Heriot-Watt to move into new Dubai home in 2021

SOURCE: Globe Newswire
Artist's impression of Heriot-Watt University's new Dubai campus.

By U2B Staff 

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Come January 2021, Heriot-Watt University will relocate to a brand new campus in Dubai, building on its commitment to hold pole position as the top university for teaching and learning in the Middle East.

This follows the university’s 10-year lease agreement for a sprawling 218,000 square foot space at the Dubai Knowledge Park in the buzzing centre of one of the world’s most modern city destinations.

“Since our launch in 2005, the university has grown considerably in Dubai and I’m delighted to say our agreement with Dubai Knowledge Park means we will continue to make a significant impact, delivering long-term benefits to the Dubai and UAE economy and local community,” Heriot-Watt Dubai Provost and Vice-Principal Professor Ammar Kaka said in comments on the new campus.

 “This move is a key part of delivering Heriot-Watt’s ambitious six-year strategy for the university and demonstrates our commitment to the region and growth plans for the future.”


A futuristic seven-storey building, Heriot-Watt’s new Dubai digs will enhance student experience with a digitally-enabled learning environment that supports the delivery of the university’s portfolio of programmes, including data science, computing and AI, business, accounting and finance, psychology, architecture and design, construction and engineering. 

Amenities will include, among others, a dedicated student hub, a student services centre, enhanced library and social learning spaces, as well as a wide range of digitally-enhanced classrooms, seminar rooms, studios, and laboratories. 

In-house recording studios will allow the creation of digital materials for a more engaging and interactive learning experience while the campus’ strategic location at the park offers students, staff and faculty increased opportunities to engage with industry.

The park, which sits adjacent to the Dubai Media City and the Dubai Internet City, is home to more than 500 established businesses, making it fertile ground for industry-academia collaborations. Here, the simple spark of a conversation could lead to the next big investment or research idea, or a work-based learning opportunity for university students.


Heriot-Watt was in 2005 invited to open a campus in Dubai and became the first British university to do so at the time.

Its commitment to excellence, coupled with Dubai’s growth as an international education destination, has seen the university grow in leaps and bounds since then.

Today, the university is the only one with a five-star accreditation by the Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA). 

It also holds the title of ‘Best University in the Middle East’, awarded by Forbes in April this year.

Home to the largest number of international branch campuses in the world, Dubai is an international education powerhouse. Its growth as a global business hub and position as the financial nerve centre of the Middle East make it attractive to higher education’s big hitters, which is why many want to have a presence in the emirate.

Official statistics show that Dubai has soared in popularity among international students in recent years, with enrollments more than doubling across the past 11 years to hit 30,000 students this year from just 12,000 in 2008.


According to KHDA Director-General and Board Chairman Dr. Abdulla Al Karam, Heriot-Watt’s new university campus will further strengthen Dubai’s reputation as a leading international study destination of the Middle East and the world.

“This important milestone aligns with Dubai’s future aspirations and works towards creating new opportunities for delivering high-quality education,” he said.

In the same vein, Dubai Knowledge Park Managing Director Mohammad Abdullah said the university’s partnership with the park was in line with the UAE’s growing knowledge economy.

“By supporting our partners within our vibrant community, we enable them to offer world-class learning opportunities academic programmes. We value our longstanding partnership with the university and their investment in developing talent in line with the needs of the future economy.”

Staff and students of Heriot-Watt Dubai are expected to move into the new campus in January 2021, in time for the university’s founding bicentenary.