UAE - Abu Dhabi's Masdar City has partnered with Mohamed bin Zayed University of Artificial Intelligence and Catalyst, the region’s first clean technology startup accelerator, in bid to set up a new AI and clean energy innovation unit and a new accelerator programme for AI start-ups.

This comes as part of Masdar City's efforts to nurture clean energy and drive the growth of artificial intelligence (AI), clean tech and smart city technology, including autonomous transportation, across the region.

According to Masdar City, the partnership will support exploration of several new initiatives, including the learning and business opportunities for students and graduates of MBZUAI, enhanced support for AI and clean energy startups, and using advanced data analytics and AI to improve the performance of its buildings.

The three entities will also explore the development of a new accelerator programme focused on AI to encourage more MBZUAI graduates to start successful businesses, it added.

Mohamed Al Breiki, the executive director of sustainable real estate development of Masdar City, signed the MoU with Sultan Al Hajji, the Vice President of Public Affairs and Alumni Relations at MBZUAI; and Stephen Severance, the director of growth of Masdar City for the Catalyst.

"This agreement will help strengthen Masdar City’s position as a hub for clean tech, AI, and autonomous transport startups. It will also build on the already strong connections between these industries and help harness the power of youth and startup enterprises to make meaningful change," remarked Al Breiki at the signing ceremony held on the sidelines of Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week 2023.

"One of the most critical predictors for successful entrepreneurship is access to industry talent, and the partnership between Catalyst, Masdar City, and MBZUAI creates a platform to attract and retain some of the leading authorities in AI to Abu Dhabi," he stated.

As part of the agreement, MBZUAI graduates may be eligible for special packages to fast-track their startup enterprises within Masdar City, while current students may be able to participate in paid internships with various companies in the Masdar City Free Zone.

Al Hajji said: "From AI incubation to research capabilities in clean energy and a focus on mentorship for emerging businesses and AI professionals, this collaboration can significantly advance the UAE’s status as a global destination for AI."

Severance said The Catalyst was looking to empower startups who want to change the world through sustainable, clean tech and AI.

"This agreement will give us access to even more top-tier talent, and provide more opportunities for entrepreneurs to develop groundbreaking tech. We’re looking forward to working together," he added.

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