UAE, March 30, 2015 - Developing relevant programmes and a continuing emphasis on collaboration between academia and key industry sectors to support the United Arab Emirates (UAE) economic vision are the priorities for the University of Salford in the region.
The announcement comes as the University’s United Arab Emirates - Advisory Board (UAE – AB) met for the second time on Sunday 15th March. Made up of some of the region’s most influential business people*, the board was established in 2014 to provide advice and guidance supporting the University’s work in Abu Dhabi and the wider region.
At the board’s first meeting in November 2014 the University outlined its regional strategy to focus on providing industry-relevant courses and expertise to support The Abu Dhabi Economic Vision 2030. Since then the University has established a regional hub, launching several transnational education (TNE) programmes and finalising several partnerships with key industries and ministries in the country, such as collaboration with Mafraq Hospital that is helping improve diabetic research and care in the region. The University also works with Abu Dhabi Police, introducing a new juvenile rehabilitation scheme and therapeutic model at the Mafraq Juvenile Rehabilitation Centre.
Dr Alaa Garad, Director of the Emirates Centre for Organisational Learning (ECOL), CEO of Investors in People UAE and the board’s chair, said: “The priority for the University is to work with the relevant authorities and identify areas of importance. The university can then develop more programs in areas such as health care, corporate governance, innovation and creativity, risk management, national security, conflict management, education and special education.”
It is this approach of combing Salford’s expertise and course provision with the industrial and educational needs of the UAE that makes it standout from other UK universities operating in the region according to Dr Garad. He said: “Salford’s work in the UAE starts where other institutions ends. It is already well known in the region for linking its academic programs to industry and local community needs. This gives it a competitive advantage as its transnational education approach adds much needed value to the regional economy by filling existing skills gaps.”
Supporting and developing executive-level and doctoral education in the region have also been identified as areas for development and growth. Dr Garad added: “I think we should focus on providing research opportunities especially at Doctoral level as there is a huge need, not only in the UAE but throughout the entire Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region. There should also be a focus on applied research that can soundly inform policy-makers and industry leaders. The collaboration between academia and industry is crucial.”
As part of his drive to expand and improve doctoral learning in the region, Dr Garad also delivered a session on PhD study in Abu Dhabi for the University after the Advisory Board meeting. It was attended by more than 60 representatives from academia and business in region. The session gave participants the chance to learn more about doctoral study at Salford, how PhD research and learning can enhance business practices and how to apply when you’re based in the Middle East.
Salford can also lead the way for executive-level education in the region because of its links with organisations such as the Institute of Directors, Chartered Institute of Personnel Development (CIPD) and Investors in People. Dr Garad said: “There is a pressing need to link the education system outcomes to the needs of the market and Salford can facilitate this with the diversity of its offerings, especially with an emphasis on executive education for the region.”