Qatar Foundation is pouring in support for startups specializing in green energy in the United Kingdom (UK). The not-for-profit organization, which provides assistance to education, research, and community development, plans to shell out QAR18.20 bn ($5 bn) to establish a green energy research and development center that will be called “Project Oryx”.
Nurturing green energy innovations
A portion of the investment amounting to QAR6.8 bn will be used to establish a fund to support UK startups working on green energy innovations. The goal is to nurture these startups into “unicorn” companies valued at least QAR6.3 bn.
To attract entrepreneurs, a base near London, Cambridge, and Oxford, which are the UK’s “golden triangle” of tech-focused research cities, will be built. In the Qatari capital of Doha, there are also plans to create a university-style research facility. It will focus on advancing research in green aircraft fuel, carbon capture and storage, and long-term energy storage.
Rolls-Royce is a key partner, providing technical expertise to the project. Additionally, McKinsey & Co. is involved in the planning. According to the management consultancy firm, the initiative will generate 7,500 high-skilled jobs by 2030. It will also help develop businesses, which, in turn, could employ 30,000 more individuals within 15 years.
Qatar previously committed to funding the project for 20 years.
The establishment of a green energy tech center follows a memorandum of understanding signed between the Qatar Foundation and Rolls-Royce in October 2021. The center will “combine research and development, accelerator activities, and venture capital funding.”
Beyond green energy
Earlier this year, Qatar and the UK reaffirmed their commitment to boost partnership across critical sectors. These include electric vehicles, biotech, agritech, clean technologies, and life sciences.
Qatar’s Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs, Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al-Thani, and the UK’s Foreign Secretary, James Cleverly, signed a memorandum of understanding to launch the Strategic Dialogue. This is an annual platform that aims to expand bilateral trade.
From September 2021 to September 2022, the UK saw a remarkable 196 percent increase in goods and services trade with Qatar, reaching QAR52.8 bn. UK imports from the country are primarily responsible for the surge. In the said period, the value hit QAR36.6 bn, which represents a 443.5 percent increase year-on-year. Over 90 percent Of all the goods that the UK imported from Qatar are gas products.
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