Business district highlights the importance of research-based campuses in sustaining a knowledge-based economy and promoting innovation
Dubai International Academic City (DIAC), the MENA region’s largest educational hub, is driving efforts to enhance the landscape for research-based academic institutions and applied learning in the UAE. DIAC aims to advance the region’s educational sector and boost innovation by working alongside its academic partners and offering the right environment for research and development in universities across the emirate.
DIAC houses universities from Australia, UK, India and other parts of the globe. The past year was particularly impactful for the education hub as a number of academic partners expanded programme offerings and facilities to equip students with hands-on learning experiences. University of Birmingham partnered with Siemens to create a ‘Living Lab’ to promote research in data, technology, urban systems and achieving net-zero while Amity University Dubai launched an Artificial Intelligence Lab where students can investigate the growing tech field.
At Dubai Knowledge Park (DKP), DIAC’s sister education hub and the region’s leading HR and training hub, the University of Wollongong unveiled their ‘Campus of the Future’, which features laboratories specialising in chemistry, thermodynamics, manufacturing. Heriot-Watt University also operates a Centre of Excellence in Smart Construction (CESC) to revolutionise the way smarter cities are developed, managed and operated.
Academic institutions play a critical role in helping governments develop a knowledge-based economy, empowering new generations of leaders and skilled professionals with tools to tackle the future. Research institutions help advance the field of science, pioneering new technologies and advancing future industries with innovative solutions. State-of-the-art laboratories and industry grade equipment empower students with applied learning opportunities under the guidance of highly expert faculty who are active contributors to their field.
A strong academic environment is key to attracting high performing students, who can replenish the country’s pool of skilled talent, contribute to economic diversification and development. It also enhances the availability of specialised programmes that help nurture existing talent and professionals, especially in addressing requirements for the jobs of tomorrow. According to the World Economic Forum 2021, by upscaling efforts to equip the future workforce with necessary skills for the Fourth Industrial Revolution, the UAE can generate an additional 43,000 jobs by 2030 and gain US$4.3 billion in GDP.
Mohammad Abdullah, Managing Director of DIAC and DKP, said, “Today, investing in science, research and innovation at the academic level is integral to advancing key industries and contributing to a diversified economy. The nation’s focus on nurturing future professionals and skilled talent is making the UAE an increasingly popular choice for students and universities alike and enabling the country’s vision to become a pioneering global destination for technology and innovation.”
He added, “Many of our academic partners are embracing the virtues of research-based education by investing in state-of-the-art laboratories and centres where students and professors alike can enrich their knowledge journey. Our ambition is to continue supporting universities in adopting a research-first approach, while attracting new global research-based institutions to take advantage of our hub’s state-of-the-art infrastructure and business-friendly policies to expand their activity into our exceptionally diverse and driven region.”
Ideally located to attract European, African, East, Southeast Asian, South Asian, GCC and CIS students Dubai International Academic City and Dubai Knowledge Park allow international universities to tap into a wealth of promising talent and learners. Government-led strategies in a number of future fields, including Cybersecurity, Digital Transformation, the 4th Industrial Revolution and the UAE Net Zero 2050 are spurring significant growth in business and investment, fueling greater demand for specialized and skilled professionals.
Exploring AI at Amity University Dubai
The Artificial Intelligence Lab at Amity University Dubai aims to provide students the opportunity to collaborate and investigate the growing tech field by researching and developing intelligent cognitive systems. Through discussions, workshops and real-time experiments for students and faculty, the lab aims to explore how AI can enhance the way we live and work, while increasing productivity. The lab is located in the university’s Incubation Centre, a dedicated space for students to develop their own start-up ideas. Students can also use the lab’s teaching and learning tools to enhance their classroom experience, including AI tutors, language assistance, content generation and more.
A Living Lab at the University of Birmingham
With an outpost located in Dubai International Academic City, the University of Birmingham partnered with Siemens to transform its campus into the world’s smartest global campus, combining digital sensor and analytics technologies, artificial intelligence, decentralised energy generation and storage, and renewable energy. Referred to as a ‘Living Lab’, it will capture data from the building technologies, estates infrastructure and energy plants to use to drive innovation and R&D. Students will be able to learn about challenges in data, technology and urban systems, as well as helping facilitate the global net-zero goal. The UAE has also launched the Net Zero by 2050 strategy to achieve climate neutrality by the year 2050.
In 2019, University of Birmingham partnered with Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) to design a tailored transport education and research programme to train the next generation of UAE transport engineers. The cooperation includes seminars, conferences and research, and aims to drive the country’s economic progress through knowledge and innovation.
University of Wollongong’s Campus of the Future
The University of Wollongong has moved to a state-of-the-art 200,000sqft campus offering innovative learning spaces and laboratories geared towards chemistry, thermodynamics, manufacturing, physics, robotics, media and communications, cybersecurity, networking and gaming. Each of the labs is equipped with cutting-edge equipment to enhance education and experimentation in key future sectors. The university also pursues research in sectors such as Smart Grid & Power Systems, Telecommunications, and Information Systems & Technologies among others.
Heriot-Watt University’s Centre of Excellence in Smart Construction
Heriot-Watt University manages a Centre of Excellence in Smart Construction (CESC) to revolutionise the way smarter cities are developed, managed and operated. By advancing industry-led innovations in construction, the centre works with organisations and government entities to transform the Build Environment while nurturing a new generation of professionals to benefit the economy. R&D focuses on three themes: Performance and Productivity, Sustainability and Wellbeing.
Insights Lab at Middlesex University Dubai
Insights Lab is a research centre part of the university’s Centre for Innovation in Human Experience. Founded in 2019, it links the UAE’s Data Science community and researchers to companies looking to derive profitable insights from data. From students and professionals to researchers and faculties, anyone can sign up for free annual membership and contribute to the field of Data Analytics.
De Montfort University
Founded in 1870 in Leicester, De Montfort University operates a thriving international campus in DIAC. The university launched an ambitious research strategy to increase the level of research and establish itself in the Top 400 internationally by 2023. As per the strategy, more than 60% of academic staff will be actively researching by the end of the period, and that research will influence teaching across the board. It aims to strengthen research in a range of fields, including Allied Health Professions, Dentistry, Nursing and Pharmacy, Computer Science and Informatics, Architecture, Built Environment and Planning, and creative fields such as Music, Drama, Dance, Performing Arts, Film and Screen Studies.
As one of its only official founding partners, DMU played a significant role in bringing to life the United Kingdom’s pavilion at the Expo 2020 Dubai. The partnership is highlighting DMU’s impactful research, innovative approaches to sustainability, and creating extraordinary experiences for students.