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27 March, 2019 - 14:49 By Tony Quested

$1m Cambridge-Dubai venture seeks innovation to tackle societal crises

MBR innovation initiative

Cambridge University’s Institute for Manufacturing and The Mohammed bin Rashid Initiative for Global Prosperity Partner in Dubai have triggered a $1 million venture designed to find solutions to the world‘s toughest societal problems.

Monetary prizes, mentorship and access to global organisations contribute to the $1m being  dangled in front of technology entrepreneurs to form a global community of ‘makers’ to target acute problems said to affect more than a billion people.

In alignment with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, the Global Prosperity Initiative aims to empower entrepreneurs, innovators and technologists to drive social innovation and promote global good.

The Mohammed bin Rashid Initiative combines the Global Maker Challenge – an online open-innovation platform designed to promote and accelerate global prosperity through product innovation – and the Global Prosperity Award, an accolade that recognises and rewards corporate social responsibility advancing resilience, community, harmony and dignity across the world.

The challenge consists of four challenges, each targeting a specific global issue which global organisations can adopt as part of their corporate social responsibility visions. The challenges were determined in partnership with eight UN agencies and, so far, over 1,100 submissions have poured in from 83 countries, with strong participation from least developed countries such as Uganda, Laos, Sudan, and Congo.

Each of the winning solutions to the four challenges will be presented to a panel of international experts brought together by the IfM to demonstrate its socio-economic impact and its contribution to advancing one or more of the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals.

The panel will then determine the solution with the greatest socio-economic impact in order for its adopting organisation to qualify for the Global Prosperity Award as a recognition of its corporate social responsibility blueprint.

Badr Al-Olama, head of the organising committee for the Global Manufacturing and Industrialisation Summit, said: “The University of Cambridge has a long history of innovation in the fields of science and technology that has contributed immensely to society – a goal which is at the heart of the Mohammed bin Rashid Initiative for Global Prosperity.

“Our platform has already inspired thousands of innovators from all corners of the world to come forward and solve issues that we face together, whether that be in bridging the digital gap or eliminating hunger.

“Through our co-operation with the University of Cambridge and our partnerships with global organisations we can also encourage greater corporate social responsibility through the adoption of these solutions and promote global good through the international business community.”

Tim Minshall, Dr John C Taylor Professor of Innovation & head of the Institute for Manufacturing, added: “The Institute for Manufacturing is pleased to be part of this initiative which highlights the importance of taking innovative approaches to solve real-world problems.

“We are looking forward to hearing from innovators whose novel ideas have the potential to make a positive and lasting impact on global prosperity.”
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