It brought together more than 20 business leaders from the UK and Dubai to discuss opportunities in the Middle East construction market.
The event was funded by the UK-UAE Business Council in partnership with Scottish Development International (SDI). It aimed to build on the relationship with the international enterprise agency, which co-funds the university’s Dubai-based business development post.
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.
Later this year, the university will open Grid, a new £19m facility in Edinburgh that aims to provide an inspiring space for students, academics and industry to develop talent and innovate.
“We’re pioneering a new model for innovation based on international connectivity," said Dr Gill Murray, deputy principal for innovation and business. “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.”
Aecom global building information modelling (BIM) consultancy director David Philp 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, 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.”
Construction Scotland Innovation Centre head of business relationships Lucy Black 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.”