RE­SEARCH FOR A NEW AGE

AMER­I­CAN UNIVER­SITY OF SHAR­JAH IS PLAN­NING TO SHAPE THE RE­GION’S FU­TURE THROUGH AN AM­BI­TIOUS RE­SEARCH AGENDA

CEO Middle East - - SPOTLIGHT - To find out more about re­search at AUS, visit https://www.aus.edu/re­search

LAST YEAR MARKED THE 20TH an­niver­sary of Amer­i­can Univer­sity of Shar­jah (AUS), one of the re­gion’s most pres­ti­gious in­sti­tu­tions. As its an­niver­sary cel­e­bra­tions sub­side, the univer­sity has set it­self a grand new agenda; to be­come the re­gion’s lead­ing re­search univer­sity, in just five years.

The new AUS re­search agenda was made pub­lic in May of this year by the univer­sity’s founder and pres­i­dent,

His High­ness Sheikh Dr. Sul­tan Bin Muham­mad Al Qasimi, Mem­ber of the Supreme Coun­cil of the United Arab Emi­rates and Ruler of Shar­jah. Four new re­search in­sti­tutes, sup­ported by two re­search cen­tres will drive the new agenda. These in­sti­tutes and cen­tres in­clude Bio­sciences and Bio­engi­neer­ing Re­search In­sti­tute (BBRI); Ma­te­ri­als Sci­ence and En­gi­neer­ing Re­search In­sti­tute (MSERI); Gulf En­vi­ron­ments Re­search In­sti­tute (GERI); Smart

Cities Re­search In­sti­tute (SCRI); High-Per­for­mance Com­put­ing Cen­ter (HPCC) and Geospa­tial Anal­y­sis

Cen­ter (GAC). A Ge­nomics Re­search Lab­o­ra­tory has also been es­tab­lished.

In be­com­ing an in­ter­na­tion­ally renowned re­search univer­sity, AUS will be re-ori­en­tat­ing its long-held rep­u­ta­tion as one of the Mid­dle

East’s most re­spected teach­ing uni­ver­si­ties. The univer­sity is known for its pro­vi­sion of Amer­i­can-style, lib­eral arts ed­u­ca­tion. It is also re­garded by the re­gion’s em­ploy­ers as be­ing a provider of some of the best grad­u­ate tal­ent, across a num­ber of dis­ci­plines, in­clud­ing the arts, sciences, en­gi­neer­ing, ar­chi­tec­ture and busi­ness. Dr. Björn Kjer­fve, Chan­cel­lor of AUS, is adamant that the univer­sity will not only main­tain, but build its rep­u­ta­tion for un­der­grad­u­ate ex­cel­lence, along­side its de­vel­op­ment as a re­search leader.

“Since our found­ing in 1997, we have es­tab­lished an ex­cel­lent lib­eral-arts fo­cused univer­sity, with our alumni go­ing on to achieve countless suc­cesses in gov­ern­ment and busi­ness, both here and fur­ther afield,” he says. “Now is the time for AUS to em­bark on a new era, set­ting new goals that will chal­lenge us, but also lead to a new era for the univer­sity, and al­low AUS to con­tinue to con­trib­ute to the re­gion’s de­vel­op­ment, and the rise of the UAE on the global stage”.

With the UAE com­mit­ted to a pro­gram of eco­nomic di­ver­si­fi­ca­tion and na­tional-scale knowl­edge build­ing, the AUS re­search agenda has been de­signed to align with the coun­try’s wider re­search needs. The four new AUS re­search in­sti­tutes will house in­ves­ti­ga­tions into ar­eas of max­i­mum sig­nif­i­cance to the UAE, ex­am­in­ing crit­i­cal is­sues in cli­mate change, health sciences, ma­te­ri­als sciences and ur­ban plan­ning. The univer­sity also in­tends to draw the in­ter­est and in­put of lo­cal and in­ter­na­tional busi­ness, work­ing with in­dus­try to find sus­tain­able so­lu­tions to com­mer­cial chal­lenges.

The scale of the univer­sity’s re­search am­bi­tions are also ex­pected to draw a num­ber of in­ter­na­tion­ally re­garded re­searchers and aca­demics to AUS, help­ing to drive its re­search out­comes. Over the next five years, the univer­sity ex­pects to in­crease its PhD of­fer­ing

(the Col­lege of En­gi­neer­ing re­cently launched the univer­sity’s first doc­toral pro­gram, a PhD in En­gi­neer­ing Sys­tems Man­age­ment), with ap­prox­i­mately 700 PhD can­di­dates es­ti­mated to take part in the new pro­grams. Up to 140 new re­search-fo­cused fac­ulty will join the univer­sity to teach and lead re­search, with ad­di­tional po­si­tions be­ing cre­ated for post-doc­toral re­searchers also likely.

The breadth of the AUS re­search agenda looks set to have a trans­for­ma­tive im­pact not just on the univer­sity, but also on the wider com­mu­nity of which it is part.

“The hall­mark of a world-class univer­sity is not only the im­pact that it has on its stu­dents, but the in­flu­ence it has at a lo­cal, re­gional and global level,” says Dr. Kjer­fve. “AUS has there­fore com­mit­ted to a re­search agenda that is closely mapped to the needs of the UAE, as well as in­di­vid­u­als and com­mu­ni­ties across the world; gen­er­at­ing in­no­va­tions and so­lu­tions that will shape the way in which we all live for the bet­ter”.

Chart­ing up­wards Dr. Björn Kjer­fve, Chan­cel­lor is look­ing to to build AUS’ pedi­gree in re­search

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