Biomedical researchers working in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) are being offered fellowship and seed grants worth AED8 million (US$2.18 million) in total in a programme launched by Al Jalila Foundation.

The Foundation is a not-for-profit organisation set up in November 2012 by Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, UAE Prime Minister and Vice President as well as constitutional monarch of Dubai, to support medical treatment, education and research.

Researchers are invited to apply for seed grants of up to AED300,000 to investigate regional health issues through basic science and applied or clinical research projects.

The grants are available to all nationalities, providing the research is conducted in the UAE. Applicants should also hold positions at local universities, research institutions or clinics.

The grant applications will be assessed through an international peer-review process. In addition, Al Jalila Foundation’s Scientific Advisory Board will consider applicants for a place on a three-month Student Research Elective or a year-long Research Training Support programme.

Regional priorities

The hope is that the funding will promote regional research into cancer, cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, obesity and mental health.

These five health issues will be as a focus of activities at the newly announced Al Jalila Foundation Research Centre, the UAE’s first ever standalone medical-research centre.

“Our aim is to develop homegrown leaders with the ability to produce preventative medical research that is relevant to the region, thereby transforming the UAE’s healthcare sector,” commented Sehamuddin Galadari, Professor of Biochemistry & Molecular Cell Biology as well as academic and research advisor to Al Jalila Foundation.

The application deadline for the 2014 fellowship and seed grants is 15 June 2014. Fellowship- and seed-grant recipients will be announced by 15 July and 15 September 2014 respectively.