Canadian University Dubai (CUD) has launched its new Innovation & Sustainability Centre with a raft of projects that aim to promote innovative approaches to sustainable economic growth. The new initiatives will support the University’s ambition to lead the advancement of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals through higher education in the region.
Developed in collaboration with leading organizations across a range of sectors, the projects will tackle critical aspects of sustainable development in the context of higher education, from creating an energy-efficient campus, to growing talent for the green economy. There will also be human-centred projects that support individuals across the University community to enhance their skills for sustainable professional development.
Among the first set of projects will be the WATER is LIFE initiative, conducted in partnership with a Norwegian company, Pure Blue Water. This international competition will enable students from the Faculty of Architecture and Interior Design to develop and showcase their skills in sustainable design. The initiative also provides participants with the opportunity to take part in a study tour to visit Scandinavian universities and explore water conservation efforts in Norway.
At its City Walk campus in Dubai, the University will be undertaking a number of projects to enhance the environmental sustainability of its physical infrastructure. In partnership with Etihad ESCO, a study will be conducted to assess optimal power-saving solutions, followed by retrofit works to install energy efficiencies, including solar panels, lighting, and MEP systems. The CUD Hub Building will also host two design and build projects, to establish a Sustainable Wellness & Healing facility and an Ergonomic Furniture Lab, to help promote workplace health and wellbeing.
Speaking about the plans, CUD President and Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Karim Chelli, said “The establishment of the Innovation & Sustainability Centre is part of our ongoing commitment to support the UAE Government’s strategies for business growth and climate action. Higher education has a vital role to play in promoting sustainable development, delivering research and education, nurturing creativity and entrepreneurship, and building on our partnerships will help us to make an even greater impact.
“The Centre will provide a hub for new and existing partnerships with industry, government, and our local communities. The aim is to amplify our own actions by supporting further knowledge exchange and innovation so that we can successfully and collectively promote economic development while protecting the environment.”
The Director of the new Centre, Prof. Albert Fakhoury, added, “The projects we have planned will provide excellent opportunities for CUD students to interact with industry and develop their employability skills in future growth sectors. One of the initiatives, Project Boomerang by CIAAD, will involve students working across international borders and time zones to complete an intercontinental innovation challenge. Unique global experiences like this, coupled with industry-relevant skills and exposure, will help CUD students to stand out in the professional world.”
The launch of the Centre follows the recent release of the Times Higher Education Impact Ranking, which positioned CUD as Dubai’s top-performing University against the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.