Dubai: Sheikh Hamdan inaugurates 'world's smartest campus'

The new University of Birmingham campus will support 2,900 students and feature innovative teaching, research space


Nandini Sircar

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Published: Wed 20 Apr 2022, 7:37 PM

Last updated: Wed 20 Apr 2022, 11:09 PM

Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of The Executive Council of Dubai, inaugurated the 'world’s smartest campus' on Wednesday by putting forward a challenge before students.

And those who solved the challenge within 8 minutes were rewarded with Dh100,000! And yes, the Royal also took selfies with the super-excited kids

It is not every other day Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum goes to inaugurate a university, but then University of Birmingham is not your run-of-the mill university, either!

The Dubai campus will be embedded with cutting-edge technology promising to deliver world-class physical and digital experience befitting a global, top 100-ranked university.

The first global top 100 and UK Russell Group University to establish a campus in Dubai in September 2018, it adds to the leading education hub’s roster of global and local internationally accredited academic institutions

Lord Karan Bilimoria, chancellor of the University of Birmingham, said: “This is the most modern technologically advanced campus in the world. This is one of the top 100 universities in the world, opening in Dubai, in the UAE. Recently, the UAE celebrated its 50th anniversary. What the country has achieved in the last 50 years is nothing short of a miracle. This campus builds on exciting innovation. This campus has only happened through the collaboration of Dubai government, between the University and businesses including Siemens. This state-of-the-art building will soon be able to house international students from all over the world into one of the most international cities in the world, which is Dubai.”

The new campus will provide 50,000m2 of teaching and research space. Designed by Hopkins Architects and built by Khansaheb, the buildings overlook parkland and natural spaces. They reflect the ‘green heart’ of the University’s campus in Birmingham, giving the student community a complete campus university experience.

The campus will eventually be able to support up to 2,900 students and feature innovative teaching and research space to encourage cross disciplinary working. The partnership with Siemens combines digital sensor and analytics technologies, artificial intelligence, decentralised energy generation and storage, renewable energy and concepts that help change users’ behaviour to transform the Edgbaston and Dubai campuses into the world’s smartest global campuses.

Aiming to create a ‘Living Lab’ where research, teaching and learning will benefit from access to new data and connectivity, Professor Adam Tickell, vice-chancellor and principal, University of Birmingham, Dubai, said: “It’s a beautiful campus with very engaged students. We’ve been working partnership with Siemens. We have 23,000 IOT centres across the campus to understand how the space is being used, being most energy efficient. How we can use lighting and air conditioning most efficiently for example. The important thing is we are using the data to teach as well as to do research. So it’s not just using the data in real time although that’s we are doing but to use that data in future to have an understanding as to how building can be even more effective and energy efficient. What is unusual here is that we have been conducting research in collaboration with partners to provide a great quality education.”

Mohamed Abdullah, managing director of Dubai International Academic City, said: “His Highness had a very positive interaction with the students. He gave the students a challenge and he gave the reward of Dh100,000. After giving the challenge he walked around. Then in eight minutes students solved the challenge…almost immediately the students were rewarded. So, that shows how committed the Government is in supporting the education sector and higher education in particular.”


“Opening of this university is just another milestone. That journey started when Dubai started thinking of developing a knowledge-based economy. The government supports a lot from primary to higher educations. Therefore, it gives a lot of importance to this sector. It’s not just targeted towards the UAE nationals or residents alone, but to everyone coming from all over the world to specifically study here in the UAE and Dubai as a city. Academic city has become a dedicated zone for higher education. We have reached 27 academic institutions – ranging between higher and vocational institutions. We have 27,000 students across 50 nationalities. With the partnership that we have with the KHDA and the Ministry of Education, we ensure that we maintain the quality. This is a direction that the Dubai government wanted to go towards,” adds Abdullah.

Shedding light on the new visa rules that were recently rolled out in Dubai, Abdullah adds the emirate is poised at becoming a leading education hub for the world, “The visa is also aimed at attracting not just students also big academicians, researchers, Phd holders. The country needs to attract and retain those talents…people who can add value and give back to the country and be a part of the overall development of the country.”

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