Innovation within the UAE's Space Sector - past, present and future

UoM administered thesis: Doctor of Business Administration

  • Authors:
  • Khaled Alhashmi


This research builds on three projects that aim to investigate and explore innovation patterns adopted by the United Arab Emirates (UAE) over the past 15 years. The research proposes solutions to overcome observed issues, challenges and barriers facing emerging space countries, such as the UAE, in the development of its space sector and in particular its high technology manufacturing satellite sector. The proposed solution is articulated within the context of an integrated management system called Space Management Innovation System (SMIS) for the UAE. The SMIS was built by integrating the results and outcomes obtained from the three research projects here and aims to propose solutions for building indigenous capabilities in the high manufacturing technological satellite sector and research & development (R&D) capabilities in science, technology and innovation (ST&I) areas related to space at local universities, research centres and related manufacturing firms. The results from the first project reveal the past and present innovation patterns and developments adopted by the UAE in the expansion of its capabilities in the space sector. It reveals the shortfall in engaging local universities and research centres in the transfer of technology and know-how on design and manufacturing, assembly, integration and testing (MAIT) of satellites, and more importantly in the development of local R&D capabilities on space related ST&I areas, which is a critical requirement to sustain future development of the UAE’s space sector. The analysis reveals the importance of having a national ST&I roadmap for the purpose of aligning relevant actors and stakeholders on common visions and objectives, and prioritising and directing R&D activities towards upscaling existing capabilities and development of space related key and critical ST&I areas. In the second project, a country space-specific ST&I roadmap is proposed. An initial proposal is aimed to develop a conceptual model framework that integrates foresight methodology and technology roadmapping to scan and identify future technologies and opportunities, and to prioritise ST&I areas. In addition, it aims to guide the space sector on which R&D activities the main stakeholders, i.e. satellite operators, universities and relevant space or aerospace manufacturing firms in the UAE, need to focus their efforts on for the short and long term. An initial technology transfer model framework is proposed in the third project that can be applied in a future space technology transfer programme. It is aimed to provide a framework that can be utilised to sustain the development of indigenous capabilities on areas that an emerging space country such as the UAE desires to achieve over the short and the long term to meet national requirements and other strategic objectives. It capitalises and aligns existing and future satellite programmes with the capability development of R&D on prioritised ST&I areas, across local institutions, inclusive of universities, research centres and related manufacturing firms. The thesis consists of literature reviews, multiple case studies on a single country, i.e. the UAE, and a research synthesis of data sources, including secondary data from journals, market reports, technology roadmaps from various sources, and/or strategies of space agencies and the UAE’s strategies and policies, as well as primary data from surveys and workshops. This research attempts to provide solutions, methods and techniques that have not yet been sufficiently exploited within a geographical area and in an emerging space country such as the UAE. It is a novel and valuable contribution to academia and has considerable implications on management practices.


Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
Award date31 Dec 2018