IPA Qatar and Iberdrola agree to establish world-leading innovation centre to advance digital utility in Qatar
18 May 2022
18 May 2022, Doha – Qatar: The Investment Promotion Agency Qatar (IPA Qatar) and Iberdrola Group, announced a new partnership today to establish a world-leading innovation centre to advance digital utility in Qatar. The partnership will expand the Spanish group’s Research, Development, and Innovation (RDI) activities through the Doha-based Iberdrola Innovation Middle East.
The new collaboration aims to advance the digital utility industry by unlocking the growth potential of the RDI ecosystem in Qatar. The partnership also paves the way for the tech hub to further propel the development of its innovative products and solutions for government and businesses, particularly in Qatar’s expanding utilities sector. The hub, currently located in Qatar Science and Technology Park (QSTP), tackles the technology challenges related to innovation and digitalisation of the electrical grid by developing solutions in smart grids, renewable energy integration and energy efficiency.
In addition to serving the goal of boosting the RDI landscape and strengthening Qatar’s fast-paced digital transformation, the IPA Qatar-Iberdrola partnership sets the framework to develop local talent through Iberdrola’s skills development and training programmes. Similarly, it entails Iberdrola’s transfer of knowledge as well as sharing of Intellectual Property (IP) rights with relevant educational and industrial institutions.
In the presence of H.E. Sheikh Mohammed bin Hamad bin Qassim Al Abdullah Al-Thani, Minister of Commerce and Industry and Chairman of IPA Qatar; and José Ignacio S. Galán, Chairman and CEO, Iberdrola Group, the MoU was signed by Sheikh Ali Alwaleed Al-Thani, CEO, IPA Qatar and Santiago Bañales López, Managing Director, Iberdrola Innovation Middle East.
Sheikh Ali Alwaleed Al-Thani, CEO, IPA Qatar, said: “We are delighted to be working with Iberdrola towards realising our shared vision for Qatar’s digital transformation and the establishment of an innovative, knowledge-based economy. Furthermore, we expect the outcome of our collaboration to help power local and international enterprises’ growth ambitions in Qatar and the region, while building on the tech hub’s previous achievements and elevating Qatar’s RDI ecosystem to the next level.”
Ignacio S. Galán, Chairman and CEO, Iberdrola Group, said: “For more than 100 years, innovation has been the main tool to guarantee the sustainability, efficiency and competitivity of Iberdrola. The agreement signed today will further help to channel Iberdrola’s experience on innovation in the region and further reinforce the company’s commitment with Qatar.”
Santiago Bañales Lopez, Managing Director, Iberdrola Innovation Middle East, said: “This strategic agreement with IPA Qatar will be a catalysing factor to deepen our already very successful cooperation with the Qatari innovation ecosystem. The expanded innovation centre will continue to develop digital technology solutions to tackle the global challenges of the energy sector. Sustainability is and will be our key theme, in strong alignment with both Iberdrola’ s corporate strategy and Qatar’s National Vision 2030”.
Stimulating RDI growth
Over the last few years, significant strides have been made to revolutionise the RDI sector in Qatar and deepen the ongoing cultivation of a vibrant innovation ecosystem. Backed by future-ready infrastructure, a conducive business environment, and an unwavering commitment to advancing research and innovation, Qatar is spearheading a new legacy in the region. One of the latest national initiatives is the launch of the Qatar Research, Development, Innovation Strategy 2030 (QRDI 2030), which outlines a roadmap towards boosting the country’s innovation capabilities. It also eyes developing the market competitiveness over the long-run and creating new RDI-investment opportunities. Aligned with Qatar’s Second National Development Strategy 2018-2022 (NDS-2), the QRDI 2030’s seven transformational elements aim to collectively bring about an integrated RDI ecosystem that drives business R&D to increase efficiency, growth, and expansion. It also focuses on unlocking potential for private sector contribution and fostering a highly flexible regulatory environment that promotes business growth and attracts talent and foreign investment.
Complementing the national efforts to bolster RDI growth, IPA Qatar, as a gateway to all cross-sectoral investment solutions in Qatar, has been actively collaborating with national and international stakeholders to empower RDI-related businesses. Recently, IPA Qatar and Qatar Research, Development, and Innovation (QRDI) Council unveiled a new partnership to leverage experience and synergies to attract innovative businesses to Qatar. The two organisations will collaboratively support investors to launch their RDI activities, while fuelling the State’s transformative change towards a knowledge-based economy. Similarly, the QRDI Council announced recently a partnership with Qatar General Electricity & Water Corporation (Kahramaa) to unfold innovation opportunities related to water, energy and public services, while inviting the private sector to co-develop new and emerging technologies.
Other initiatives and platforms, such as TASMU and QSTP, have been launched to further advance the RDI ecosystem. QSTP continues to drive applied R&D by facilitating the development of new high-tech products and services and supports the commercialisation of market-ready technologies – leading to investment, job creation and economic impact. Today, the Park hosts more than 50 companies, including 20 multinational corporations (MNCs), and has contributed QR4.3 billion investment in research, development, and innovation activities. Similarly, the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology’s (MCIT) TASMU initiative provides an innovative platform that connects entrepreneurs, start-ups, investors, academics, researchers, students, multinational corporations, and institutions with the common goal of innovating new digital solutions.
With a $1.4 billion research fund, ranking as 1st in the Arab world for entrepreneurship and 3rd in the Global Innovation Index 2021, Qatar continues to accelerate the attractiveness of its R&D sector for foreign investors. The latest IPA Qatar-Iberdrola partnership underlines the country’s diverse business avenues and conducive landscape that support ambitious business growth plans. The expansion of Iberdrola’s services in Qatar complements the European Group’s moves to further deepen its footprint in the Middle East region.