New Heriot-Watt University campus to open in Dubai in 2021

Heriot-Watt University's 4,000 students in Dubai will move to a state-of-the-art new campus in 2021

The university has agreed a 10-year lease for a 218,000 square foot campus in the Dubai Knowledge Park, located in the heart of one of the world’s most modern city destinations. The futuristic seven-storey campus building will deliver the latest innovations in business education, teaching and research, such as advanced robotics and artificial intelligence.

The new campus will enable Heriot-Watt University, which also has campuses in Scotland and Malaysia, to capitalise on its current five-star status in one of the world’s most competitive higher education markets.

Our new campus signifies our commitment to Dubai as well as our investment in our students
– professor Richard A Williams, principal and vice-chancellor, Heriot-Watt University

The principal and vice-chancellor of Heriot-Watt University, Professor Richard A Williams, said: “I am incredibly proud Heriot-Watt University has built the largest, most comprehensive and successful international university in the United Arab Emirates. Our new campus signifies our commitment to Dubai as well as our investment in our students.

“Our Dubai campus already plays a vital part in the financial sustainability of the university and is a major part of our future through our globally-integrated Strategy 2025. This includes our vision to build on our reputation as a leading higher education institution in the Middle East, creating a centre for excellence in both teaching and research, which is renowned for the value and impact of our contribution to the local economy and society.

“This new campus will play a vital role in our future and, by utilising our distinctive strengths, we will continue to build a global university that pioneers innovation in education, research and enterprise.”

Five-star ranking

Heriot-Watt first launched its Dubai campus in 2005 and has enjoyed notable success ever since. Earlier this year, the university received a prestigious five-star ranking from the Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA), the body responsible for the quality of private education in Dubai. It also currently holds the title ‘Best University in the Middle East’, awarded by Forbes.

Artist’s impression of the new Heriot-Watt University to open in Dubai

News of the relocation has been welcomed today by the Scottish Government’s Minister for Further Education, Higher Education and Science Richard Lochhead MSP, who said: “This project is hugely ambitious and a wonderful example of how Scotland continues to punch above its weight in terms of research, innovation and academic strength.

“I applaud Heriot-Watt for its vision to continue expanding what it offers to even more people and places – yet another demonstration to the world that Scotland is an open, welcoming and inclusive nation.”

Transforming the student experience

Staff and students will move to the new campus in January 2021 – the same year Heriot-Watt celebrates its founding bicentenary. The new campus sits in Dubai’s bustling centre and promises to transform the student experience with a digitally enabled learning environment. This will support the delivery of the university’s portfolio of programmes including in Data Science, Computing and artificial intelligence, robotics, business, accounting and finance, psychology, architecture and design, construction and engineering.

In keeping with university’s pioneering outlook, the campus will continue to deliver business courses run by Scotland’s largest provider of business education, Heriot-Watt’s Edinburgh Business School. The new campus will also house the recently-launched Centre of Excellence in Smart Construction (CESC), providing a creative environment for collaboration between multi-disciplinary research teams, industry and the UAE government to solve challenges facing the construction sector.

This project is hugely ambitious and a wonderful example of how Scotland continues to punch above its weight in terms of research, innovation and academic strength
– Richard Lochhead, Scottish Government’s Minister for Further Education, Higher Education and Science

Students are set to benefit from an 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 allow the creation of high-quality digital materials for a more engaging and interactive learning experience. Furthermore, the central location of the new campus means increased opportunities for students to engage directly with business and industry, providing graduates with unique learning experiences.

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.”

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