The Emirates Space Agency launches a new challenge to confront “food insecurity”


She called for using space data to address climate problems


The Emirates Space Agency has launched a new challenge that provides funding of up to four million dirhams to benefit from Earth observation satellite data in order to find solutions to the challenges of food security and climate change.

The challenge, which was announced under the umbrella of the UAE Space Agency’s Space Solutions Program, during Expo 2020 Dubai, in partnership with the Ministry of Climate Change and Environment, aims to find technically feasible, scalable and innovative ideas, using data collected from outer space, to create services that support agricultural or environmental practices.

This can be accomplished by using the data to map and monitor greenhouse gas emissions, or analyze soil moisture levels to increase yield.

The challenge invites scientists, businessmen, academics and innovators who seek to overcome some of the greatest challenges facing humanity, to participate and stimulate the knowledge-based economy in the UAE.

Two projects will be selected from the challenge, each receiving up to two million dirhams in funding, technical support and assistance from senior experts.

The program also aims to enhance the competitiveness of the national space sector, encourage partnerships between the public and private sectors, and develop talent.

Climate change and food security are among the biggest challenges the world faces.

In 2019, atmospheric carbon dioxide concentrations were higher than at any time in at least 2 million years, while nearly 750 million (roughly one in 10 people worldwide) were exposed to severe levels of food insecurity during the same year.

Hence the need for urgent action to address the two issues, which the Agency aims to do.

Sarah Al Amiri, Minister of State for Advanced Sciences and Chairperson of the Emirates Space Agency, said, “The challenge aims to find the best and brightest academics, businessmen and scientists, to develop applications that address climate change or food security.

We look for innovative and scalable competitive proposals backed by rigorous research and analysis.

We hope to increase the participation of the private sector in the space sector, and to contribute to strengthening the position of the UAE as a regional center for innovation in the field of space, in a way that supports economic growth and development during the next fifty years,” adding that “Expo 2020 Dubai” represents a unique opportunity to unite the efforts of the world on global challenges, and cooperation for a brighter future.

“Today we are taking a major step forward in our commitment to averting an environmental catastrophe, empowering talent, promoting the development of commercially viable space services, and encouraging public-private partnerships,” she said.

Minister of Climate Change and Environment, Maryam Al Muhairi, said: “Climate change and food security are linked to each other, as rising temperatures and extreme weather events are having a devastating effect on global food systems.

In turn, food systems are responsible for more than a third of global greenhouse gas emissions, so to chart a sustainable future, we must tackle these challenges head-on, which requires innovative solutions.”

She added: “The challenge highlights the role of innovation as a means of solving some of the most pressing environmental problems.

We aim to enhance scientific research in the country, paving the way for a new generation of space scientists to actively contribute to creating a cleaner and better tomorrow.”

According to the approved schedule, a deadline has been set for January 15, 2022, to apply for the challenge, and the top six will be invited to submit proposals before a panel of experts in February 2022, and two proposals will be selected, after evaluating the proposals according to a variety of factors, including the professional experience and academic background of individuals As well as the creative idea itself and its applicability.

The challenge comes weeks after the UAE Space Agency announced a new mission to explore Venus and the asteroid belt, setting a new and ambitious goal for the country’s burgeoning space programme.

The new mission underscores the UAE’s efforts to make a meaningful contribution to space exploration, scientific research and our understanding of the solar system over the next 50 years.

• The challenge highlights the role of innovation as a means to solve some of the most pressing environmental problems.

• Climate change and food security are among the biggest challenges the world faces.

• Finding innovative ideas using outer space data to create services that support agricultural practices.

• 750 million people were exposed to acute levels of food insecurity in 2019.

• 4 million dirhams to finance the two winning projects in the challenge.

Challenge goal:

Generate innovative ideas using outer space data to create services that support agricultural practices.

Keywords: challenge, practices., food insecurity, emirates space agency, solutions, challenges, climate, people, space data, satellite data, services, food security, scientists, sarah al amiri, picturethe emirates space agency