HKUST Secures Partnership With UAE

HKUST Secures Partnership With UAE For Tech Research, Education, And Innovation


The president of HKUST (Hong Kong University of Science and Technology) recently took a team of delegates to Abu Dhabi and Dubai, UAE. They intended to successfully create new ties with the UAE to foster technological research, education, and innovation.

This four-day trip was successful as they signed two agreements with the Dubai Future Foundation and Sharjah University.

However, what does this mean for both China and the UAE as they continue to strengthen their ties, especially in the technology field? Read this pot till the end to find out!

HKUST: Who Are They?

HKUST-Who Are They

Before you learn more about the new UAE-Hong Kong ties with HKUST, you must learn more about HKUST.

HKUST (Hong Kong University of Science and Technology) is one of Asia’s best science and technology universities. This university has world-class equipment that lets its students conduct high-class research. It has some of the best science, engineering, and business faculty.

HKUST has an international campus for international students from different countries. Regarding its education, it has a holistic and interdisciplinary approach towards attaining its

primary goal – nurturing brilliant graduates with a global aim, a sustainable entrepreneurial spirit, and fostering creative thinking towards innovation in technology.

HKUST has gained massive popularity and praise globally for its scientific research. Their research has been called “world-leading” and “internationally excellent” by the Research Assessment Exercise 2020 by Hong Kong’s University Grants Committee.

Moreover, HKUST ranked 2nd in Times Higher Education’s Young University Rankings of 2023. Furthermore, their graduates ranked 29th globally amongst the best Asian universities per the Global Employability University Ranking of 2023.

In addition, graduates from HKUST have successfully created 1,700+ active startups. This includes 9 Unicorns and 13 exits (IPO or M&A).

Consecutively, HKUST got some of the top ranks for being the most innovative in four different engineering and material science subjects. These ranks were given by the QS World University Rankings by Subjects in 2021 for five of the world’s best 100 local universities.

Why Did HKUST Visit The UAE?

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The UAE and China want to foster better relations through trade and scientific development. Therefore, it makes sense that HKUST will be the new catalyst for China’s collaboration with the UAE in technical research and development.

However, the primary reason such collaborations are taking place now is because of the 10th anniversary of the Belt and Road (B&R) initiative.

B&E is an initiative undertaken by China to connect more than 150 countries to China through roads and sea routes. Chinese President Xi Jinping also calls this initiative the New Silk Road initiative.

As per this initiative, China will invest in more than 150 countries and various international organizations. This initiative aims to build six different urban development land corridors interlinked using road, rail, energy, and digital infrastructure development.

In addition, China will also use the Maritime Silk Corridor. Therefore, it uses land and sea routes to make transportation – and development – more accessible globally for China.

While this initiative was first launched in 2013, it was officially incorporated into the Chinese Communist Party Constitution in 2017. After its incorporation, the Xi Jinping Administration describes it as “a bid to enhance regional connectivity and embrace a brighter future.”

Fun Fact: The B&R project is completed in 2049 – the 100th anniversary of the Chinese Communist Party.

The president of HKUST and its team of select delegates visiting the UAE were also a part of the B&R program since the UAE is another participating nation. Here, China aims to collaboratively do technological research with the UAE so that both countries can make future investments.

HKUST And DFF: Building The Future Together

HKUST And DFF_ Building The Future Together

HKUST visited two prominent places in the UAE during its four-day trip. The first place was a trip to the Dubai Future Foundation (DFF) – one of the leading UAE universities for technological studies and research.

Here, HKUST struck deals and several ties and collaborations on many projects. The primary mission of DFF is to evolve Dubai’s technology ten years ahead of the curve. They aim to do so by conducting extensive research to create new-age technology to turn Dubai into a futuristic city.

Therefore, HJUST shook hands with DFF to collaborate in such research and projects. This includes conducting joint research, knowledge transfer of various projects, exchange, and incubation projects for promoting new startups and sharing and developing new students and scientists.

HKUST And Khalifa University: Gateways To The Future

HKUST And Khalifa University_ Gateways To The Future

After making the successful trip to DFF, HKUST’s next target was KU – Khalifa University. KU is like HKUST, focusing on technological research and innovation in engineering, medicine, and science.

Therefore, this meeting was congruent with similar minds and ideologies toward technological advancement.

Sir John O’Reilly, President of KU, significantly represents UAE’s drive towards technological advancements. In addition, he is a distinguished scholar, and the center stage of his career took place in the UK government’s academic and industry development.

When the HKUST delegates visited KU, Sir John O’Reilly greeted them with a warm welcome. Soon, he showed his visitors various innovative developments that KU has made in robotics, biotechnology, and aerospace engineering.

However, these developments were still not ready to be deployed in society and bring massive change. Therefore, this is where HKUST will be stepping up as a translator.

Their objective? Convert such research into societal impacts and technologically evolving society.

However, HKUST will actively participate with KU in robotics, AI, and biomedicine in the most sustainable way possible.

HKUST And Sharjah: The Pursuit Of Academic Knowledge

HKUST And Sharjah_ The Pursuit Of Academic Knowledge

The third deal that HKUST struck with UAE is with the prestigious Sharjah University (SU) to promote academic collaboration.

HKUST and SU will jointly work together to create new dual-degree courses, research programs, and graduate supervision.

Moreover, both these universities will share their academic research and materials to promote collaborative scientific research. Furthermore, various exchange initiatives will also occur between these two universities.

HKUST In The Middle East: What It Entails

HKUST In The Middle East_ What It Entails

In the last few years, HKUST has emphasized building its presence in the Middle East, especially in the UAE.

In 2023, HKUST had several new additions to their senior management, which included prominent names like Abdulla bin Touq Al Marri (Economy Minister of UAE) and Hussain bin Ibrahim Al Hammadi (UAE’s Ambassador to China).

In addition, HKUST helped incubate many Hong Kong startups that fall under the Hong Kong Center for Construction Robotics (HKRCS). The HKRCS is HKUST’s InnoHK Center, which visited Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, to participate in the LEAP 2024 tech conference. Here, many innovations by HKUST left a great impression on the attendees.

This proves that Hong Kong and China are keen on collaborating to make a brighter future for the Middle East. This is why Professor Wang Yang, an HKUST delegate and acting Executive President of the Asian Universities Alliance (AUA), was an attendee at the AUA President’s Forum to support the formation of a network of educational institutions to promote technological innovation and entrepreneurship.

More than 15 leaders from renowned Asian institutions also attended this event. This is what HKUST’s Professor Nancy Ip had to say:

“During the visit, I had the privilege of witnessing firsthand the remarkable progress and investment the UAE has made in innovation and knowledge transfer, which aligns closely with Hong Kong’s advancements. I am excited about the many ways HKUST,

with our unique edge in innovation, AI, and entrepreneurship, can work with partners in the UAE to drive technology advancements in the region while fostering academic cooperation.”

Conclusion: For A Better Future

It’s clear that HKUST chose to visit the UIAE and many of its higher educational institutions since the UAE has a vision of advancing its technology – and the country – to the future faster than other countries. Since this goal aligns perfectly with HKUST’s vision, a research and development collaboration will best suit the interests of both nations.

Thanks for reading this post! If you liked it, I recommend you share it with others! Moreover, in the comments, tell us how such strategic partnerships will help the UAE grow technologically!

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