Innovation and R&D

Enabling growth through innovation and R&D

We adopt a long-term investment approach, consistently seeking opportunities aligned with Abu Dhabi's innovation and R&D agenda. By driving the development and market entry of new products, services, business models and ways of working, we strive to transform our portfolio companies into globally competitive businesses, creating value and fostering sustainable growth.

ADQ’s Growth Lab

ADQ Growth Lab

Bringing together a community dedicated to innovation & R&D

We take a long-term view to investment and continuously identify opportunities than can complement Abu Dhabi’s innovation agenda and solidify its wider ambitions of enhancing R&D throughout the economy. In doing so, we are driving the creation and market access of new products and services and introducing novel ways of working that can enhance the competitiveness of our assets. 

Learn more about ADQ’s portfolio

Building a high-impact partner ecosystem

Launched in 2022, the ADQ Growth Lab aims to build an ecosystem of partners to accelerate Abu Dhabi’s innovation agenda by bringing together start-ups, scale-ups, technology corporations, regulators and universities to nurture the development of innovative solutions across ADQ’s portfolio. Our partnerships are designed to boost the commercial potential of R&D, solve real world challenges, capture opportunities and initiate cross-sector collaboration.

Read More

Funding the future

To empower the ADQ Growth Lab as a catalyst for change, a AED 100 million (USD 27.2 million) fund has been established to finance R&D testbed projects, enabling our portfolio companies to seamlessly build, test and learn, while minimizing friction and expediting the journey to scale and value. We support the discovery, design, development and trial of promising ideas and solutions, showcasing our commitment to driving innovation for value creation and sustainable impact across key sectors of the UAE’s economy.

Read More

Nurturing highly skilled talent under ADQ Growth Lab

Highly skilled talent is essential to bring Abu Dhabi’s vision to strengthen R&D throughout the economy to life. As a partner of the Government of Abu Dhabi, we are actively nurturing advanced skillsets among ADQ’s people and capturing fresh talent and new ways of thinking from local universities, enabled by our partnerships and joint projects with academic institutions. Our collaborations with Microsoft Business School and INSEAD are already supporting the growth and development of skilled talent across ADQ’s portfolio to further drive efficiencies and applications across all our sector clusters.

Read More

Innovation in numbers

Leaders from 24 ADQ portfolio companies
ADQ-funded testbed projects
Partner-funded innovation and R&D projects
Innovation champions trained

Impact case studies

The ADQ Growth Lab has played a pivotal role in fostering innovative developments across our portfolio, spurring advancements that strengthen the resilience of ADQ’s portfolio companies.

Silal net-zero greenhouse with Desolenator

Challenge: Greenhouses require significant water for irrigation and cooling in the region, often achieved through desalination. However, the salinity and scarcity of freshwater in sub-optimal environments necessitate developing innovative water and energy solutions to minimize the cost and carbon footprint of food production.

Innovation: Silal, in partnership with Desolenator, a solar thermal desalination start-up headquartered in the Netherlands, has developed the world’s first net-zero greenhouse system, using solar energy to power and irrigate crops within the greenhouses.

Impact: The system has been successfully developed and installed at Silal’s Innovation Oasis in Abu Dhabi, with the potential for licensing and distribution across the UAE and the wider region.

Coral reef restoration with Environment Agency - Abu Dhabi and Archireef

Challenge: Scientists warn that we may witness a 70 to 90 per cent decrease in live coral on reefs by 2050 without concentrated action to limit global warming.

Innovation: ADQ partnered with Environment Agency – Abu Dhabi and Archireef, a climate technology company headquartered in Hong Kong, to deploy 40 square meters of terracotta clay reef tiles near Um Khorah Island.

Impact: The deployment of reef tiles is expected to increase both biodiversity and fish species diversity. Ongoing monitoring efforts are in place to facilitate the site’s transition to a self-sustaining reef.

Etihad: Charting a path towards sustainable flying with SATAVIA

Challenge: Contrails, the primary cause of aviation’s non-CO₂ impact, contribute to nearly 60 percent of global aviation’s total climate impact, with a footprint equivalent to 1.8 billion tons of CO₂.

Innovation: Etihad has partnered with SATAVIA, an aerospace start-up headquartered in the United Kingdom, to implement its contrail management system. This system optimizes commercial flight plans, incorporating minor routing changes to prevent the formation of persistent warming contrails, without impacting fuel efficiency. The methodology is on track to receive Gold Standard certification, giving Etihad and SATAVIA the potential to scale up the technology to contribute greater industry understanding of contrails and non-CO₂ impacts of aviation.

Impact: With the validation of contrail avoidance measures, the solution offers Etihad a significant CO₂ savings, along with commercial opportunities through the issuance of carbon credits. The partnership toward certification further supports the industry’s development of technologies with verified climate benefits, contributing to aviation’s long-term sustainability goals.

ADNEC Group: TerraTile - Advancing Sustainable Event Flooring

Challenge: In the events industry, conventional flooring solutions have historically presented environmental concerns, contributing to waste accumulation and resource utilization.

Innovation: ADNEC Group, in collaboration with Terrax Environmental Limited, has introduced TerraTile, a 100% recycled modular flooring system crafted from waste and fully recyclable. This circular product offers a sustainable alternative to traditional event flooring.

Impact: Each TerraTile, equivalent to over five kilograms of recycled waste, contributes to environmental conservation by creating a new sustainable standard for events. This innovation inspires industry-wide adoption of eco-conscious practices.

AD Ports Group: Eco Sea Walls – Enhancing Marine Ecosystems

Challenge: Coastal development can disrupt marine ecosystems, potentially leading to biodiversity loss while also presenting opportunities for restoration and enhancement.

Innovation: AD Ports Group and Archireef have introduced Eco Sea Wall Panels made from nature-based materials, including oyster shell powder, to attract marine life back to developed shorelines and enhance biodiversity.

Impact: Eco Sea Wall Panels represent a strategic step towards enhancing marine ecosystems, aligning with AD Ports Group's environmental objectives. By increasing natural complexity along flat quay walls, these panels not only attract intertidal marine life but also showcase the potential of eco-engineering to address environmental challenges beyond coral reefs.

Silal: Quinoa Value Chain Development

Challenge: Facing the challenge of food security, quinoa, recognized as a superfood, holds promise to help address global food needs due to its qualities as a climate-resilient and nutrient-dense crop.

Innovation: Silal partnered with the International Center for Biosaline Agriculture, a non-profit agricultural research center, to trial two new drought-resistant, saline water-tolerant quinoa varieties, with the goal of seed and grain production in the UAE.

Impact: Establishing a sustainable quinoa value chain enhances the UAE's food security, reduces import dependence, introduces healthier food options and provides Silal with opportunities to diversify and increase its product offerings.

Ecosystem partners