Making Future Ready

Heriot-Watt’s participation at Expo 2020 Dubai will explore the industries of tomorrow and a science driven future



Professor Ammar Kaka, Provost and Vice Principal, Heriot-Watt University Dubai,  Dr Abdulla Al Karam, Director General, Knowledge and Human Development Authority and Professor Richard A Williams, Principal and Vice Chancellor of Heriot-Watt University at the Future Skills Conference hosted by Heriot-Watt University at Expo 2020 Dubai.
Professor Ammar Kaka, Provost and Vice Principal, Heriot-Watt University Dubai, Dr Abdulla Al Karam, Director General, Knowledge and Human Development Authority and Professor Richard A Williams, Principal and Vice Chancellor of Heriot-Watt University at the Future Skills Conference hosted by Heriot-Watt University at Expo 2020 Dubai.

Heriot-Watt is one of the universities that is officially supporting the UK Pavilion at Expo 2020 Dubai. Speaking about the University’s participation in Expo 2020 Dubai, Professor Ammar Kaka, Provost and Vice Principal, Heriot-Watt University Dubai highlighted the science driven exhibitions and participation of speakers from Heriot – Watt in Expo 2020 Dubai.

Heriot-Watt University hosts Future Skills Conference at Expo 2020 Dubai.
Heriot-Watt University hosts Future Skills Conference at Expo 2020 Dubai.

Describing the role of Heriot-Watt at Expo 2020 Dubai, Prof Kaka said: “Heriot-Watt will be showcasing the University’s expertise on the world stage at this significant gathering of 190 countries, contributing to and driving forward solutions to some of the world’s most significant challenges. Sectors of focus will include sustainability, robotics and artificial intelligence, energy, health, and education, including skills and learning.” Further speaking about the Future Skills Conference, Prof Kaka highlighted the importance of building the necessary skills in the generations of the future at the Conference, exploring the industries of the future and the jobs of tomorrow with the university demonstrating how to harness the benefits of emerging technologies in skills development, teaching and learning.”

Professor Ammar Kaka, Provost and Vice Principal, Heriot-Watt University Dubai
Professor Ammar Kaka, Provost and Vice Principal, Heriot-Watt University Dubai

Talking about the science driven generation, Prof Kaka emphasised the role of an AI driven tomorrow. He talked about the National Robotarium, a world-leading research facility for robotics and artificial intelligence and said: “The National Robotarium will present how robotics will change and complement the workplace including preparation for an AI driven future, transforming the labour market including upskilling and reskilling the existing workforce.”

Prof Kaka spoke about the most anticipated project Zero Carbon Future through the Industrial Decarbonisation Strategy and also explained how partnerships and global collaborative working will aid the journey to net-zero emissions. “Learnings from the £20m Industrial Decarbonisation Research and Innovation Centre, the world’s green economic recovery and the creation of ‘green jobs’ will be explored in the immediate aftermath of the 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference, also known as COP26.” He further mentioned a flagship multi-disciplinary student project that is being showcased during Expo 2020 Dubai.

Apart from staging an exhibition at Expo 2020 over the six-month event, senior academics such as like Professor Richard A Williams, Principal and Vice-Chancellor of Heriot-Watt University, Professor Michel Kaiser, Chief Scientist, Heriot-Watt University, Professor Mercedes Maroto - UK’s industrial decarbonisation champion and Professor Oliver Lemon, global leader in artificial intelligence techniques having twice led teams to the finals of the prestigious Amazon Alexa Challenge will be speaking at a variety of events.

Expo 2020 Dubai will also coincide with Heriot-Watt University’s bicentennial celebrations, or the 200th anniversary of its founding in Scotland. Prof Kaka added, “Our participation in Expo 2020 offers a unique opportunity to build effective connections between students and industry and helps to ensure that projects of this type have real impact, both inside and outside the curriculum.”

Listing the various reasons to participate in participate in Expo 2020 Dubai, Prof Kaka said: “It is an opportunity for Heriot-Watt to promote its research, innovation, enterprise and thought leadership ideas, demonstrating how the University is using research to address and solve some of the biggest challenges facing the world today. Its team will promote excellence in learning and teaching, sharing best practice and building on the institution’s comprehensive and global education pathways.”

He referred to the Expo 2020 Dubai as an opportunity for the University to develop links and establish partnerships with businesses and government organisations.

“The project offers a unique opportunity to build effective connections between students and industry and helps to ensure that projects of this type have real impact, both inside and outside the curriculum,” added Prof Kaka.

Demonstrating the continuous commitment of Heriot-Watt to the UAE region Prof Kaka indicated the shared values they hold, “As an institution, Heriot-Watt is building flourishing communities that are inspired, connected, collaborative and valued. Our approach aims to make an outstanding impact on society, very similar to the UAE government’s National Agenda, which strives to preserve a cohesive society proud of its identity and sense of belonging.”

He went on to say that through Expo 2020 Dubai, they hoped to build on existing business partnerships and attract more students. “As an organisation, we reflect the value of lifelong learning opportunities through a globally connected entrepreneurial university. We want to support ongoing growth in the region and, moving forward, use Expo 2020 Dubai as a platform to showcase how we will continue to deliver on this commitment,” he said.

Furthermore, he said: “We want to use Expo 2020 Dubai as an opportunity to attract school and student visitors to our new campus, build memberships for our Centre of Excellence in Smart Construction, create new partnerships and MoUs and establish new research collaborations. Engaging the next generation in our research is central to our objectives during Expo 2020 Dubai, and this is a great chance to do that.”

Concluding his thoughts on participation in Expo 2020 Dubai, Prof Kaka explained their role, saying “The UAE government has invited students studying here to be a part of this once in a lifetime event, with a range of educational experiences, volunteer and employment opportunities available. There will be more than 45 volunteering roles, from welcoming guests and guiding them around the Expo districts to managing events, with more than 16million volunteering hours across the six-month period. We have actively encouraged our students to participate.”

— anam@khaleejtimes.com


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