The University, which has operated in Dubai since 2005 and recently earned a prestigious five-star ranking from Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA), has signed a 10-year lease for a 218,000 sq ft campus in the Dubai Knowledge Park.
With a heritage dating back to 1821, Heriot-Watt was established in Edinburgh, Scotland and provides high quality degree education internationally to 28,000 students, with almost 4000 in Dubai.
Provost and Vice-Principal of Heriot-Watt Dubai, Professor Ammar Kaka, said: “This announcement marks a historic milestone for Heriot-Watt and ensures our students will enjoy the benefits of an enriched learning experience and outstanding graduate outcomes for many years to come.
“Since our launch in 2005, the University has grown considerably in Dubai and I'm delighted to say our agreement with Dubai Knowledge Park means we will continue to make a significant impact, delivering long-term benefits to the Dubai and UAE economy and local community.
“This move is a key part of delivering Heriot-Watt's ambitious six-year strategy for the University and demonstrates our commitment to the region and growth plans for the future.”
Staff and students will move to the new campus as of January 2021 – the same year Heriot-Watt celebrates its founding bicentenary.
The modern campus is set to enhance further the student experience with a digitally enabled learning environment supporting the delivery of the University's portfolio of programmes including in Data Science, Computing and AI, Business, Accounting and Finance, Psychology, Architecture and Design, Construction and Engineering.
The campus will include a dedicated student hub, a central student services centre, enhanced library and social learning spaces, as well as a wide range of digitally enhanced classrooms, seminar rooms, studios, and laboratories. The University's in-house recording studios will also allow the creation of digital materials for a more engaging and interactive learning experience. Furthermore, a new business and enterprise locale will generate increased opportunities for students to engage directly with business and industry, providing graduates with unique learning experiences.
Dr. Abdulla Al Karam, Chairman of the Board of Directors and Director General of the KHDA, the body responsible for the growth and quality of private education in the country, said: “Dubai is home to the largest number of international branch campuses in the world. The opening of a new Heriot-Watt campus in 2021 further strengthens Dubai's position as a leading international study destination and builds on the wide-range of education choices available for students. This important milestone aligns with Dubai's future aspirations and works towards creating new opportunities for delivering high-quality education.”
The Dubai Knowledge Park sits adjacent to the Dubai Media City as well as the Dubai Internet City and boasts excellent transport links such as the Dubai Metro and Tramway. It holds more than 500 businesses and has established itself as a centre of excellence for higher education and professional development.
Mohammad Abdullah, Managing Director of Dubai Knowledge Park, said: “This partnership, which is in line with the UAE's growing knowledge economy, is an important addition to Dubai's robust academic scene. By supporting our partners within our vibrant education community, we enable them to offer world-class academic programmes. We value our longstanding partnership with the university and their investment in developing talent in line with the needs of the future economy.”
The campus move has been warmly welcomed by Soehl Mathew Abraham, President of the Dubai Student Council, who said: “This is exciting news not only for existing students but for anyone considering coming to study at Heriot-Watt in Dubai.
“The new central location will be another reason to choose Heriot-Watt and it's fantastic to see the University continue to invest for the future.”
Heriot-Watt University was invited to open a campus in Dubai 14-years-ago courtesy of its international reputation for delivering first-class education, particularly in science and engineering, and producing globally employable graduates.
The University operates five campuses across the UK, Dubai and Malaysia as well as an extensive range of online study programmes. For more information on the courses currently available at Heriot-Watt's Dubai campus visit https://www.hw.ac.uk/dubai.htm