A Scottish university has unveiled plans to move its 4,000 students in the United Arab Emirates to a new state-of-the-art campus in Dubai.
Heriot-Watt said that it would open in the site in 2021, and that it would provide “the latest innovations in business education, teaching and research”.
The Dubai campus brings in income for the university and no money from UK taxpayers is used towards its costs.
Professor Richard A Williams, the university’s vice-chancellor, said that the campus played a “vital part in the financial sustainability of the university and is a major part of our future”.
He said: “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.”
Heriot-Watt first launched its Dubai campus in 2005. 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.
News of the relocation has been welcomed by the Scottish Government’s minister for further education, higher education and science Richard Lochhead.
Mr Lochhead 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.”
Staff and students will move to the new campus in the same year Heriot-Watt celebrates its founding bicentenary.
Students are set to benefit from an enhanced library and a 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 material and the central location of the new campus in the Dubai Knowledge Park means more opportunities for students to engage directly with business and industry.
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.”