Scottish Minister visits Heriot-Watt University Dubai


Minister Ivan McKee with Heriot-Watt University Dubai leadership team
Minister Ivan McKee with Heriot-Watt University Dubai leadership team

Published: Fri 25 Mar 2022, 1:04 PM

Last updated: Fri 25 Mar 2022, 1:06 PM

Heriot-Watt University Dubai welcomed Ivan McKee, Scotland’s Minister for Business, Trade, Tourism and Enterprise, to its campus in Dubai Knowledge Park. The Minister met with the University to discuss how they could work together to accelerate the sustainability agenda in the UK and the UAE and common business and enterprise interests.

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The visit was part of a wider programme that included a tour of the University’s Innovation Hub and Enterprise Suite and discussions on the latest developments from the Industrial Decarbonisation Research Innovation Centre (IDRIC).

Speaking about his visit, Minister Ivan McKee said: “Today’s visit to Heriot-Watt’s Dubai campus has been both inspiring and insightful in terms of progressing opportunities for collaboration when it comes to Scotland and the UAE’s shared net-zero ambitions."

“Scotland has an international network of world-class higher education institutes and Heriot-Watt University has been at the forefront of driving the global energy agenda forward via its leading research, partnership opportunities and innovations in technology,” HE ADDED.

Professor Tadhg O’Donovan, deputy vice-principal, academic leadership at Heriot-Watt University Dubai, said: “We were delighted to welcome Minister Ivan McKee to our campus in Dubai and showcase our state-of-the-art facilities to support innovation and sustainability. Minister McKee’s visit provided an effective forum to discuss the University’s net-zero ambitions and goals to support the UK and the UAE governments’ path to decarbonisation and sustainability. As a truly global institution, Heriot-Watt University is well-placed to conduct research addressing global energy challenges and driving inward investment and trade; IDRIC and our Enterprise Suite play a key role in support of these efforts”.

During the visit, Ivan McKee toured the university’s facilities and met with students accompanied by Heriot-Watt University Dubai’s leadership team, including professor Tadhg O’Donovan, deputy vice-principal, academic leadership; Vanessa Northway, deputy vice-principal, learning and teaching; Dr Matthew Sukumaran, chief operating officer; professor Paul Hopkinson, associate head, Edinburgh Business School; Dr Karima Hamani, chair of the sustainability and social impact committee (SSIMCO) and academic lead for knowledge exchange (CESC) at Heriot-Watt University Dubai; Syed Uzair, student council president. Professor Mercedes Maroto-Valer, deputy principal (global sustainability) and the lead for the UK Industrial Decarbonisation Research and Innovation Centre (IDRIC) was also present.

Minister Mckee also visited Heriot-Watt University Dubai’s Enterprise Suite, an incubation space to support entrepreneurship and new businesses by the Edinburgh Business School (EBS). The Suite includes co-working spaces, hot-desking facilities, partner suites, an exhibition zone, as well as teaching and seminar rooms purpose-designed for executive education. The Enterprise Suite is designed to translate research innovation into commercial opportunities to drive inward investment and trade.

The Minister and other dignitaries discussed the latest developments at IDRIC, a new UK research and innovation centre that supports industry and policymakers in accelerating industrial decarbonisation. They also talked about how the Centre’s work in engineering, environmental, and technical knowledge aligns with the UK and UAE’s goals for investing in renewable energy and hydrogen economy to support industrial decarbonisation.

The UK and UAE have been key trade and business partners with the UAE being UK’s largest export market in the Middle East and the 13th largest globally. The UAE is also an entry route into other Gulf countries for the UK making it a strategic location for trade. The British Business Group calculated £18.2 billion in mutual trade of services and goods between the countries. The organisation also predicts that this total will increase to £25 billion in 2022.

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