Open research funding platform Guaana piloted its fund distribution platform in partnership with the Dubai Future Foundation (DFF). The Mohammed bin Rashid Space Settlement Challenge fund (2,000,000 AED, approximately U.S.$540,000) will be distributed as seed grants for all areas of research that explore bold ideas and radical solutions for living and working in space. The call for proposals is open until 10 April, 2018.
The announced MBR Space Settlement Challenge provides global grants to support preliminary research into ambitious ideas and concepts that explore the future of human space settlement and habitation. It aims to attract the best talent from all over the world and is targeted to researchers with a Ph.D. degree (or equivalent) or early career researchers enrolled in a Ph.D. study regardless of discipline, background, or nationality.
The space challenge is composed of three main categories: Space Settlement, Terraforming and Space Ecology, and Economics, Business Model and Governance.
Seed grants up to 60,000 AED (approximately U.S.$16,000) are distributed using a novel funding model where applicants also evaluate each other’s proposals and collectively make all funding decisions. This unique approach designed and facilitated by Guaana gets researchers more involved and cuts the decision period to 30 days.
“We’re excited to launch this pilot with Dubai Future Foundation — a governmental partner that shares Guaana’s vision and global ambition for research funding that is open and fair,” said Guaana’s CEO Marko Russiver. “Our funding model is built on the principles of transparency and stakeholder governance. There are many industries where digital platforms combine these elements in ways that have changed the way we conduct our daily lives. We want to bring a similar shift to research funding and look forward to building a framework that works equally well for researchers and funders.”
Dubai Future Foundation’s CEO, Khalfan Juma Belhoul, said, “The UAE has set itself on an ambitious path to lead the global space race, establishing the first city on Mars as per the 2117 Mars Project. Space research is the logical next step in humanity’s search for knowledge and survival, and an advanced means to preserve human cultures, societies, and economies. The Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Settlement Challenge we are launching today is designed to provide support for creative minds, unconventional ideas, innovative designs, and research.”
The Guaana open research funding platform helps researchers to find relevant funding as well as allies and sparring partners for nascent research projects. Founded in Estonia in late 2014, it has attracted a community of more than 3,000 scientists and experts from 157 countries.
The Dubai Future Foundation was launched in April 2016 by UAE Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai H.H. Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum. DFF is an independent think tank based on the Dubai Future Agenda, where the Foundation plays a pivotal role in shaping the future vision and industry of Dubai.