Scotland at Expo 2020 Dubai: evaluation report

An evaluation report detailing the work undertaken in developing and delivering Scotland's programme of activity and engagement at the EXPO 2020 Dubai between October 2021 and March 2022, highlighting outcomes achieved and recommendations to support participation at future World Expo events.

Section 6: Programme Development & Delivery

The detail provided in this Section is a summary of the more detailed narrative of the range of programme development and delivery work undertaken across the Scotland at Expo project. More specific detail on the Space, Digital Health and Wellness and Race to Net Zero Activation programme work is set out Annexes A, B & C to this Report.

Space Activation

The first of our Activation events delivered in person and virtually on 20 October 2021 as it aligned to the Expo thematic "Space Week". The programme was developed by a combination of internal (Scotland Expo Core team, SDI and Scottish Enterprise (SE) Space sector specialists, Marketing) and external colleagues.

Moderated by Dallas Campbell the day consisted of five sessions with expert speakers and panellists covering specific focus areas around Scotland's Space Sector ambitions, a keynote Ministerial speech launching Scotland's Space Strategy and company pitching sessions.

Space Activation Panellists on the main stage within the UK Pavilion

A successful trade mission programme ran in tandem with the Activation event and supported a Scottish delegation meet, pitch and make new connections with The Mohammed Bin Rashid Space Centre, Dubai Technology Entrepreneur Campus (DTEC) and Heriot-Watt University Dubai.

The Space Activation was nominated "event of the day" across the Expo site and in tandem with the aligned trade mission both aspects of Scotland's presence were a great success, generating a lot of media coverage within the UAE and also produced tangible outcomes in the form of ongoing future collaborations for Scotland's Space Sector.

St Andrews Reception

On 30th November the St Andrews reception was delivered in partnership with Visit Scotland, providing the first opportunity to introduce Scotland's themed year for 2022 – Scotland's Year of Stories. This cultural focus was used to provide the hook to support business activity at the event.

No Scottish Minister was present due to Covid however senior Government representation was provided by UK's Ambassador to the UAE and hosting duties were provided by a senior GlobalScot. A keynote speech was given by SCC's CEO Dr Liz Cameron OBE promoting their in market Trade Mission supporting and delivering vital business connections for and with Scotland. Scottish focused entertainment complimented the promotional and business networking activity, supplemented also by curated Brand Scotland digital marketing content.

Image collage of guests and pipe band performers at St Andrews evening reception

Overall the event was a success and, like the Space Activation, provided significant media coverage. The event was also voted "event of the week" at Expo and provided the UK Pavilion with its busiest event to date at that time.

From a business perspective a survey of the event found that around 73% attended in a professional or business capacity - 64% of whom made new connections as a result. A majority indicate they plan to follow connections up with around half expecting positive outcomes and ongoing collaboration.

Digital Health and Wellness Activation

Digital Health and Wellness Activation saw the core team work closely with Scottish Government Digital Health and Care Directorate and CEO's of three of Scotland's Innovation Centres – DHIC, The DataLab and PMS-IC, as well as with Scottish Government's National Clinical Director Professor Jason Leitch CBE.

Due to Covid this Activation was reduced from a two day in person event and associated trade mission to a fully virtual one day programme delivered on 31st January 2022 consisting of a Ministerial introduction, a keynote speech from Scotland's National Clinical Director and discussion with UAE's Digital Health Authority (DHA) Digital Health Lead and a series of panel and breakout sessions involving leading industry experts and Innovation Centres.

Images of Minister McKee and Dr Redha of DHA & the Digital Health & Wellness Activation programme flyer

In total twenty four speakers from Scotland's Digital Health ecosystem participated. The event did attract some media coverage but more notably helped uncover previously unknown connections between Scotland and the UAE as well as supporting future collaborations with the DHA which are being progressed.

An addition to this Activation saw SDI and Heriot-Watt University Dubai support "The DigiInventors Challenge 2021" STEM competition for UAE and Scottish based School students led by DHIC. A prize giving ceremony for these students took place on 15 February 2022 at the UK Pavilion supported by accompanying congratulatory video message from Scottish Ministers.

Gulfood – Scotland's Food and Drink Networking Reception

This Food and Drink showcasing event took place on 15 February 2022 within the UK Pavilion and was designed to promote and support Scotland's contribution to the wider Gulfood event taking place in market at that time.

Food and drink is a huge sector in Scotland and this event helped to promote and showcase Scottish brands products and produce, which led to a range of company introductions and wider positive outcomes for those companies which are currently being progressed.

