Dubai: A new urban agriculture research centre will be set up in Dubai to explore innovative food production to make smart cities more self-sustainable.

University of Wollongong in Dubai (UOWD) announced on Sunday that it will ink a new deal with private Swedish firm Plantagon, a firm that describes itself in the field of “agritecture”, that will see the new research facility built in Dubai.

In a statement, Plantagon said it’s “objective is to meet the rising demand for locally grown food in cities around the world, and minimise the use of transportation, land, energy and water.”

With concerns about food security rising around the globe, both the university and the private firm will work together to look for new ways to bolster food production that enhances a smart city.

University of Wollongong said on Sunday it will offer expertise in “supply chain management, marketing management, quality management, engineering services, ICT and big data solutions for smart cities” to match Plantagon’s industry experience in “infrastructure-integrated and resource-efficient urban food systems.”

Owe Pettersson, CEO of Plantagon International AB, said, “Plantagon believes that strategies for innovative food production play a great role in the development of Smart cities, and will be a fundamental for all city development in the future. We also see that more research is vital in this area. We hope that Plantagon’s experience will be an asset in this important and much needed partnership in a very forward-thinking part of the world.”

Soud Baalawy, board member of Plantagon Agritechture, noted that urban “farming is a prerequisite for any city claiming to be sustainable. It goes beyond producing food and connects the necessities and security of food, energy and water — what is referred to as ‘Few nexus’.”

Professor Mohamed Salem, President of UOWD said the “partnership is a huge step forward for the university as we are able to use our strengths to contribute significantly to the development of smart cities in the UAE and the region, adding value to the establishment of sustainable communities”.

Professor Barry O’Mahony, Dean of the Faculty of Business said: “The development of a smart city requires participation, innovative ideas and expertise from a wide range of stakeholders. We are in a unique position to bring business, academia and the UAE government together to share initiatives to become a greener and more robust city”.