Heriot-Watt University plays host to UAE construction delegates

The UAE trade delegation at the GRID

DELEGATES from five major Middle Eastern construction companies recently visited the new GRID building at Heriot-Watt University.

The delegates from the United Arab Emirates were representing Al Shafar General Contracting, Alec Construction, Turner Construction, Thornton Tomasetti and Jacobs Construction. The group wanted to see Scottish innovation in action and learn about the GRID building, which is billed as a locus for global research, innovation and discovery.

The GRID is due to open at Heriot-Watt University’s Riccarton campus in autumn 2019. It has been designed to act as a catalyst for radical innovation and international collaboration and better enable co-development of ideas and technology.

Dr Gillian Murray, deputy principal (enterprise and business) said, “Heriot-Watt has had a campus in Dubai since 2005 and this delegation underlines both the strength of our relationships across UAE and the potential for collaboration, focused on driving economic growth.

“By Investing in ground-breaking initiatives like GRID, we are showing our determination to break down barriers, between regions and traditional ways of learning.”

She continued, “Together we hope to identify collaborative, global research and innovation opportunities across key challenges facing the construction sector and to support Scottish companies to work together to develop products of the future.

“Scotland is a global leader in many sectors for which UAE has growing demand and strengthening bi-lateral relations will make it easier for Scottish businesses to access UAE markets.”

The innovation mission, organised and hosted by Heriot-Watt University, was sponsored by the UAE-UK Business Council, and supported by Scottish Enterprise/Scottish Development International. Delegates had the chance to visit a further three Scottish Innovation Centres, at Construction Scotland, CENSIS and The Data Lab, during their tour.

Another recent visitor to the GRID was Innovation and Trade Minister, Ivan McKee MSP. He commented, “It was great to visit Heriot-Watt University to see its brand-new GRID building and meet some inspiring entrepreneurs.

“Scotland is known for its vision as a world-leading entrepreneurial and innovative nation, one in which growth and innovation go hand-in-hand with fair work and delivering in a way which benefits everyone, so I look forward to seeing all that the GRID building can achieve.”

Dr Murray added, “This is a hugely exciting time for Heriot-Watt University.  We are investing over £50 million in new digital innovation initiatives, including £19 million pounds in GRID.

“We offer access to some of the best talent in the world, enabled by emerging technologies. In collaboration with key industry partners, we can create, curate and share new knowledge across sectors including manufacturing, health, energy and construction.”