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Sharjah 2015 | EDUCATION | INTERVIEW

TBY talks to Professor Hamid M.K. Al Naimiy, Chancellor of the University of Sharjah, on the structure of the institution, improving research, and the wealth of new technological centers in the Emirate.

Professor Hamid M.K. Al Naimiy
BIOGRAPHY
Prior to his appointment as Chancellor of the University of Sharjah in 2014, Al Naimiy served as Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs and Dean of the College of Sciences at UOS. He has served in a number of different positions at universities in the UAE and across the Arab world including UAE University, Al Ain, Al al-Bayt University in Jordan, and the University of Baghdad. He is well known internationally for his contributions to teaching and research in the fields of applied physics, astronomy, and space sciences. He has published over 120 papers in journals, 32 books, and more than 800 articles, in addition to having over 500 TV interviews to his name. He also has extensive editorial experience in journals related to science.

What is the University of Sharjah's position in the international education sector in terms of its programs, number of students, and extracurricular activities?

The University of Sharjah, which was founded in 1997 by His Highness Sheikh Dr. Sultan Bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, Member of the Supreme Council, Ruler of Sharjah, and President of the University of Sharjah, is considered a preeminent center of higher education and research at the national, regional, and international levels. Its broad expanse of land includes its main campus in Sharjah and branch locations in Khorfakkan, Kalba, Dibba, and Maleiha, in addition to a new branch that will soon be opened in Dhaid. Catering to a student population of 14,000 young men and women, the university offers over 85 academic programs in a diverse range of specializations at the diploma, Bachelor's, Master's, and PhD levels, as well as extracurricular activities through various cultural clubs, student societies, and athletic programs. The university takes pride in having graduated over 19,000 students, many of whom have assumed important positions throughout the UAE and across the globe.

How is the University of Sharjah working toward improving scientific research in the region?

Each campus contains state-of-the art facilities to enhance university studies and develop the research capabilities of faculty and students in accordance with the strategic vision of the local administration, which calls for raising the profile of the university to an international level in the field of research. New strategic directions were formulated in cooperation with leading international experts and specialized institutions with the aim of fulfilling the university's mission to serve the local and regional communities and contribute to the welfare of humanity. The university has begun to realize this global vision through the merging and development of its centers, laboratories, and research institutes under several newly-established specialized research institutes, which include the Sharjah Institute for Medical and Health Sciences Research, the Institute for Sciences and Engineering Research, the Institute for Humanities and Social Sciences Research, and the Institute for Teaching and Faculty Development, in addition to nine centers of excellence in research. To ensure the success of these institutes, the university has introduced professorship chairs, valued at AED50 million ($13.61 million), and is actively collaborating with renowned international universities, institutions, and research centers with which it has established partnerships pursuant to numerous agreements personally signed into effect by the Ruler of Sharjah and President of the University. His Highness further generously granted the endowment of 13 luxury apartments to support research at the University of Sharjah.

How would you assess the impact of the university's overall growth strategy on the economy of Sharjah?

Prior to introducing any new academic programs at the University of Sharjah, the university conducts studies and surveys to determine the most urgent needs of the local and regional job market. UOS students are rigorously prepared to meet these demands in terms of skills, theory, and practical experience related to their fields of specialization. Academic programs and research at the university are geared to propel the Emirate of Sharjah economy forward in an upward thrust in order to contribute to the growth, development, and services of the local and regional communities. The massive expansion of UOS over the course of 18 years is representative of the success of the health and training services provided by University Hospital Sharjah (UHS), the University Dental Hospital Sharjah (UHDS), and the Sharjah Surgical Institution (SSI). Pivotal to future directions in space exploration and research is the newly established Sharjah Center for Space Science and Astronomy (SCASS), slated to open in April 2015.