Image collage of the food & drink event in the UK Pavilion

Race to Net Zero Activation: Hydrogen Day

Scotland's Race to Net Zero Hydrogen Day took place on 23 March 2022 in the UK Pavilion Inspiration Gallery. The programme was a hybrid of in person and virtual delivery consisting of four specific sessions including a Ministerial Keynote Address and focused discussions around Scotland's Hydrogen ambitions.

The event was moderated by two GlobalScots, Ryan McPherson, the Middle East Director for the Energy Industries Council and Mhairi Main-Garcia, Denton's Middle East Energy Specialist and included a diverse panel of experts from across Scotland's Hydrogen sector featuring industry and academic representatives, with fifteen speakers from Scotland and representation from high profile UAE experts, such as the Group Climate Change Officer from Abhu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC). A GlobalScot Pitching Session was also organised to help companies prepare and raise awareness of the ability of GlobalScots to help identify valuable contacts for them.

Overall the Hydrogen Day was very well attended – Scotland team were told it was the busiest business event delivered in the UK Pavilion over the whole period of Expo – and provided the perfect platform to promote Scotland's hydrogen sector to the UAE, Middle East and the rest of the world.

The event highlighted the scale, ambition and multitude of the trade and investment opportunities in the UAE's Clean Energy Sectors and was wide-reaching in terms of the audience helping target multiple priority countries at the one time. Substantial Press and PR coverage resulted with coverage in both English and Arabic.

Image collage from the Net Zero Hydrogen Activation event in the UK Pavilion

In addition to the success of the Activation event a successful trade mission and Ministerial engagement was delivered in tandem and helped to further promote the Scottish focus on Hydrogen. These engagements have helped to build and develop relationships with the UAE that are already resulting in tangible outcomes and collaborations between our two countries that can support our trade and investment ambitions.

Race to Net Zero Activation: Food Security & Environmental Monitoring (Climate Tech)

Under the Climate Tech theme, this event covered Food Security, Waste, Agritech and Environmental Monitoring. The programme was developed predominantly by internal colleagues (Scotland Expo Core team, SDI and SE Space sector specialists, Marketing), although ScotlandIS were brought in to assist.

Due to the new Covid variant, the original event date was moved from January 2022 to Friday 25th March 2022. As Friday's are a shorter day for most workers in the UAE, the event was shortened to a morning only programme.

The programme consisted of a keynote Ministerial welcome address, two panel sessions focused on how climate tech and climate tech solutions are helping to advance the net zero agenda and a company Pitching session, involving six Scottish Climate Tech companies. Panellists and speakers participating in those sessions of the programme were already in market and thus helped to reduce our carbon footprint.

An accompanying Trade Mission for the six companies consisted of a combination of group visits to some of the UAE's most important companies and additional individual one to one connections with other key organisations.

Image collage from the Net Zero Climate Tech Activation event in the UK Pavilion

Overall the Activation event and trade mission highlighted the scale, ambition and multitude of opportunities in the Climate Tech space in the UAE and was a great addition to Scotland's Space Day Activation event. New connections were made as a result of the Expo event and trade mission with key organisations in the UAE alongside a huge number of introductions for Scottish companies.

Edinburgh International Science Festival

As part of our efforts to maximise exposure of Scotland's presence during our Race to Net Zero Activation programme we funded Edinburgh International Science Festival (EISF) to deliver "live" performances of their interactive net zero focused street science outside the UK Pavilion for the two days we delivered those Activation events.

EISF's activity was fun, engaging and educational. It also helped to heighten interest in Net Zero as well as promoting Scotland's presence by providing strong supporting media and photo opportunities for passing Expo visitors against the backdrop of Scottish promotional branding material in the form of a "Let's Do Net Zero" and #SCOTLANDISNOW media board.

Images of Edinburgh International Science Festival performing "street science" outside the UK Pavilion

Event Invitation Logistics

During the course of the Scottish Activation day programme and evening receptions over five hundred and fifty Expo tickets were issued to invited guests, event participants and attending audience. Registration process for attending guests or audience for each of the event was supported through the Eventbrite system, which allowed us to control and monitor attendance numbers and support work in issuing of personalised joining instructions via email. The platform was unable to support issuing of Expo tickets so these were issued manually by members of the core delivery team and caused significant resource impacts. To support the ticketing process a dedicated Scottish Government's mail box was set up to provide invited guests/audience with a central contact point.

Overall these logistical process were time consuming and often not the best use of what was limited resource within the team. While invitations and tickets were issued to all who needed this was not a practical or streamline process and a more intuitive technical solution would have better served the needs of the team.



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