His Highness Dr. Sheikh Sultan Bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Sharjah, has issued royal decree no. 15 of 2017, forming the board of directors for Sharjah Research Technology and Innovation Park (SRTIP) free zone authority. The park is currently being developed, adjacent to American University of Sharjah campus, by the university’s commercial and investment arm AUS Enterprises. SRTIP will encourage research, development and knowledge-intensive businesses to establish themselves in the free zone.
According to local media reports, the royal decree names the Ruler of Sharjah as chairman of the new SRTIP board of directors. The other 9 directors were named as Mr. Hamid D. Jafar, Chairman and CEO, Crescent Petroleum Company; HE Abdullah Salem Al-Turifi, CEO of the Securities & Commodities Authority (SCA); HE Rashid Obaid Jumaa Al Leem, chairman of Sharjah Electricity and Water Authority (SEWA); HE Salah Butti Obaid Bin Butti, Advisor of Sharjah Planning and Survey Department; Mr. Riad T. Sadek, Chairman, Al Habtoor Leighton Group; HE Dr. Hamid Majoul Al Nuaimi, Director of the University of Sharjah; HE Dr. Björn Kjerfve, Chancellor of American University of Sharjah; Mr. Charles Cotton, Director of Cambridge Enterprise and HE Hussein Mohammed Al Mahmoudi, the chief executive officer of AUS Enterprises. The board will elect a vice-chairman from among its members at its first meeting.
Development of SRTIP is already underway, with the first buildings expected to be delivered in early 2019. The first phase of development, which includes the park’s headquarters and space for up to 200 companies, will consist of three inter-linked buildings covering about 60,000 square feet. Longer-term plans include the construction of a hotel, convention centre, villas and a technology museum.
The SRTIP plans to focus on six key areas: water technology, renewable energy, environmental technology, digitization, production design and architecture, plus transport and logistics. Targeting local and global companies, including private-public sector ventures, the free zone plans to offer office space, scientific laboratories and residential accommodation.
SRTIP has recently signed MoU’s with a number of international science and technology centres and prominent universities such as Finland’s Oulu University of Applied Sciences (OAMK), Technical Research Centre of Finland (VTT), the UK’s Oxford Sciences Innovation (OSI) and enterprise software leader SAP. SRTIP also signed an MoU with China Arab International Technology Transfer Co. Ltd. (CAITTC), which plans to open its regional technology centre and headquarters in the new research park. The park recently became a member of the International Association of Science Parks and Areas of Innovation (IASP).