Dubai (2000s) / DSO / Education-Industry Alliance: from the education sector in Dubai Silicon Oasis
Higher education and specialised education are closely tied with high-tech based industrial zone. DSO is also not exceptional.
There are two vital institutes planned within the zone. The first one is the satellite campus of Rochester Institute of Technology within the zone. It started in 2008 with part-time graduate programs in engineering, IT, and business, and then made them full-time in 2009[i]. One year later, undergraduate programs in engineering, business and computing were also offered[ii]. Before 2011, all the campus facilities were located inside the DSO headquarters complex. However, as the whole program expanded and more students were involved, a new campus for RIT Dubai was inaugurated in DSO. As shown in the map, the new campus takes up the planned industrial high-tech logistic area. The change indicates the growing importance of this educational institute in this industrial zone.
The second one is a continuing educational program – Microelectronics Training Academy launched in 2005. The academy aims at providing education to engineers working in the zone, who will then become a skilled microelectronics workforce in the UAE and the region[iii].
Outside the zone, the location of DSO is also strategic in terms of education. Right next to it is the Academic City, where more than 12000 students study in 13 international higher education institutes[iv]. It provides a huge pool of professionals with higher education.
This kind of close spatial relationship between high-tech industrial zone and universities is one general urban feature we can observe throughout the world. However, this similar urban morphology has different initiatives in Dubai and other places. In mainstream technology industrial zones like the Silicon Valley, universities are the trigger of industrial aggregation[v]. But in Dubai, an established academic or industrial research tradition that could be tied to such property technology initiatives is lacking. Indeed, its most established higher education institution, i.e., the American University in Dubai, was only inaugurated in 1997[vi]. Under this circumstance, the initiative of Dubai Silicon Oasis is actually the global trend of high-tech development in the late 20th century, most prominently in the US, Europe, Japan and Singapore[vii]. The aim of collaborating with universities within the zone is clearly declared by DSOA – to ‘ensure the DSO community has a pool of talented hi-tech professionals.[viii]’ Education becomes the afterthought in the masterplan of the industrial zone, rather than initiative.
Apart from the Academic City I have mentioned above, Dubai has another university zone named ‘Knowledge Village’. It follows the same university-industry morphology where what right next to it are the Dubai Media City and Dubai Internet City. This case reinforces how Dubai plans its education sector in the city – it retains geographic intimacy between higher-education zone and high-tech industry ones, and provides state-of-the-art infrastructure and financial incentives to foreign institutions to encourage their entrance[ix]. This strategy is still market-oriented.
[i]Faisal Masudi, ‘US university to launch research wing in Dubai,’ Gulf News, Published August 20, 2008, http://gulfnews.com/news/uae/general/us-university-to-launch-research-wing-in-dubai-1.457620
[ii]Staff, ‘RIT Dubai to launch new undergraduate programmes,’ Gulf News, Published October 31, 2009, http://gulfnews.com/news/uae/education/rit-dubai-to-launch-new-undergraduate-programmes-1.521661
[iii] Kokila Jacob, ‘Dubai Silicon Oasis to launch training academy,’ Gulf News, Published November 15, 2005, http://gulfnews.com/business/sectors/technology/dubai-silicon-oasis-to-launch-training-academy-1.444660
[iv]Diac official website
[v]David Huffman, and John M. Quigley, “The role of the university in attracting high tech entrepreneurship: A Silicon Valley tale,” The Annals of Regional Science 36, no. 3 (2002): 403-419.
[vi]Ramin Keivani, Ali Parsa, and Bassem Younis, “Development of the ICT sector and urban competitiveness: the case of Dubai,” Journal of Urban Technology 10, no. 2 (2003): 19-46.
[ix]Rachel C Brooks, Alison Fuller, and Johanna Lesley Waters, Changing spaces of education: New perspectives on the nature of learning, Routledge, 2012.
C Brooks, Rachel, Alison Fuller, and Johanna Lesley Waters. Changing spaces of education: New perspectives on the nature of learning. Routledge, 2012.
DSOA. ‘RIT Dubai.’ DSOA Official Website. https://www.dsoa.ae/en/ecosystem/rit-dubai/
Huffman, David, and John M. Quigley. “The role of the university in attracting high tech entrepreneurship: A Silicon Valley tale.” The Annals of Regional Science 36, no. 3 (2002): 403-419.
Jacob, Kokila. ‘Dubai Silicon Oasis to launch training academy.’ Gulf News. Published November 15, 2005. http://gulfnews.com/business/sectors/technology/dubai-silicon-oasis-to-launch-training-academy-1.444660
Keivani, Ramin, Ali Parsa, and Bassem Younis. “Development of the ICT sector and urban competitiveness: the case of Dubai.” Journal of Urban Technology 10, no. 2 (2003): 19-46.
Masudi, Faisal. ‘US university to launch research wing in Dubai.’ Gulf News. Published August 20, 2008. http://gulfnews.com/news/uae/general/us-university-to-launch-research-wing-in-dubai-1.457620
Staff. ‘RIT Dubai to launch new undergraduate programmes.’ Gulf News. Published October 31, 2009. http://gulfnews.com/news/uae/education/rit-dubai-to-launch-new-undergraduate-programmes-1.521661