American University of Sharjah Enterprises & Finland’s Oulu University of Applied Sciences sign MOU to develop local innovation ecosystem

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During the MOU signing

The American University of Sharjah Enterprises (AUSE) has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Oulu University of Applied Sciences (OAMK), one of the largest universities of applied sciences in Finland, to collaborate on the development of a world-class innovation ecosystem in the Emirate of Sharjah.

The agreement aims to form collaborative public-private sector relationships to grow knowledge-intensive businesses. It will also support the objectives of Sharjah’s Research, Technology and Innovation (RTI) Park which is being developed under the supervision of AUSE to connect with local and international players to undertake practice-oriented education and demand-driven research activities. The partnership complements the vision of H.H. to make the American University of Sharjah a leading Research and Development (R&D)-driven university in the Middle East.

Under the terms of the MoU, both parties will encourage the establishment of construction startups by working with international partners, construction businesses, officials and educational institutions that have trained under OAMK LABs, a unique training and development program developed by OAMK that focuses on entrepreneurship and multidisciplinary learning. The goal is to significantly reduce costs and lead time in small residential building construction. The AUSE-OAMK partnership will act as a pilot for the creation of an interdisciplinary business incubator program in Sharjah and will promote innovative practices such as 3D technology-assisted construction.

Hussain Al Mahmoudi, CEO, American University of Sharjah Enterprises, said: “Our MoU with Oulu University of Applied Sciences is in line with the directive of His Highness Sheikh Dr. Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Sharjah, to establish innovation and entrepreneurship as pillars for the emirate’s comprehensive and sustained growth. Given its advanced education system and leading expertise in research and development, OAMK is an important partner for harnessing Sharjah’s immense business potentials – especially among its 65,000 small and medium-sized enterprises which collectively form the UAE’s biggest industry platform.”

Mr Jyrki Röpelinen, Director of Education and RDI, Oulu University of Applied Sciences Ltd., added: “Research, development and innovation or RDI is one of the most essential functions for any university specializing in applied sciences after teaching. Through our extensive experience in RDI, we intend to support business development within Sharjah in tandem with the American University of Sharjah Enterprises to ensure that the emirate has a competent workforce and strong international linkages. We will also work together towards developing innovation-driven activities and providing strategic assistance to key business activities.”

The first activity post the MOU signing is an Introduction Workshop that will unveil the ‘Construction Industry Innovation Challenge Program;’ which aims to encourage the active involvement of local construction and engineering firms as well as the American University of Sharjah’s faculty and students; and share project and marketing plan updates. Representatives from AUSE and OAMK will participate along with faculty members of the American University of Sharjah.