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Hot Topics

     In June 2011, NRF started funding seven separate policy research projects that have been undertaken by teams of researchers during 2011. Each team is working on a project to provide a policy brief for the UAE government. The teams were assembled by invitation and will report the results of their findings by November 2011. The suggested topics are introduced below.

1. An insight into the aspirations of young Emiratis. The world is changing rapidly and change within UAE is in many ways even more rapid. This dramatic change in the economic and social fabric of UAE inevitably affects young Emiratis and their perceptions of their place and roles in UAE and the world more generally. This project will investigate questions concerning the dreams, fears and hopes of young UAE nationals. Consideration will be given to social and economic questions that impact upon the feelings and identity of young Emiratis. (Team leader: Dr Nasr Arif, ZU)

2. An investigation into Justice System experiences of young Emiratis. Why do some young Emiratis fall into the Justice System? What are the characteristics of these young nationals? What are the causes and consequences of their brush with Justice? What happens to young nationals after an experience with the Justice system? Iscrime amongst young nationals on the increase? These are some of the important questions to be investigated by this important study. (Team leader: Dr Robert Villa, UAEU)

3. An investigation into the labor market behavior and characteristics of Emirati unemployed, with special emphasis on young unemployed. Why are there unemployed Emiratis? What is there about the labor market characteristics and behavior of unemployed Emiratis that may explain their unemployment? Are young unemployed Emiratis different in their labor market behavior and characteristics compared to older unemployed? What practical policy proposals may be implemented to help overcome national unemployment? (Team leader: Dr Mouawija Al Awad, ISER, ZU).

4. Using Social Networks and Mobile Messaging to enhance national pride, community spirit and access to services for young UAE Nationals. Most young nationals use social networking and mobile messaging for almost all their social and information needs. How can we use these low-cost and pervasive systems to enhance a sense of national identity and belonging to their communities? How can we use it to deliver information about the achievements of the nation, the opportunities for jobs and education? How could we use these technologies to enable young Emiratis to express and share their aspirations, hopes and concerns, in a widely-understood and constructive manner with their peers, elders and leaders? These are some of the questions to be addressed in this study. (Team Leader: Dr Simon Jones, HCT).

5. An investigation into the educational aspirations and expectations of Emirati secondary school students. Emirati secondary school students are connected globally via the internet and social media tools. They also make extensive use of modern gaming technology. What impact is their access to and use of these media tools and technologies having upon their educational aspirations and the expectations? Particularly their attitude to their secondary schooling experience? Is there a disconnect between their electronic media rich life outside school and their in-school learning experiences? This study will identify whether a gap exists and if it does what it means for schools, teaching and teaching methods, and curriculum development. (Team Leader: Dr Ken Carr, ZU).

6. An investigation into the competitiveness of the UAE economy with special reference to the economic diversification strategies of Abu Dhabi and Dubai. This study will investigate questions concerning whether the economic diversification strategies of Abu Dhabi and Dubai help improve the international competitiveness of the UAE economy. To what extent are the strategies of Abu Dhabi and Dubai competitive or complementary with each other and with the Federal government policy agenda? What policies might the national government put in place to help improve the competitiveness of the UAE economy that supports the diversification strategies of Abu Dhabi and Dubai? (Team leader: Dr Jay Squalli, AUS).

7. An analysis of the Health Status of the UAE. This study will present a report on the health status of the country by combining data from all three major sources of public health data: Ministry of Health, Health Authority of Abu Dhabi and Dubai Health Authority. The study will determine the major health concerns for UAE nationals and identify whether there are any differences between regions in the country. The study will identify the major public health issues for which public health policy needs to be developed. (Team leader: Dr Tar-Ching Aw, UAEU Medical School).