Developing a world-class health system is of a crucial importance to sustain both the social and economic development of a nation. The UAE has been focusing on the healthcare sector to enhance the nation’s quality of life and treat prevalent diseases. In line with this vision the National Innovation Strategy prioritized the healthcare sector and promoted innovation in the delivery of healthcare services.


The importance of the science and technology behind robotic and mechatronic systems in their application to health, medicine and biology cannot be stressed enough. Robot assisted surgery, biomedical engineering and health devices have vastly improved the quality of life for humans across the globe. They have revolutionized how physicians and public health practitioners undertake new and innovative solutions to address the issues facing this generation and beyond. This is an ever-growing field in which the R&D of new biomedical solutions will help in maintaining the UAE as a major player in this sector.



Genomic technologies in tandem with bioinformatics cover a wide gamut of biological topics such as computational RNA processing, comparative informatics on gene function and evolution, and epigenetic variations in disease. With these emerging technologies which contribute to big data and possess limitless potential in healthcare, there is also a need to sort and analyze every data entry point in a way that is cost efficient but still comprehensive in addressing the health concerns of both the Middle East and beyond. This field of study allows for the detection of personalized genes relevant to the Arab population, which in consequence allows for the development of personalized medicine for the Middle Eastern population.




To qualify for the Sandooq Al Watan Research and Development (SWARD) grant, the proposed project must meet the following criteria:

  • Only purpose-driven and applied scientific research proposals will be considered. Basic research is ineligible.
  • Proposals must demonstrate potential long-term social and economic benefits to the U.A.E and its industries.
  • Projects are expected to be financially supported at a minimum of 50% cash contribution (there must be a second source of funding) allocable and traceable to the proposed research projects i.e. Direct Costs. In-kind contributions including indirect costs (existing research capital expenditures, fixed & administrative costs, and principal investigators’ compensation) are not deemed as cash contributions.
  • Proposals may only be submitted by academic research institutions’ Principal Investigators. The institution must be accredited in, and having a campus located in, the UAE.
  • A member of the research team must be a UAE national.
  • A research proposal must be submitted as per Sandooq Al Watan guidelines and mandatory templates, including the Proposal Template and Budget Template.
  • International collaborations are highly encouraged and will receive greater priority.


Full Proposal Preparation and Submission

Letter of Intent: Not required

Full Proposal: Applicants must submit a full proposal electronically through The applicant can download the Proposal Template Here and upload it electronically through the proposal submission platform,


Required Supporting Documentations:

  • A Letter of endorsement from the university’s respective office providing official institutional endorsement of the full proposal including pre-award review of application, research ethics approval (if required), and granting the applicant permission to use the institution’s resources. The letter of endorsement must also confirm that the proposed major equipment does not exist already in the institution.
  • Budget Proposal: The applicant can download the Budget Template here and upload it electronically on the discussion board after submitting the application (budget template must be submitted on the same submission deadline, October 4th 2022).
  • Mentoring plan: Proposals that request funding to support personnel should include a description of the mentoring activities that will be provided for such individuals. The mentoring plan must not exceed one page.


Budgetary Information Funding scheme:

Proposed projects will only be co-funded by Sandooq Al Watan where a second source of funding has been secured prior to proposal submission.


Anticipated Funding Amount:

The program intends to support a variety of projects in its first phase, with the majority having small budget classifications (AED 200K-500K) or medium classifications (AED 600K-800K). There is limited availability for larger projects (maximum of AED 2 million). Submissions with reasonable budgetary funding expectations will have a greater chance of being selected for grants. 


Evaluation Criteria

Proposals received by the submission deadline date will be reviewed by a dedicated scientific review committee. The external review panel will evaluate the proposals based on but not limited to the following criteria:

  • Overall Impact
    Was the potential for the proposed activity to
    1. Addresses a local industrial challenge and/or a pressing global issue?
    2. Benefits the society or advances the local economy with clear commercial impact (Broader Impacts)?
  • Significance
    Does the project address a crucial problem or a critical barrier to progress in the field?
  • Innovation
    To what extent do the proposed activities suggest and explore creative, original, or potentially transformative concepts?
  • Approach
    Is the plan for carrying out the proposed activities well-reasoned, well-organized, and based on a sound rationale? Does the plan incorporate a mechanism to assess success?
  • Investigators(s)
    How well qualified is the individual, team, or organization to conduct the proposed activities?
  • Emiratization
    Does the project include Emirati individuals as team members?
  • Co-funding partnership
    Has a second source of funding been secured for this project?
  • International Collaboration
    Does the project include a collaboration with a reputable international institution or individuals?
  • Resources
    Are there adequate resources available to the PI (either at the home organization or through collaborations) to carry out the proposed activities?
  • Budget and Timeline
    Is the budget and the requested period of support fully justified and reasonable in relation to the proposed research?


Pre-Award Process

 On the bases of the external review panel’s evaluation and recommendation, suitable projects will be short-listed for funding. The applicant will be informed of the results and will be asked to attend a formal meeting, as a form of a final evaluation, to discuss the project details or to discuss the external review panel’s comments, if any.


Project Awarding and Reporting

 Following the confirmation of project’s details with the applicants, Sandooq Al Watan will select the projects to be funded.

For all multi-year projects, the principle investigator or primary applicant must submit quarterly progress reports (some projects might require the submission of more frequent reports). No later than 60 days following the end of the project funding period, the principle investigator must submit a final project report, which includes the project outcomes.

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 The following are SAW’s initial terms & conditions and some terms will be negotiated with the respective party upon awarding. Parties that choose to submit proposals to the R&D program must agree to the following terms & conditions:

  1. By making a submission to SWARD, applicants hereby agree to abide by the following terms and conditions, which also encompass any submission criteria outlined throughout the application process or mentioned on any of SAW web pages in relation to the R&D program.
  2. SAW will not accept responsibility for any submissions that are submitted incorrectly, lost by the submitter, mislaid or delayed.  Any submissions made after the submission deadline will not be accepted, unless SAW express through written correspondence that we have made an exception.
  3. Submissions must be the applicant(s) own work and SAW reserves the right, using any available method of its choosing, to check all and any portions of submissions for plagiarism.  Any submissions deemed to have been a product of plagiarism, or research misconduct, in whole or in part, shall be disqualified.
  4. All submissions will be reviewed, scored and shortlisted by judging panels chosen at SAW preference.  All decisions made by these panel(s) are final.  However, appropriate justification behind decisions may be requested by applicants.
  5. Applicants are responsible for ensuring that they hold full copyright in their own submissions or have obtained the necessary permissions to submit anything that may be copyrighted.  We may also share information, upon approval from the applicants, with other funders, government departments, regulatory agencies, partners and others with a legitimate interest in funding research projects.
  6.  SAW may, with reasonable time and notice, amend grant amounts and deadlines for upcoming cycles. 
  7.  Applicants must get written permission before making any changes to the project or to its aims, structure, delivery, outcomes, duration or ownership.  If these changes are agreed to and approved by SAW, SAW reserves the right to add any additional conditions. 
  8.  SAW reserves the right to amend the general terms & conditions posted on the website but will provide all applicants with appropriately timed notice before submission begins.
  9.  Depending on the awarded project, specific terms & conditions will be communicated and negotiated between the parties involved.

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04 OCT 2022


06 FEB 2023