Rise in Sustainability-Focused Education to Fuel Dubai 2040 Urban Master Plan


Dubai-UAE: 02 May, 2021 – For more than a decade, Dubai International Academic City and Dubai Knowledge Park have witnessed a year-on-year rise in student demand for natural and physical science, indicating a growing wave of environmentally-conscious talent committed to climate action.


Collectively home to more than 27,000 students, the academic and human resource management hubs are producing more people graduate in these fields than ever before. And while it comes from a low base, the steady rise will contribute to the Dubai 2040 Urban Master Plan that aims to transform the emirate into a people-centric city and enhance environmental sustainability.


Sustainable development and conservation have been components of the UAE’s vision for decades. Both remain strategic priorities under the comprehensive plan launched by HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai in March.


As well as nearly doubling the city’s population from 3.3 million to 5.8 million, more than 60 per cent of Dubai will be comprised of nature reserves and natural areas, with land allocated for education and health facilities increased by 25 per cent.


Mohammad Abdullah, Managing Director of Dubai International Academic City and Dubai Knowledge Park, said: “Education is a catalyst for social change and a crucial factor in creating a knowledge-based economy powered by people who care deeply about climate change. Not only is it vital to educate the next generation of change-makers to respond positively to global warming, but it is also essential for academic institutions to play their role. We actively encourage universities to launch sustainability-related programmes and continue to deepen collaboration and cooperation in research and development to address emerging market needs. Through this approach, we have a track record for developing highly-skilled graduates with the expertise and intelligence to create positive change as effective leaders and thus contribute to the UAE’s sustainability goals.”


Professor Abdullah Alshamsi, Vice Chancellor of The British University in Dubai, said “As the UAE focuses on sustainability in its National Agenda 2021 and now with the launch of Dubai 2040 Urban Plan, demand for sustainability programmes is increasing. The British University in Dubai offers programmes in sustainability at both Masters and doctoral levels enabling our students to create sustainable designs based on innovation, and our new undergraduate programmes also feature elements of sustainability. Our students will be able to utilise the latest technology and research in creating smart sustainable solutions to reinforce the efficiency of infrastructure and preserve energy consumption in the built environment. Applying urban sustainable design and creating smart cities support residents’ well-being and happiness within an environmentally-aware approach to healthy living and working.”


Andrew Mackenzie, Head of Institute of Sustainable Development, Middlesex University, added: “Over the last decade there has been an increased awareness of the negative impact humans have on the environment, climate change and also around gender and racial equality. Awareness is especially prevalent in the youth of today and this is leading more students seeking degrees and careers in the field of sustainability where they believe they can make a difference. Universities play an important role as a catalyst towards sustainable development and Middlesex University Dubai is confident that our graduates will contribute to the ambitious Dubai 2040 Urban Plan.”


He added: “The university’s primary focus is to integrate sustainable development into our teaching and learning practices, producing impactful research and meaningful partnerships. As a result, students engage in cutting edge and transformative learning experiences and research in diverse subject areas from sustainable supply chain management to green IT to sustainable fashion. Programmes like our MA Global Governance in Sustainable Development also equip graduates with expertise and knowledge to be transformative in their professions.”


Universities across the two districts have imbibed learning in sustainable practices across graduate, post-graduate, and specialised doctoral programmes, whether it is in business management, engineering, energy, geo-sciences or infrastructure. Some specialised programmes being offered include solar and alternate energy graduate programmes at  Amity University in Dubai, global sustainability engineering and renewable energy engineering post-graduate programmes at Hariot-Watt University, a Masters programme in global governance and sustainable development at the Middlesex University, and a doctorate in architecture and sustainable built environment at the British University in Dubai.


As part of the business district’s eco-friendly drive, Dubai International Academic City and Dubai Knowledge Park partnered with the Ministry of Climate Change and Environment to exchange knowledge on nature, climate change, and related fields. They will promote academic initiatives, raise environmental awareness and share research papers so the ministry can study the feasibility of sustainability projects and implement the most effective ideas.


Furthermore, Dubai International Academic City completed a 1.1 MWp solar carport to meet up to a fifth of its electricity consumption demands. It will provide renewable energy to 12 university buildings.


Offering more than 142 degrees across science, technology, engineering and mathematics, Dubai International Academic City’s 27 universities from nine countries play an important role in developing local and global talent.


As one of the world’s largest higher education business districts, the Dubai International Academic City campus hosts over 150 nationalities and world-renowned academic institutions. DKP is focused on education, vocational training and human resources.


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