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Nasser Abu Shehab, Wendy Morton MP and Professor David Sadler at the signing ceremony

Roads and Transport Authority (RTA) will establish its Research and Innovation Centre at the University of Birmingham’s new campus at Dubai Academic City – creating a facility that will help drive RTA’s innovation agenda and support the next generation of UAE innovators, start-ups, universities and the technology companies.

Mr. Nasser Abu Shehab, CEO, Strategy and Corporate Governance on behalf of RTA while Professor David Sadler, University of Birmingham Dubai Provost signed on behalf of the University in the presence of Ms. Wendy Morton MP, Minister of State in the Department for Transport – visiting the campus whilst representing the UK Government in the UAE.

The signing builds on an agreement signed in 2019 to develop the education and research programme which has resulted into one-of a kind partnership between the authority and a university to establish an Innovation and R&D Centre inside of a university. The Centre which is 1,151sq m, spread across two floors will features co-working spaces, protype areas and facilities to conduct Innovation Labs and Training Programmes.

RTA Innovation and R&D Centre at University of Birmingham Dubai is an important milestone in RTA’s 'Innovation Roadmap’ as it will not only provide tools and resources to enhance the culture of Innovation and experimentation at RTA, but it will also allow RTA to effectively engage with its external ecosystem.”

Mr. Nasser Abu Shehab, CEO, Strategy and Corporate Governance at RTA

Nasser Abu Shehab Commented: “Pursuing the vision of RTA ‘To be the world leader in seamless & sustainable mobility’, to demonstrate innovation leadership of the authority, the engagement with our key strategic partners such as Universities, Start-ups, Partners and Customers is RTA’s key success factor. RTA Innovation and R&D Centre at University of Birmingham Dubai is an important milestone in ‘RTA’s Innovation Roadmap’ as it will not only provide tools and resources to enhance the culture of Innovation and experimentation at RTA, but it will also allow RTA to effectively engage with external ecosystem.”

The Centre will support an education and research programme based at the campus, which opens shortly to deliver a flexible, hi-tech student experience that is both enjoyable and productive and iconic in architectural terms, even by Dubai standards.

This partnership between Dubai and the University of Birmingham is a fantastic opportunity to drive innovation in transport and create exciting opportunities for research and education. This is a brilliant example of brand Britain spreading innovation, collaboration and supporting economic growth around the world.”

Wendy Morton MP, Minister of State in the Department for Transport

Further to the vital areas of Innovation and experimentation, the Centre will also aim to support and strengthen the collaboration between the two organisations in the areas of education and training programmes and scientific research.

Wendy Morton said: “This partnership between Dubai and the University of Birmingham is a fantastic opportunity to drive innovation in transport and create exciting opportunities for research and education.

“This is a brilliant example of brand Britain spreading innovation, collaboration and supporting economic growth around the world.”

Professor David Sadler commented: “We’re proud to work with RTA in further building a partnership that will drive innovation in roads and transport, whilst creating exciting opportunities for research and education collaboration.

“As a global university with a civic outlook, we’re committed to playing our part in supporting the UAE as it drives economic progress through knowledge and innovation. Creating the Research and Innovation Centre underpins this collaboration between the University of Birmingham Dubai and RTA.

“We look forward to welcoming RTA staff to their new home within our iconic new campus and anticipate many years of fruitful co-operation ahead, as we work together to innovate and train the next generation of UAE transport engineers.”

The transport education and research programme provide a means for RTA to access all academic programmes offered by the University and take part in research and consultancy studies for the benefit of the Dubai economy and the UAE.

The University of Birmingham Dubai offers foundation, undergraduate and postgraduate programmes across a range of areas. 

  • The University of Birmingham is ranked amongst the world’s top 100 institutions. It was established by Queen Victoria in 1900 as Great Britain’s first civic university, where students from all religions and backgrounds were accepted on an equal basis.
  • The University is renowned for its research excellence and its researchers have received 10 Nobel Prizes. From pioneering organ transplants, discovering gravitational waves and furthering understanding of Shakespeare, to developing cures for cancer, advances in robotics and revealing the structure of DNA, the University has been at the forefront of some of the most ground-breaking discoveries of the last 100 years.
  • As the first global top 100 and elite UK Russell Group university to establish a campus in Dubai, the University of Birmingham Dubai delivers the highest-quality education underpinned by a growing research focus in a leading global educational hub.
  • Designed to reflect real-world working practices, the University’s new campus opens shortly and encourages students to carry out research in interdisciplinary teams across all academic subjects. Flexible study spaces ensure students have a learning environment suited to their needs; whether in large lecture theatres and laboratories or smaller seminar and tutorial rooms.
  • With architecture inspired by the historic Aston Webb buildings on the Birmingham campus, the Dubai facilities use shaded open-air courtyard spaces to create an enjoyable and productive student experience. The buildings sit next to parkland offering sports pitches and an open-air event space, whilst new student accommodation is a short walk away, across the parkland.