Etisalat and BT sign deal with Khalifa University

Innovation centre to train local talent and develop new technology.

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By  George Bevir Published  October 7, 2008

Etisalat and BT have entered into an agreement with Khalifa University in Abu Dhabi in a bid to foster new technology for the companies and to train local talent.

Etisalat chairman Mohammad Hassan Omran, and BT chairman Sir Michael Rake signed a deal on Tuesday that will see them jointly fund and staff an innovation centre at Khalifa University, Abu Dhabi.

Omran described the proposed Etisalat BT Innovation Centre (EBTIC), which is expected to open in the first quarter of 2009, as “a key moment” for the telecommunications industry in the region, and he said he hoped it would help to plug the ICT skills gap in the Middle East.

“It is always difficult to get the right people, and we have that when we recruit people from all over the world.

“We hope part of today’s activities will develop more knowledgeable people to help us expand,” he said.

BT will provide centre management and research staff, while Etisalat will recruit researchers for the centre, which will be hosted by Khalifa University in its Abu Dhabi campus.

Both Etisalat and BT will share the intellectual property rights for technology developed at the centre which will focus its research on next generation networks, systems and services.

However, Etisalat’s chief operating officer Ahmad Abdulkarim Julfar said the main purpose of the centre was not profit.

“The value creation from the centre and educating young graduates here and having an innovation culture here is one of the ultimate goals of this centre.

“We are not creating it for commercial reasons, but we want it to be self-sustainable after three years,” he said.

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