The UAE is building a global innovation laboratory for public sector pilots

public sector pilots
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Her Excellency Huda Al Hashimi, Deputy Minister of Cabinet Affairs for Strategic Affairs – UAE Government, provides commentary on a new hub for public sector pilots around the world, under the Moonshot Pilot Grant

A new hub is launching in the Middle East where public sector pilots from around the world, including the UK, can be tested before being rolled out on a larger scale. Built to incubate and upscale potentially game-changing pilots, the United Arab Emirates’ new public sector innovation initiative is designed to help create more resilient governments in an era of rapid social, environmental, and economic change.

The project centres around a new UAE Government fund called the Moonshot Pilot Grant, which is offering up to £72,000 per pilot to facilitate testing of potential government initiatives and accelerate their development and implementation in the public sector. The fund is led by the Mohammed Bin Rashid Centre for Government Innovation (MBRCGI), a governmental department aimed at enhancing public sector innovation.

According to HE Huda AlHashimi, Chief of Strategy and Government Innovation – UAE Government, the grant is in line with the UAE’s vision to adopt a progressive framework based on innovation.

“The pandemic has underlined the importance of designing and building robust government models which can perform proactively and efficiently in the face of serious crises and emergencies. COVID-19 exposed a degree of unpreparedness among public sectors globally.

“So, while the primary objective of the Moonshot Pilot Grant is to prepare the UAE Government for the future, we believe countries all around the world will benefit from this initiative. We hope by bringing together the world’s top experts, researchers, and innovators, the UAE can lead the way in designing the governments of the future.”

‘Readiness in the future’

According to MBRCGI, the grant is part of an advanced work model designed to enhance the UAE Government’s agility and readiness in the future. It forms part of the UAE’s wider efforts to become more competitive on the global stage by building a new generation of young talents and creating a knowledge-based economy.

However, the benefits of the Moonshot Pilot Grant will extend to governments globally, helping them to build more sustainable and robust economies by facilitating new solutions to government financing, new tools to achieve growth, and smart spending plans for crises and emergencies, for example.

The grant reflects a shift from traditional methods of developing public sector innovations to a world where top talents from across sectors participate from the idea stage to implementation on a national level. It also aims to attract high performing researchers, innovators, and entrepreneurs from various sectors; contributing to finding solutions to the most pressing challenges, through empowering them to develop and implement their initiatives.

AlHashimi added: “Through the Moonshot Pilot Grant, visionaries, and futurists from around the world, including the UK, will be able to test their innovative pilots in the UAE. The grant will help to consistently create pockets of innovation that can be scaled to support governments everywhere.”


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