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Grant Reilly


7th March 2022


Scotland Inspires Young Minds With Digital Health Challenge at Expo 2020 Dubai

600 young people from the UAE and Scotland participate in a collaborative digital health innovation competition.

Scotland has celebrated the winners of the 2021 DigiInventors Challenge at Expo 2020 Dubai - a competition for young people to develop digital solutions to daily health challenges.

Now in its fifth year, 150 teams of 600 young people from both the UAE and Scotland took part in this year’s Challenge, which was founded by the Digital Health & Care Innovation Centre in Scotland (DHI). Each team was tasked with identifying health issues that affect the daily lives of many, and came up with ideas that could be transformed into real digital health and care solutions.

A team of four students from the Pristine Private School in Dubai won the competition with their innovative idea to create a wearable headband that aims to reduce visual and auditory hallucinations in Schizophrenia patients. Sensors built into the headband would be designed to feedback brain activity with a paired smartphone application that notifies users of any abnormal brain activity.

The annual challenge is delivered by DHI in association with the professional Scottish rugby team, the Glasgow Warriors, and aims to highlight opportunities in the digital health and care sector as well as the skills required for success.

This year’s collaborative challenge was also supported by a number of partners including Heriot-Watt University Dubai, the DigiInventors delivery partner in Dubai, and Okadoc, a UAE-based health tech company that supported the winning team in developing a prototype of their digital health idea.

Other Scottish partners included dressCode, Scottish Edge, The Scottish Tech Army and Orcha, who all contributed to the 2-day virtual boot camp.

The prize-giving ceremony, held at the UK Pavilion at Expo 2020 Dubai, included a tour of the UK Pavilion.

Professor Ammar Kaka, Provost and Vice-Principal at Heriot-Watt University Dubai, who delivered a speech at the award ceremony, said: “The DigiInventors Challenge provides young minds with an opportunity to produce creative solutions to some of the world’s most pressing issues affecting the youth, and we are very excited to be part of this unique event.

“The competition focuses on the potential of the digital health sector in combating healthcare challenges that affect the younger generation, such as obesity and diabetes caused by sedentary lifestyles, stress, and hereditary issues.

“A report by the Strategy & and the Emirates Youth Council states that 82 per cent of the population between 11 and 17 in the UAE do not get enough physical activity. As a higher education institute, we undertake several initiatives and offer opportunities that encourage students to be more active.

“Events such as the DigiInventors Challenge help us develop a better understanding of challenges and devise appropriate solutions.”

Prizes were handed out by Nicholas Maclean, Scottish Government Trade Envoy to the UAE, who said: “DigiInventors highlighted the incredible talent that exists amongst our young people and the creativity in the digital healthcare sector. It was a privilege to present awards to the winners and I would like to offer my congratulations to all of the applicants who entered the competition in Scotland and the UAE.

“Scotland is keen to share its expertise, knowledge and experience in delivering an integrated healthcare system and collaborate with and learn from international partners, like the United Arab Emirates.”

Deputy Chief Executive of the Digital Health & Care Innovation Centre, Moira McKenzie, said: “I am delighted to see the huge enthusiasm and growing momentum for our DigiInventors Challenge. We have deliberately reached out this year through our global networks to create international opportunities for learning and sharing.

“Exponential growth in digital health and care services and solutions present excellent and exciting career pathways for Scotland’s future workforce, and we are keen to highlight and support our pioneers to explore these.”

The 2021 DigiInventors Challenge follows Scotland’s Digital Health and Wellbeing event at Expo 2020 Dubai, which was held virtually last month. The event demonstrated Scotland’s world-leading research and collaboration in providing integrated solutions to some of the biggest global healthcare issues, and also highlighted collaboration opportunities with the UAE.

Further information on Scotland’s programme at Expo 2020 Dubai can be found at Scottish Development International.


About Scotland at Expo 2020 Dubai

Scotland is open and ready for international business with values based on creating a fair, sustainable and low carbon future. Thanks to its welcoming people, beautiful landscapes, innovative business sector and world-leading educational institutions, it is an excellent place to live, work, study, visit and do business in.

Through its presence at Expo 2020 Dubai, Scotland is promoting and showcasing the very best of innovation and its global ambitions in healthcare, the transition to a net-zero economy and its growing expertise in end to solutions for Space satellite technology. For more information about Scotland visit

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