Heriot-Watt University Dubai (HWUD) today has opened doors to a brand new campus at Dubai Knowledge Park. The dedicated campus is going to serve nearly 4,000 students – representing 105 nationalities from around the world – who have joined Heriot-Watt seeking research-informed, industry-focused British education of the highest standard in the UAE.
The new building occupies 218,000 square feet, which are distributed over seven floors, with eight different types of teaching spaces that have been carefully designed to deliver a myriad of learning experiences.
Commenting on the move, Prof Ammar Kaka, Provost and Vice Principal at Heriot-Watt University Dubai said, “I am extremely pleased to open doors to our new campus today. The development of this campus is a testament to our continued commitment towards offering world class education and enviable infrastructure to our students. Our new campus building has been designed keeping the future student experience in mind; we believe that the supportive environment will allow us to deliver inspiring learning, increase academic success, cutting edge research and the holistic development of our students.”
Dr Abdulla Al Karam, Director-General of the Knowledge and Human Development Authority said: “In 2005, Heriot-Watt University Dubai became the first campus of an international university to open in Dubai Academic City. Since then, Heriot-Watt University Dubai has made an invaluable contribution to higher education in Dubai, helping to transform the sector into the international study destination it is today.
“Students at Heriot-Watt University Dubai benefit both from the university’s rich culture and history, and its dynamic, future-focused approach. The new campus will not only enrich students’ academic learning, but also the authentic experiences and memories that will last a lifetime. We congratulate Professor Kaka and the whole team at Heriot-Watt Dubai on this milestone, and look forward to many more years of learning and friendship.”
Classrooms have been designed to be interactive. Rather than traditional lecture theatres, the new campus houses collaborative lecture theatres which offer booth-style seating to encourage small-group discussions and group challenges at appropriate points; pod rooms which are designed to offer group-based learning and the sharing of learning between teachers and peers via interconnected PCs and screens; and teaching and seminar rooms which have been designed as flexible spaces for a range of classroom learning and teaching activities.
The many laboratories and workshops cover automotive, chemical, civil, mechanical, electrical, energy, robotic and structural engineering, and offer facilities for students to learn through practical application as well as through formal timetabled classes. The campus has a psychology laboratory that supports psychological experimentation and a very large IT laboratory for computer scientists as well as others. Design studies are also supported with studios and a Design Hub catering to the current and future needs of those preparing for a career in fashion, architecture, and interior design. All spaces come furnished with modern technology and equipment.
The new campus also features the Watt Inc., a business incubator run by the Edinburgh Business School, which will develop and support founders and start-ups, as well as the Bloomberg Trading Room where students can work with a simulated market environment using actual, real-time data, and a variety of functions simulating both trading and non-trading workflows.
The campus has an array of common areas where students have access to essential services and amenities, including a dedicated Student Council Hub; social learning spaces for independent and group study; an engaging library stocked with both physical books and online resources; and a Maths Gym for maths support, in addition to a central Student Services Centre for student administration. The building also features a multipurpose venue, aptly named the Town Hall, with a cafeteria and auditorium-style seating suitable for hosting Open Days, presentations, and other interactive events.
Alongside onsite COVID-19 protocols, there is an additional focus on ensuring overall student wellbeing. Heriot-Watt firmly believes that staying healthy, both physically and mentally, means students can also remain focused on their academics, achieve their full potential, and enjoy their student life to the hilt. To this end, the campus offers an activity studio where dance, fitness, and yoga classes can be offered when permitted. This is in addition to Student Wellbeing Services that are offered to students seeking guidance and support to address personal challenges impacting their wellbeing.
To help drive the growth and transformation of the Dubai campus, Heriot-Watt has recruited more than 100 new Professional Services staff over the last one year. Providing services as diverse as marketing, finance and academic administration, Professional Services provide the infrastructure that helps Heriot-Watt University run effectively, and support the delivery of its strategic aspirations.
The opening of the new campus in Dubai coincides the bicentennial anniversary of Heriot-Watt University this year. Founded in 1821 as the world’s first mechanics institute in Edinburgh, Heriot-Watt University has transformed itself into a globally, connected university with campuses in the UK, Dubai and Malaysia, and continues to be a pioneer in higher education and research.
The Dubai campus has been consistently ranked as a top provider of higher education, ranging from teaching excellence and research performance to student satisfaction and graduate employability. The KHDA Higher Education Classification (in partnership with QS) has awarded Heriot-Watt University Dubai a five-star rating in 2019 and 2020.
With an extensive offer of foundation, undergraduate and postgraduate programmes across several specialities, Heriot-Watt represents a destination of choice for students woshing to meet the demands of local business and growth industries. Heriot-Watt graduates are armed with excellent classroom knowledge, cross-functional skills, and practical experience required for developing a lucrative career in their chosen field.