Heriot Watt Dubai
Professor Tadhg O’Donovan, Chief Scientist and Deputy Vice Principal – Academic Leadership, Heriot-Watt University Dubai Image Credit: Supplied

Heriot-Watt University Dubai plays a crucial role in fostering environmental responsibility and sustainable practices. Academic programmes at the university have been strategically designed to embed sustainability into the core of education.

Professor Tadhg O’Donovan, Chief Scientist and Deputy Vice Principal – Academic Leadership at Heriot-Watt University Dubai, says, “We have incorporated climate-related initiatives into its academic strategy, crafting curricula encompassing MSc Renewable and Sustainable Energy Transition, Renewable Energy Engineering, and Global Sustainability Engineering. We are also developing a climate advocacy course for all staff, students, and alumni worldwide.

“Additionally, we collaborate with industry experts, provide internships for practical experience, and adopt an interdisciplinary approach, ensuring a holistic understanding of sustainability challenges. Our commitment extends to world-class research to tackle global challenges and generate societal benefits. Our Global Research Institute for Net Zero is dedicated to climate studies and supports faculty and students to contribute to cutting-edge research.”

One hallmark of Heriot-Watt University’s commitment to sustainability is the integration of green building principles into campus infrastructure. “We have established a solar energy testing facility on the university roof and are working with industry to develop new solar technologies and optimise renewable energy systems. Additionally, the Heriot-Watt University Dubai campus is the only campus in the UAE to attain Gold status from the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED), the globally recognised green building rating system. And, as the most recent addition to the global estate, this prestigious achievement is leading the way for our five global locations,” says Prof. O’Donovan.

Beyond infrastructure, Heriot-Watt University fosters a culture of sustainable practices as students are encouraged to become leaders in climate action, aligning academic objectives with the pressing need for sustainable solutions. “We consistently explore ways to enhance the flexibility of education to suit the changing characteristics of the typical university student. Heriot-Watt University serves as an exemplary model of how higher education institutions can successfully integrate environmental responsibility into their operations and academic endeavours. We are already witnessing the tangible impact of these efforts and are committed to advancing them further,” says Prof. O’Donovan.