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Innovation Takes Center Stage (I-UP) Forum

Marquee event brings together representatives from industry, academia, and government

Building on the success of last year’s inaugural event, the second edition of Dubai International Academic City (DIAC) and Dubai Knowledge Village’s (DKV) Industry and University Partnerships Forum (I-UP) took place 9 -10th December, with a special focus on the role of innovation in the world of education and training.

I-UP was established to ignite conversations between leaders of academia and industry to enable universities to better understand the requirements of the workforce. By facilitating industry-education partnerships, the I-UP event provides an ideal platform to promote Dubai’s innovation-led economy and underline its credentials as both a Smart City and a fast rising centre of the Islamic economy.

The second edition of the I-UP Forum focused on how the education sector can contribute to the UAE’s National Innovation Strategy by bridging the gap between academia and industry. During the two day event, keynote speeches were given alongside panel discussions that included representatives from universities in Dubai, as well as other industry leaders and key government personnel.

The five main topics that were discussed during the event included innovation in the higher education sector, the Emiratisation challenge, innovation in the transition of Dubai into a Smart City, making Dubai the capital of the Islamic economy, and innovation methods in the SME/Entrepreneurship sector.

Highlights from the first day of the I-UP Forum included a panel discussion that focused on ‘Innovation in the Higher Education Sector’ and featured Randa Bessiso, Director of Manchester Business School, as well as Dr. Kevin Dunseath, Associate Consultant of IE Consulting – University of Oxford, amongst others.

On the second day of the event, Dr. Essa Al Bastaky, President of Dubai University, and Rabih Dabbousi, Managing Director of Cisco UAE, led an informative discussion on how innovation can enable the transition of Dubai into a Smart City. Professor Abdulla Al Shamsi, Vice Chancellor of The British University in Dubai, and Jassem Al Blooshi, Head of Retail Banking Group of Sharjah Islamic Bank, meanwhile featured on a panel that addressed the challenges of making Dubai the capital of the Islamic economy.

Commenting on the I-UP Forum, Dr. Ayoub Kazim, Managing Director of DIAC and DKV said: “The success of yet another I-UP Forum highlights the benefits of providing a platform for the world of academia, government and industry to convene and discuss ways of building a stronger economy and society. This year’s focus on innovation was particularly pertinent given that our leader Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum has this year called on everyone to embrace innovation and celebrate creativity and entrepreneurship. Facilitating industry-education partnerships is a big part of this journey. At DIAC and DKV, we are dedicated to contributing to the growth of the economy by helping develop purpose-built educational products and programmes that create a skilled and innovative workforce. We remain committed to ensuring students have the necessary skills to support the UAE’s economic expansion, particularly as global events like EXPO 2020 edge closer.”