TRENDS Research & Advisory analyzes opportunities and challenges at geopolitical, economic, and cognitive levels. The Center conducts research and engages in a constant endeavor to find scientific and objective answers to the global trends in a way that enhances the understanding of all its dimensions. TRENDS seeks to comprehend the impact of the issues facing the world, taking
into account the different aspects of analyses and following the international standards set for scientific research.
The Center seeks to build a network of robust partnerships with global research centers, governments, and non-government organizations, and institutions. It aims to benefit from international research experiences to enhance its academic performance at the regional and global levels. It organizes lectures, conferences, and symposia to ensure the exchange of research experiences and expertise regularly. TRENDS’ broad array of publications cover subjects of global interest and consequence.
The knowledge and technology revolution unfolding around us today has put humanity on the threshold of a new phase of development. This has enhanced the role and paramount importance of think tanks in analyzing policies and identifying the pathways nations take in realization of their ambitions related to human development, welfare, and stability.
TRENDS Research & Advisory was established in 2014 with the objective to be an independent research and advisory center in Abu Dhabi and positively contribute to scientific studies. As outlined in its Vision and Mission, TRENDS’ ultimate goal is to provide a better understanding and deeper analyses of the different opportunities and challenges impacting the Gulf and Middle East regions, and the world in general. This involves employing internationally-recognized scientific criteria adopted by the most established think tanks.
TRENDS’ mission is to identify and follow up on the issues of significance in the realms of politics, economics, security, and knowledge. It takes up the task of analyzing these issues and employs a strategic perspective while conducting specialized studies.
The Middle East Security program seeks to study the national security challenges and opportunities emerging from the Gulf region and the wider Arab world. It aims to explain the shifting balance of power within the Middle East and assess the United States and Arab states’ responses to address the transformations as they emerge. The program focuses on the regional player’s perceptions of threats and opportunities they face and strategies adopted to deal with them. As part of this program, in-house and non-resident experts and researchers conduct cutting-edge research and policy-relevant analysis on pressing issues such as the role of Iranian militias in Iraq, the threat of ISIS, the evolution of the Muslim Brotherhood worldwide, and challenges such as water security, sectarian conflicts, and cyber threats.
The International Security & Terrorism Program aims to provide evidence-based analysis on the causes and dynamics of various global/transnational security threats. The program addresses the linkages between international, societal, and individual level threats and examines the means of preventing and mitigating them. It mainly explores the political context of radicalization and terrorist violence. It analyzes public safety and national security challenges by studying counterterrorism approaches, WMD proliferation, strategic futures, and security alliances/cooperation. A TRENDS team of experts and non-resident associate fellows produce innovative and policy-relevant publications that tackle our times' most critical security issues.
This program covers the most significant global diplomatic and geostrategic trends by analyzing the principal international institutions and major powers and how they impact different regions worldwide. In addition to examining the principal actors’ policies in international affairs, the program also identifies and explains the main themes that will shape tomorrow’s world. These include monitoring the key global governance forums, multilateral institutions, and legal regimes through which states cooperate and address common challenges. Some of the program's principal policy themes include energy security, climate change, maritime disputes, and space.
This program is based on a broad understanding of human security that seeks to protect people worldwide from the entire spectrum of threats that arise from human activity, environmental degradation, or unexpected natural disasters. This program focuses on the contingency and preventative measures that governments and international organizations can take to protect their citizens, along with effective interventions in other countries and regions to secure those made vulnerable by instability and weak governance. The issues tackled as part of this program include migration, food security, pandemics/epidemics, emergency management, and international relief mechanisms.
This research program seeks to provide in-depth coverage of the current thinking and practices related to stabilization and reconstruction activities in conflict-hit countries. It brings together recognized scholars and practitioners in the field. It explores topics ranging from how to engage with non-state armed groups in hostile and insecure environments to the role of diplomacy in new stabilization missions and the challenges of fostering practical cooperation between military and civilian actors. In doing so, the program aims to enhance understanding of various aspects of stabilization and post-conflict reconstruction and adding value to the broader debate on peace, stability, and conflict resolution in fragile settings.
