Sustainability Has Taken Centre Stage in Public Debate, say Experts

Published December 30th, 2007 - 08:10 GMT

The issue of sustainable development in construction will be a central theme of 2008, according to experts at The British University in Dubai (BUiD), the Middle East’s first research-based postgraduate university.

In the United Arab Emirates, government and business are agreed on the target of “going green” during 2008, with buildings and the construction industry set to play a major role in this process.  BUiD’s Masters Degree in the Sustainable Design of the Built Environment has been designed to play a major role in facilitating this process.

“Just over a year ago, BUiD hosted a major conference on sustainable development in construction, where delegates discussed essential issues around the impact of building on the environment. In the months that followed, discussion of sustainability issues became a widespread feature of public life,” said Dr Bassam Abu-Hijleh, Atkins Senior Lecturer, The British University in Dubai.

Reviewing the research and teaching of The British University in Dubai’s Faculty of Engineering, Dr Bassam Abu-Hijleh claimed that his colleagues were gearing up to meet the construction needs of the rapidly expanding region.

“In a year when leading construction companies issued stark warnings to ‘get sustainable or go under’, we’re very proud to be ahead of the curve with our delivery of research-based programmes designed to support current and future professionals,” declared Dr Ahmad Okeil, Senior Lecturer in Architecture, who focuses on giving students firsthand experience on the conscientious integration of theory and practice.

The MSc Sustainable Design of the Built Environment is organised around the needs of working professionals, available in full- and part-time modes of delivery to allow maximum flexibility for those wishing to combine employment and study.

Working with BUiD colleagues, the Faculty has endeavored to provide cutting edge programmes and research to support the rapid development of the Middle East and to address the resulting concerns. Its faculty members continued to develop a world-class research and publication record.

The programme has also benefited from the dedication and oversight of the SDBE Advisory Committee, chaired by Mr. Richard Smith of sustainable construction giants Atkins, and involving representatives of over a dozen key concerns in this field, ranging from Hyder Consulting to Dubai Municipality. The composition of the advisory group reflects BUiD’s commitment to working with leading institutions in the Government and NGO fields, as well as such luminaries in the contracting consultancy field such as Nakheel and Emaar.

Pedagogically, the BUiD team has delivered full-time and part-time versions of its Masters degree programme in collaboration with top-rated The Welsh School of Architecture at Cardiff University. For the working architect or city planner, a wide variety of Continuing Professional Development courses in many areas related to the Built Environment have been made available during 2007.

Throughout the year staff applied innovative teaching methods in order to provide students from different backgrounds with a more sustainable approach to building design within a modern architectural context.

“Growing concern with sustainable architecture and design creates a pressing need for training at postgraduate level in order to prepare practitioners for leading roles in their respective professions” said Bassam Abu-Hijleh, anticipating further triumphs in 2008.

About the British University in Dubai:

The British University in Dubai (BUiD) is the Middle East's first research-based, postgraduate university. The University was established to facilitate access to world-class education, training and research in the Middle East. BUiD aspires to the highest, internationally recognized British standards as reflected in its partnership with the University of Edinburgh, the University of Birmingham, the University of Manchester, Cardiff University and the Cass Business School at City University, London. Each has a five or five-star rating in the UK national Research Assessment Exercise that signifies research of international standard.

The not-for-profit university offers full and part-time Masters Degree programmes and Continuing Professional Development courses in Information Technology, Project Management, Human Resources Management, Sustainable Design of the Built Environment, Finance and Banking, Education, and IT Management.

All BUiD's current Masters Programmes have received Initial Accreditation Eligibility Status from the UAE Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research's Commission for Academic Accreditation.

The founders of the University are the Al Maktoum Foundation, the Dubai Development and Investment Authority, Rolls-Royce, the British Business Group and the National Bank of Dubai. The University is governed by a Council under the chairmanship of Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum.

The Emirates Group, DUCAB, Atkins, Dubai Duty Free, Hyder Consulting, the Emirates Foundation and DUGAS are supporters of the university through financial contributions or the provision of scholarships.



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