The innovation landscape is being reshaped – the Technology Innovation Institute is playing a big role

Technology Innovation Institute's (TII) research centers combine multiple core capabilities to reinforce Abu Dhabi’s and the UAE's status as a global hub for innovation.

The innovation landscape is being reshaped – the Technology Innovation Institute is playing a big role
[Source photo: Anvita Gupta/Fast Company Middle East]

What makes Abu Dhabi such a great incubator of ideas? Perhaps it is the emirate’s unparalleled spirit of innovation and ability to converge diverse perspectives, cultures, and ideas to reimagine a better, more inclusive future world. Abu Dhabi has elevated its status among the world’s technology leaders with the establishment of the Technology Innovation Institute (TII), a leading global scientific research center and the applied research pillar of Abu Dhabi’s Advanced Technology Research Council (ATRC).

Recognizing the importance of diversity in innovation, TII aligns itself with the changing times and evolving stakeholder needs. Increasingly, the Institute’s investments in advanced technology R&D, global reach, engineering prowess, and expanding design capabilities are vital to its clients in building agile, innovative solutions.


“TII is leveraging collaborations with industry and academia to drive transformative technology outcomes and address global challenges, thereby creating meaningful impacts on the larger global community,” says Dr. Ray O. Johnson, CEO of TII.

TII is home to 10 research centers, each focusing on one technical area – Advanced Materials, Artificial Intelligence and Digital, Autonomous Robotics, Cryptography, Directed Energy, Quantum, Secure Systems, Propulsion and Space, Biotechnology, and Renewable and Sustainable Energy.

Working at the intersection of discovery science and technology, these research centers forge breakthrough solutions to help future-proof society.

For instance, TII’s AI Cross-Center Unit, known for creating NOOR, the largest Arabic language model, has developed Falcon LLM, which has 40 billion parameters and has been trained on one trillion tokens. Despite using only 75% of GPT-3’s training compute, 40% of Chinchilla’s, and 80% of PaLM-62B’s, Falcon LLM outperforms GPT-3. Having recently open-sourced the LLM, TII’s Falcon 40B has risen to the top spot of Hugging Face’s independent open-source ranking beating Meta’s LLaMA 65B.


TII enables clients to transition to the future and capitalize on opportunities created via technological advances.

For instance, the Directed Energy Research Center (DERC) developed a Ground Penetrating Radar (GPR) capable of transforming commercial demining operations by boosting safety, reducing costs, and ultimately, improving efficiency.

The GPR scans the ground and delivers data to research teams about objects buried underground, like metallic or plastic landmines.

While the use cases for this technology highlight its value to the humanitarian demining process, the most critical impact is in developing-world countries, with civilians accounting for most landmine victims and casualties when they step on these mines long after armed conflict has ceased.

Another technology from the Autonomous Robotics Research Center is the (ARRC) Unmanned Ground Vehicle (UGV). UGVs provide autonomous navigation from one location to the next and can be operated remotely on the ground without human intervention. These devices ensure a safe distance between the operator and potential danger.

Meanwhile, TII’s AI and Digital Science Research Center (AIDRC) unveiled its XR UAV Control – demonstrating the potential of ultra-reliable communications with its ability to transform communication paradigms. The prototype suggests that one can transport senses, like sight or sound, with low latency from one point of the planet to another using a 5G public network – a holistic VR experience. In addition to this initiative, AIDRC works with multiple work streams, including wireless communications (B5G, 6G), to bring to life operational and practical solutions to critical challenges faced across vertical markets during their digital transformation.


With TII’s latest research centers – the Propulsion and Space Research Center (PSRC), Biotechnology Research Center (BRC), and Renewable and Sustainable Energy Research Center (RERC) all recently going live, the institute is set to deepen its value-add in Abu Dhabi’s thriving advanced technology ecosystem and strengthen the emirate’s credentials as a preferred R&D hub.

Furthermore, as part of ATRC’s NexTech Program, TII is encouraging the next generation of talented UAE nationals in the STEM domain to pursue exciting careers in R&D across its research centers.

Through its research centers, TII aims to empower UAE’s transition to a knowledge-based economy. Thanks to its collaborative efforts with some of the brightest in academia and industry, TII also seeks to strengthen the UAE’s status as a research ecosystem based on its foundational values of curiosity, excellence, integrity, and respect.


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