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Doctoral students rise to Dubai’s innovation challenge


The British University in Dubai, UAE’s first research-based University held the first Doctoral Conference on Saturday 16thMay at the university located in Dubai International Academic City. More than 40 BUiD Doctoral students presented academic papers and posters reflecting their scientific research in such diverse areas as Sustainability, Innovation, Knowledge Management in Health Care, Organising Complex Projects, and Education at the event. Many of the students are in full-time employment and have chosen thesis topics that address R&D challenges experienced in the workplace. The event showcased their applied and theoretical research, is a result of an initiative taken by the BUiD Research Students’ Forum under the leadership of Vice-Chancellor, Prof Abdullah Alshamsi, and the direction of Prof Ashly Pinnington, Dean of Research at BUiD.


Professor Ghassan Aouad, President of the Applied Sciences University, Bahrain set the conference rolling forward with his keynote presentation on “The Art and Science of doing a PhD”. This is followed by a series of break-out sessions, led by the BUiD Doctoral students. A delegation of academics from University of Manchester, UK assessed the student presentations at the end of the event; the six best papers received awards from Prof Abdullah Alshamsi, Vice-Chancellor of The British University and Prof Ashly Pinnington, Dean of Research at BUiD.


The six of the award winning papers were of Ms.Vandana Gandhi, EdD student “Investigating the parental factors that contribute to the learning of children at quality certifies and non-certified preschools in UAE”. Ms Jaqueline Lottin’s, EdD student “A Case Study Investogation of Special Needs Inclusion Policy Implementation in three Abu Dhabi Public Schools”, Mr Mohammed Assaf , EdD student “Research Proposal on examining the perspectives of Public School’s Grade 12 Emirati students on writing challenges in English School.” Mr Yacoub Petro, PhD Project Management student “PMO typologies in the UAE and its integration”, Ms Shaima Al Harmoodi EdD student “Stakeholder integration in open innovation construction projects” and Ms Shireen Chaya’s paper “Diversity Leveraging & Diversity- competent Leadership: The case of leadership in UAE organisations.”


Prof Pinnington believes events such as BUiD’s Doctoral Conference are an essential part of UAE’s Year of Innovation, encouraging Dubai’s dynamic professionals and managers to take on the intellectual challenges of the Nation’s vision for sustained success. Prof Pinnington said, “All of our doctoral students are personally motivated to achieve high practical and commercial impacts from their research. As a result, their research outputs will be contributing directly to the UAE economy and innovation agenda.”


Dr Solomon Arulraj David, (Assistant Professor, Faculty of Education), Professor Udi Ojiako, (Associate Professor of Project Management) along with Meera Reyasa, Executive Administrator for Research, along with other academics and students at BUiD and the UK Universities in its Alliance, have worked together to put together this event. Prof Abdullah Alshamsi said, “The Doctoral students require a combination of strong research skills and persuasive communication skills to get across their ideas and convince stakeholders of their findings. BUiD’s Doctoral Conference is part of BUiD’s toolkit for enhancing these skills of our Doctoral students.”


BUiD was the first University to launch an MoHESR accredited doctoral programme in the UAE, with its EdD in 2010, and graduated the first batch of doctoral students in 2013. BUiD currently offers Doctoral programmes in four research areas – the PhD and professional Doctorate in Education, and PhDs in Project Management, Architecture & Sustainable Built Environment s, and Computer Science. There are currently 146 Doctoral students at BUiD, with graduates now in double figures and the profile of both groups include a substantial number of Emiratis as well as diverse representation from elsewhere across the Arab world, Indian sub-continent and the other nationalities of cosmopolitan Dubai.


The Alliance through which BUiD works with “Russell Group” members - namely the University of Manchester, University of Edinburgh, University of Glasgow and Cardiff University - enables students to conduct research, which is on a par with UK standards. Mr Anas Bataw, Assistant Lecturer, University of Manchester and Dr Maria Papadaki, Senior Relationship Manager, BUiD - UK Universities Alliance at the University of Manchester are working with BUiD Doctoral students and academics to design and facilitate events, workshops and processes to co-ordinate the efforts and resources of all five Higher Education Institutions and bring the best practices of British higher education and research to the UAE.


The Registrar, Martin Prince summed up the value of the Conference as “a significant and major step forward so that the UAE can take its rightful place in innovation and university indices, by strengthening its record in research outputs and publications that have strong academic and practical impact.”


About The British University in Dubai


The British University in Dubai (BUiD) was established in 2003 to be the Middle East’s leading research-based postgraduate university, facilitating world-class education, training and research. It provides an important and growing community and resource for young professionals, leading academics, corporate managers and aspiring leaders of all description.


BUiD located in Dubai International Academic City, a truly local university, is licensed by the UAE Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research and internationally (NARIC) recognised for its top quality education, which is on par with British standards thanks to its association with UK-based universities including the University of Edinburgh, the University of Manchester, Cardiff University, and the University of Glasgow.


BUiD offers full and part-time research based Masters Degree programmes, PG Diplomas and Certificates; the regions first accredited Doctorate in Education and the PhD in Project Management, Ph D in Architecture & Sustainable Built Environment , and PhD in Computer Science. Masters programmes and Post Graduate Diplomas in: Education, Finance and Banking, Human Resource Management, Informatics (Knowledge and Data Management), IT Management, Project Management, Construction Management, Systems Engineering, Construction Law and Dispute Resolution, Sustainable Design of the Built Environment , Intelligent Building Design and Automation, Business administration(MBA),Structural Engineering , and Recently Engineering Management.


The non-profit university has attracted academic experts to develop regionally tailored programmes, in which they extend and challenge the boundaries of knowledge, understanding and research.


BUiD works in collaboration with leading organization and institutions including Atkins, Emirates Green Building Council, , the federal Ministry of Education, government and associated bodies Human Resource Forums agencies for Academic and professional development across the UAE’s public and private sectors.


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 chancellorship of His Highness Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum.

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