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UAE Launches Seed Grants for Space Settlement Research

The Dubai Future Foundation has established the Mohammed bin Rashid Space Settlement Challenge; a seed grant fund to encourage research into future space settlement and space habitation initiatives.

This is the first project of the newly established Mohammed Bin Rashid Centre for Accelerated Research, an initiative of the Dubai Future Foundation (DFF).

The objective is to attract diverse and brilliant minds from around the world, in a variety of disciplines to explore technologies that might help us survive off-planet in future.

The seed grant is for AED2 million (around 500,000 Euro) and funds will be used to bankroll novel ideas and new business models that would support living and working in space.

Dubai Future Foundation’s CEO Khalfan 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 Challenge includes three categories:


Space Settlement—developing plans for locations that could support a thriving sustainable settlement in space accommodating at least 100 people. It explores essentials like construction automation, power, food, water, heating and cooling, while considering human factors.

Terraforming & Space Ecology—creating liveable long-term environments, formulating strategies for the responsible terraforming of off-planet bodies near the Moon, Mars, asteroids and other orbital habitats.

Economics, Business Model & Governance—developing business plans for optimal economics and resource utilisation and writing scenarios that identify private-sector partners interested in conducting commercial activities in space. The challenge also seeks to ensure good governance by proposing national policies that promote society’s awareness of peaceful settlement in space.

The Space Settlement Challenge is accepting proposals through a next-generation platform called “Guaana” which reduces the time and effort required to fund seed ideas.

Source: Press Release

Flight Chic take: It’s important to consider that while we often speak of space research in terms of off-planet activities the same technologies can improve life on Earth.

Space Settlement research into construction automation can help us develop new forms of housing which might ensure no one has to live on the streets, or could help develop better emergency housing. New forms power, food, water, heating and cooling may all contribute to a better quality of life for Earthlings, especially as the climate continues to change. The same can be said of Terraforming & Space Ecology.

The business models and developments that would support exploration are also likely to help us build better societies on this little blue pearl—the only planet we can truly call our own.

Bright ideas are welcome. If you have one, apply here through March 10:




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