Opening international door to Middle East business opportunities



Heriot-Watt strengthened its international business ties this week when it hosted its first trade mission for the construction market at its Dubai campus.

More than 20 business leaders from across the UK and Dubai met to discuss the exciting opportunities in the thriving Middle East construction market.

Funded by UK-UAE Business Council; in partnership with Scottish Development International (SDI), the event aimed to build on the already successful relationship with the international enterprise agency, which co-funds the University's Dubai-based Business Development post. 

Heriot-Watt has long standing ties with businesses across the world allowing ideas and best practice to be freely shared between academia and industry. 

Later this year, the university will throw open its doors to a new £19m state of the art facility named GRID, that will provide an inspiring space for students, academics and industry to develop talent and innovate.

Dr Gill Murray, Deputy Principal for Innovation and Business said: “We're pioneering a new model for innovation based on international connectivity.

“We're in a fantastic position to do this given our strong physical presence in key global markets and our unique digital collaboration platform.

“This great work will continue when we open our new GRID building in Edinburgh in this summer, with international GRIDs to follow.”

David Philp, Global BIM/MIC Consultancy Director, AECOM said: “The UAE is seen by AECOM as being the hub for innovation and growth in the Middle East and a celebration of rapid progress in the built environment.  The recent Heriot-Watt University trade mission in Dubai affirmed this assertion especially the work that is being executed at Expo 2020 which is creating amazing architectural complexes and associated infrastructure.

“Heriot-Watt's recently launched Centre for Excellence in Construction from its Dubai campus will undoubtedly be a nexus for research and advancement of the built environment in the UAE.  Drawing upon its strong foundation in Scotland it will be able to transfer knowledge and practical solutions from, Building Information Modelling [BIM], artificial intelligence and advanced construction robotics into the UAE market place. 

“I am confident that the Centre of Excellence with its commitment to the UAE and its proven track record in leading built-environment solutions will be a great success and will have a huge impact in the region.”

Lucy Black, Head of Business Relationships, Construction Scotland Innovation Centre added: “With all eyes focused on Dubai next year for the global exposition, Expo2020, it's never been a better time for Scotland's construction sector to expand their horizons internationally with a view to selling their world-leading products, services and expertise on a world market. 

“Dubai and the wider Middle East market continues to provide significant construction opportunity and with Heriot-Watt University's newly launched Centre for Excellence in Construction from its Dubai campus and Scottish Development International's in-market presence, there is a host of support at both an R&D and trade level to support companies explore the opportunity.”

A further trade mission in Recyclables and Energy is being followed by one in Health, before the University hosts a return construction mission back in Edinburgh.

David Philp is giving a lecture on 1 February to Heriot-Watt students and colleagues.