The only exhibition of its kind, showcasing graduate projects from over 100 universities from 43 countries, in the fields of design, science, technology and engineering, Global Grad Show returns with the most diverse edition todate. New entrants include established names such as Columbia University, Goldsmiths and The University of Pennsylvania, alongside leading universities from countries participating for the first time, including Colombia, Kuwait and the Philippines.

Global Grad Show is a significant component of Dubai Design Week, which is held under the patronage of Her Highness Sheikha Latifa Bint Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Chairperson of Dubai Culture & Arts Authority. Earlier this year, Global Grad Show was named as a key initiative under the Dubai Culture and Arts Authority’s plan to evolve Dubai into a global hub for culture and innovation.

Her Highness Sheikha Latifa Bint Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Chairperson of Dubai Culture and Arts Authority, said: “As a platform for the next generation of designers, Global Grad Show is one of the most vital elements of Dubai Design Week, offering unprecedented opportunities for students and graduates to present their work to organisations, investors and the wider public. The presentations feature design-driven solutions for a wide range of global challenges from climate change to accessibility to science and health. This initiative is at the heart of Dubai’s vision to create a brighter future for all people through progress and innovation.Global Grad Show is a call to action for government and private entities to revisit their challenges and needs in response to current socioeconomic issues. I encourage all entities to engage with the students and collaborate to bring their ideas to life.”

His Excellency Mohammed I Al Shaibani, Executive Director and Chief Executive Officer of Investment Corporation of Dubai, said: “With each year of Investment Corporation of Dubai’s participation at Global Grad Show, we have witnessed ever greater enthusiasm and interest from the international cultural, creative, and intellectual communities. This reception is a true endorsement to the caliber that the Global Grad Show has developed over its five years. It brings the most innovative minds to Dubai, and facilitates the advancement of society through new design solutions. These are key drivers for ICD’s partnership with the Global Grad Show, and it gives me great pleasure to welcome everyone back to Dubai.”

Under the curation of Eleanor Watson, Global Grad Show explores how innovation can impact our lives through different spheres: The Human, The Home, The Community, The City and The Planet. Some of the projects correspond to themes such as health, wealth & disparity, gender & equality, sustainability, education and technology. The projects for Global Grad Show are selected based on their response to a range of criteria, as well as the four tenets of the exhibition: Innovation, Impact, Equality and Exchange.

Ranging from high-tech to low-tech solutions, highlight projects in the 2019 exhibition include: ‘Swiv’, a toothbrush for children with cognitive disabilities, allowing them to clean their teeth with a single physical motion; ‘Jarvis’, a mixed reality headset, enabling doctors to accurately measure the brain’s response to distractions or activities when conducting cognitive tests for severe head trauma, pharmaceutical efficacy and ADHD; and ‘Ro-Biotics’, a microscopic robot created from 4D printed materials to be ingested in the place of an antibiotic, which captures infections in the blood stream.

Entrepreneurship program

Offering participating graduatesthe opportunity to advance their projects into start-ups, the Global Grad Show Entrepreneurship Programme invites graduates to interact with stakeholders from the entrepreneurship ecosystem and focuses on training that covers business skills and methodologies to develop their projects.

Mohammad Al Shehhi, CEO of ARM Holding said: “The decade-long investment we are making through the ARM fund for Global Grad Show speaks to our earnest dedication to social and economic endeavors working for the benefit of society. We are proud to be helping graduates from all over the world turn their innovative concepts into reality.”

The program’s ambition is to support graduates to develop viable businessesand attract young innovation talent from around the world, to Dubai through the support of A.R.M. Holding and in line with the Emirate’s vision to elevate the level of talent flowing into the country and region.

Record attendance at Dubai Design Week

Staged in strategic partnership with Dubai Design District (d3), with the support of Dubai Culture & Arts Authority (DCAA) alongside Audi and A.R.M. Holding, the region’s largest creative festival welcomed over 90,000 visitors to d3 with an extensive program of 200 activities including talks, workshops large-scale site-specific installations, exhibitions and trade fairs. Reflecting the city’s position as the regional hub for design and creativity, over 560 designers from across the world took part in the festival that over its five years has become established as a key event in the global design calendar.

Benedict Floyd, CEO of Art Dubai Group, which owns and manages the event, said: “By bringing together designers from across the world and facilitating the immense wealth of creative talent in the region in commercial and non-commercial activities, Dubai Design Week has grown exponentially in terms of programming, audience and the number of participants. This year’s edition reiterates the vast potential for growth in Dubai’s creative industries, and we are sincerely grateful to our partners, sponsors, participants and over 150 volunteers for making this all possible”.

Khadija Al Bastaki, Executive Director of d3 said, “As strategic partner of Dubai Design Week, we are thrilled with how well-received this edition has been. This year has truly been the best ever – with a significant increase in footfall, d3’s partnership with Dubai Design Week ensures that Dubai is firmly placed at the centre of the creative and innovation-based industries and we look forward to seeing this continue. From the Global Grad Show, which provided a platform for the exceptional talent of 150 projects by international students, to Downtown Design showcasing the work of hundreds of exhibitors, the festival hosted a very high calibre of design installations, activations, talks and workshops bringing some of the best design-related content to Dubai.”

Reflecting Dubai Design Week’s objectives of establishing Dubai as a global hub for social impact design and being a platform to support and promote regional and UAE based designers, three awards were announced during the week:

ICD progress prize winner

The winning project of Global Grad Show’s ICD Progress Prize was announced as Poleno, a silent drone that helps to rebuild damaged ecosystems by stimulating pollination. Designed by Laura Cragnolini and Juan Jose Martinez Guerrero from Instituto Europeo di Design, Madrid, Poleno is a traveling device that mimics the purpose of a flower, attracting insects through its bright colors and built-in light. The ICD Progress Prize celebrates the next generation of innovators and their commitment to finding solutions for social and environmental issues and awards the winner $10,000 to enable them to further develop their project presented at Global Grad Show.

Audi Innovation Awards 2019

Audi Middle East announced Pincher by Twelve Degrees as the winner of the fourth Audi Innovation Award, responding to this year’s theme of ‘simplification’. Selected from over 2,500 submissions from across the Middle East, the winning project is a physical interpretation of the phrase “a pinch of salt”. Rather than shaking salt and pepper out of a dispenser, the process has been represented through the motion of pinching a lightweight silicon device whereby the opening of the nozzle is precisely the amount that would be released from between your own fingertips. Sahar Madanat from Twelve Degrees received US $25,000 in consultancy to develop her project which was showcased together with the two runners up within the Audi Innovation Hub in d3

Rado Star Prize UAE

Swiss watch maker Rado brought the Rado Star prize to the UAE offering UAE-based design talent an opportunity to launch their career on the international stage. This year, Rado announced Aya Charife as the winner of the Rado Star Prize with her project Takyeef, an outdoor element that functions as an air conditioner, which can be fixed in a repetitive formation constructed as high and as wide as the area that requires thermal change. Established in various countries around the world, the competition supports young, unestablished designers, allowing them to submit their innovative proposals for a chance to be featured at Dubai Design Week the following year, focusing on the idea of design as something enduring, long-lasting and versatile. Aya Charife received AED 20,000 in prize money and a Rado watch.