What will the future conflicts look like? How will wars unfold? This Military and the Future of Warfare Program covers some of the most significant factors shaping military trends and the future of warfare. It examines how technological advances in artificial intelligence, robotics, data processing, quantum computing, and other enabling technologies have the potential to transform the character of future wars and conflicts. Issues covered by the program include:
This program investigates the impact of state-of-the-art artificial intelligence and advanced technologies – such as blockchain, quantum computing, and data science – on the civilian sphere, including the labor market, healthcare sector, transportation, and military sphere. Strategic and policy implications, issues related to cybersecurity, and the shifting nature of inter-state warfare are also part of this program. A team of in-house researchers and non-resident fellows collaborate to produce policy insights related to the subjects.
This program focuses on studying political Islam movements, particularly the Muslim Brotherhood, and their various domestic, regional, and international affiliates. The program seeks to understand their ideological, organizational, and operational frameworks and explore their prospects regarding the region’s developments in recent decades. It also analyses these movements’ ideological focal points and how they have formed the basis from which transborder extremist and terrorist organizations have branched out.
The program examines these movements’ approach toward various issues, including the nation-state, human rights, women’s and minorities’ rights, and relations with others, especially when it clashes with many societies and states’ cultural and social peculiarities. It further seeks to highlight these movements’ global dimensions by analyzing their expansion strategy across many countries and the international responses to their different moves, which often violate the sovereignty and threaten states’ security.
This program keeps up with the rising global attention to the values of tolerance, coexistence, and human fraternity as central to international peace and security. It focuses on analyzing challenges and risks threatening these values and how to tackle them at political, economic, cultural, and intellectual levels. The program takes a particular interest in interfaith and intercultural dialogue, an urgent necessity to enhance global human fraternity and counter the forces of extremism and terrorism, which reject coexistence. The program also seeks to establish an international system to promote tolerance, coexistence, and human fraternity. It provides a platform for dialogue between researchers, experts, and clerics from different religions to strengthen human values and thwart attempts to politicize religions and embroil them in conflicts.
The Economic Development Program covers topics related to economic growth and development across all regions. Under this program, TRENDS experts and researchers analyze macro and sector-specific government policies and their impact on economic output and development targets. The program looks into government and private sectors’ role in stimulating economic development, the government’s different approaches, and the use of fiscal and monetary stimulus packages to revive economies faced with recessions. The program also looks at the global economic governance and institutions and international organizations’ role in promoting policies that support development.
The Energy and Natural Resources Program provides insights and analysis of the energy and natural resources and their current and future challenges and developments. The objective of this program is to analyze supply and demand drivers, policies, and technologies impacting the markets for traditional sources of energy (oil, gas, coal, nuclear), renewable energy (solar, wind, hydro), new non-traditional sources of energy enabled by advancement in technologies and natural resources. This program also provides analysis and recommendations on the energy transition and how countries can benefit from a balanced approach that considers the need for access to cheap, clean, and sustainable energy to drive economic growth.
This program analyzes economic interdependence and power relations between countries and regions and the economic competition drivers between countries driven by conflicting interests and political philosophies. The program takes a particular interest in how policies influence markets and how politics is driven by the desire to protect domestic markets and access to international markets. It studies the impact of a country’s policies on bilateral and multilateral economic coalitions, the flow of international trade, and the future shift in economic powers. The program also studies the drivers for market globalization and the forces working against it.
The Global Trade and Investment Research Program focuses on international trade and foreign direct investment (FDI). This program analyzes trade policies, their design based on individual country’s development needs, and their impact on economic growth, especially for developing countries. The program also explores FDI as a critical component of international finance and its role in host countries’ economic growth. Current and future trends in trade and FDI and global institutions’ role in promoting them are also a key focus for this program.
The Environment and Sustainable Development Program’s primary focus is on the intersection of sustainable economic growth and protecting the environment. The program analyses the best sustainable development approach, which balances the needs for equitable and inclusive economic development, sustainable natural resources management, and environmental protection. It analyses progress in sustainable development policies, their impact across all countries, and new technologies that provide solutions and address the challenges by striking a balance between development and sustainability. The program also looks at global collaboration and international institutions’ role in achieving sustainable development goals.