Dubai's UOWD outlook for sustainability in engineering

The University of Wollongong Dubai’s (UOWD) Professor Khalid Hussain, discusses the future of sustainability in engineering

The University of Wollongong Dubai's Professor Khaled Hussain (pictured)
The University of Wollongong Dubai's Professor Khaled Hussain (pictured)

Engineers are the ultimate problem solvers. Their specialist technical and practical skills are in a league of their own. The unique combination of mathematics, science, research, prototypes, design, maintenance and production are an invaluable skillset that keeps the world functional.

Every industry that powers society depends, at least in some part, on the precise and efficient work of engineers.

Engineers provide technological solutions to the problems, issues and ideas that affect all aspects of our lives.

They design, manufacture and maintain almost everything – from computers, medical devices, spacecrafts, cars, airplanes, rails and boats to corkscrews, buildings and chemical reactors.

In the UAE, we have benefitted incredibly from this, whether it is our world-class infrastructure, our skyscrapers or even the mere fact we can continue to inhabit a part of the world that is otherwise unfavourable with its extreme temperatures and lack of natural resources. 

Engineering plays a key role in supporting the growth and development of a country’s economy as well as in improving the quality of life for citizens.

As such, there is an important link between a country’s engineering capacity and its economic development. Examples of this include not just roads and bridges, but also digital and communications infrastructure.

Today, sustainability in growth has become an increasingly important theme both locally and globally.

It is now the central tenet of thinking across sectors irrespective of the service offered or product produced.

With products and processes becoming increasingly complex, engineers need to consider the impact of the use of natural resources on people and environment.

As careers emerge, their traditional counterparts are faced with the challenge of attracting talent. However, it is on the foundations of these imperative roles, which as a society, can continue to grow.

As we embark on showcasing ourselves to the world with Expo 2020, there will be an increased need for skilled engineering graduates in UAE, whether it is computers, civil, mechanical, electrical or any of the other fields of engineering.

Mechanical engineers will play a central role in Expo 2020: engineering visitors’ ambient comfort, safely moving visitors from place to place, proposing new technological innovations to visitors, and many more.

The UAE pavilion, designed in the shape of a falcon in flight, has been designed by the famous Spanish architect and civil engineer, Santiago Calatrava. Other branches of engineering such as telecommunications and computers are major contributors in bringing this project to life.

What does this mean for aspiring engineers?

To create a niche, engineers need to marry innovation and sustainability. Successful graduates inculcate core competencies such as problem solving, analytical skills and structural methods of thinking that are key ingredients into moulding future managers and leaders.

At University of Wollongong in Dubai, we consider it imperative to embrace the reality, and include context and ethics, to encourage critical thinking amongst our graduates.

Considering that the world of work is evolving at an incredible pace with the integration of AI, machine learning and other Fourth Industrial Revolution technologies, it is critical to equipping our graduates with skills to tackle the challenges of the 21st century.

At University of Wollongong Dubai, our specialisations include mechanical, civil, telecommunications, electrical and computer engineering.

Fundamental to our approach is continued pursuit of excellence in teaching, research, industry engagement and student experience.

In the course of 12 years, since we launched our first engineering program, we have graduated 857 engineers and prepared them to aid the growth and development of this nation.

Our focus is to bring more students to the field and develop engineering solutions so that they can play an instrumental role in nation building.

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