IBM and MBZUAI join forces to advance AI research with new Center of Excellence

The collaboration will focus on three key pillars: natural language processing (NLP), including Arabic, AI applications in healthcare, and sustainability.

Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, May 25, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — Mohamed bin Zayed University of Artificial Intelligence (MBZUAI) – the world’s first graduate research university dedicated to artificial intelligence (AI) – has announced plans for a strategic collaboration with IBM (NYSE: IBM). Senior leaders from both organizations signed a memorandum of understanding aimed at advancing basic AI research, as well as accelerating the kinds of scientific breakthroughs that could unlock the potential of AI to help solve some of the humanity’s greatest challenges.

Teacher Eric Xingchairman of MBZUAI, delivered brief remarks, as did Jonathan AdashekIBM Senior Vice President and Chief Communications Officer, and Saad TomaManaging Director, IBM Middle East, and Africa. The agreement was then signed by Sultan El HajiVice President of Public Affairs and Alumni Relations of MBZUAI and Wael Abdouchgeneral manager IBM Gulf and Levant.

“We are delighted to be among the first research universities in the MENA region to host a center of excellence for AI research and development with the technology and expertise of a world-leading technology giant. like IBM. This center will provide very valuable resources and a collaborative environment for our faculty and students to expand their work in the field of AI. IBM has a long history of technological innovation, and we look forward to joining their latest efforts in our region and jointly advance AI technology and commercialization for the common good,” said MBZUAI Chairman, Professor Eric Xing mentioned.

Saad TomaManaging Director, IBM Middle East and Africasaid, “This collaboration will help drive innovations in AI, which is essential for the future of business and society. We bring together some of the brightest minds in industry and academia, while reinforcing IBM’s commitment to promoting knowledge and skills in areas critical to the development of the UAE, where the use of technologies such that AI is fundamental.”

The central element of the collaboration is the creation of a new center of excellence in artificial intelligence which will be based on the Masdar City university campus. The Center will leverage the talents of IBM researchers, in collaboration with MBZUAI faculty and students, and will focus on advancing basic and applied research goals.

The initiative aims to develop, validate and incubate technologies that harness the capabilities of AI to address civic, social and business challenges. In addition, the collaboration aims to deliver real-world applications, particularly in the areas of natural language processing, as well as AI applications that aim to advance climate and sustainability goals, and accelerate discoveries in the field of health.

IBM will provide targeted training and technologies as part of the initiative, which supports the university’s vision to be a global leader in advancing AI and its application for the good of society and business. For example, through the IBM Academic Initiative, IBM will provide MBZUAI students and faculty with access to IBM tools, software, courseware, and cloud accounts for teaching, learning, and non-commercial research. Moreover, through the IBM Skills Academy program, MBZUAI will have access to curriculum, lectures, labs, industry use cases, design thinking sessions, and an AI Practitioner certification.

The contemplated relationship is subject to the conclusion of definitive agreements between the parties.

About IBM

IBM is a leading global provider of hybrid cloud and artificial intelligence and business services. We help clients in over 175 countries capitalize on insights from their data, streamline business processes, reduce costs and gain competitive advantage in their industries. Nearly 3,000 government entities and enterprises in critical infrastructure areas such as financial services, telecommunications and healthcare rely on IBM’s hybrid cloud platform and Red Hat OpenShift to drive their digital transformations quickly, efficiently and safely. IBM’s breakthrough innovations in artificial intelligence, quantum computing, industry-specific cloud solutions, and business services provide open and flexible options for our customers. It’s all backed by IBM’s legendary commitment to trust, transparency, accountability, inclusiveness and service. Visit for more information.

About Mohamed bin Zayed University of Artificial Intelligence (MBZUAI)

MBZUAI is a graduate research university with a focus on artificial intelligence, computing and digital technologies across all industry sectors. The university aims to empower students, businesses, and governments to advance artificial intelligence as a global force for positive progress. MBZUAI offers various graduate programs designed to acquire advanced and specialized knowledge and skills in artificial intelligence, including computer vision, machine learning, and natural language processing. For more information, visit

For press inquiries, please contact:

Nicolas Demille

Jumana Akkawi

Deputy Director of Communications at

Director of Communications, IBM Middle East


and Africa and Central and Eastern Europe

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Aya Sakouri

Communication Manager at MBZUAI

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