributing factors to achieve success. Details about the panelists are presented in Table 2.

Each delegate from various institutions presented-success stories from their fields and described the importance of potential research collaboration with academic institutions. Such research collaborations can enhance the development of research materials or programs, joint curriculum according to the paradigm shift in healthcare research, as well as faculty exchange programs to strengthen the relationship with the institutions. Particular emphasis was given to initiate collaborative health research projects, and clinical trials with academic institutions, talent exchange programs for postgraduate students, and establishing a centralized database of disease registries can help translate scholarly research activities in the UAE.

Table 2
Panel discussion on health innovations in the UAE.


This meeting was initiated by the UOS to foster partnerships between academic institutions and the UAE healthcare stakeholders in support of research in health and biomedical. The focus was to bring together experts from different disciplines and key stakeholders to assess the opportunities and address challenges through a collaborative research ecosystem and strengthening the partnership with various research partners in the UAE.


Abdullah Shehab
Emirates Cardiac Society
Emirates Medical Association

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