Environment Agency – Abu Dhabi (EAD) has announced the official launch of Abu Dhabi Environmental Research Network (ADERN), a community of research scientists, research institutions and allied innovators. Designed and facilitated by EAD, ADERN aims to convene research and development experts around the scientific knowledge gaps facing stakeholders in their efforts to sustain and continuously enhance the environment of the emirate.

With a focus on addressing environmental challenges, ADERN will play a crucial role in advancing the understanding and implementation of sustainability in Abu Dhabi. Recognising the urgency of the climate agenda and the inseparable connection between climate, biodiversity loss and pollution, ADERN will address the climate science-policy agenda by leveraging research resources toward inter-disciplinary multi-sectoral collaboration.

To support the research efforts of ADERN, EAD has developed the Abu Dhabi Environmental Research Needs Register, an extensive list of more than 200 research requirements. An Environmental Knowledge Graph System, a world-first innovation developed to analyse and communicate cause-effect relationships between humans and the environment, and the impact of a changed environment on human wellbeing. EAD’s enviroportal contains data from its 25 years of research. And an Environmental Research Directory will catalogue the hundreds of environmental researchers and allied innovators, also research facilities, research projects and events.  Collectively these tools will help stakeholders make science-based decisions that address the environmental challenges faced by the emirate.

Eight universities have joined ADERN as founding institutional members. These include Abu Dhabi University, Al Ain University, American University of Sharjah, Khalifa University, NYU Abu Dhabi, Sorbonne University Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates University (UAEU), and Zayed University.

Ahmed Baharoon, Executive Director of Environment Information, Science Outreach Management Sector, at EAD, highlighting the significance of the milestone during his keynote speech at the ADERN launch event, said: “We are facing unprecedented challenges such as climate change, biodiversity loss and pollution. We cannot ignore these issues, and time is of the essence. That is why today, we launch the Abu Dhabi Environmental Research Network, a groundbreaking initiative to revolutionise how we approach science-based problem-solving. Our mantra is simple yet powerful: Convene, Converge, Collaborate.

“We are bridging the gap between problems and solutions by harnessing the power of collective action. Through aligning research efforts with stakeholder needs and cultivating collaboration, we aim to create a comprehensive, multi-sectoral approach to environmental research and problem-solving, ensuring impactful outcomes.”

Over the past decade, Abu Dhabi has transformed into a global hub for innovation and scientific progression. The research capacity of the UAE has shown a significant 16-fold increase since 2000, highlighting its academic prowess. This exponential growth, backed by the expansion of existing universities and the establishment of new ones, underscores the emirate's continued commitment to a knowledge-driven economy and the pursuit of scientific breakthroughs.

As the UAE prepares to host COP28 in November 2023, the launch of ADERN showcases Abu Dhabi's determination to tackle climate change. The significant climate research milestone aligns with the vision of the Year of Sustainability and exemplifies Abu Dhabi’s commitment to advancing environmental stewardship and leaving a thriving planet for future generations.