Royal Agricultural University welcomes delegation from Emirate of Sharjah following partnership

14 July 2023

A high-level delegation from the Emirate of Sharjah in the United Arab Emirates, including representatives from the Sharjah Private Education Authority, University of Sharjah, Sharjah Department of Public Works, and Sharjah Agriculture and Livestock Authority, has spent time visiting, and meeting senior staff at, the Royal Agricultural University (RAU) this week.

The visit, which also included time spent at the University of Bristol, follows the signing in May of a Memorandum of Understanding between the RAU, the University of Bristol, and the University of Al Dhaid in Sharjah, to deliver new education and research programmes in sustainable agriculture and veterinary medicine, as well as to build research capacity and expertise to solve global challenges, such as how to grow wheat in a desert.

RAU vice-Chancellor Professor Peter McCaffery said: “We were delighted to welcome their Excellencies from Sharjah – the equivalent of our Ministers of Agriculture, Education, and Public Works – on their three-day visit to RAU this week.

“They are on a quest to produce the world’s finest wheat in the desert – and our aim is to help them do just that!

“We will be delivering our undergraduate Agricultural Sciences programme in Sharjah next year, working in collaboration with the University of Bristol who will be providing their Veterinary Medicine programme.”

The primary objective of this week’s visit was to explore areas of mutual collaboration and develop programmes for the University of Al Dhaid. By focusing on undergraduate programmes in veterinary, sustainable agriculture, zoology, and desert science, all three institutions hope to cultivate innovative academic offerings that align with the evolving needs of the global agricultural landscape.

As well as knowledge exchange sessions with academics from both the RAU and the University of Bristol, the visit included a tour of the RAU campus, a formal lunch, traditional English afternoon tea, and a tree planting ceremony to commemorate the partnership.

His Excellency Engineer Ali Saeed Bin Shaheen Al Suwaidi, Chairman of the Sharjah Department of Public Works, said: “The collaboration between the universities will leverage the expertise and knowledge of both parties, fostering intellectual exchange, research partnerships, and joint initiatives.

“Through the exploration of innovative techniques in sustainable agriculture, zoology, and desert science, the University of Al Dhaid aims to cultivate a new generation of graduates equipped with the skills and acumen to tackle critical issues related to food security, biodiversity preservation, and environmental sustainability.

“The Sharjah delegation engaged in comprehensive discussions, knowledge-sharing sessions, and site visits, exploring cutting-edge research facilities and gaining insights into the advanced educational methodologies employed at the RAU. The shared experiences and collaborative efforts will pave the way for a fruitful partnership and provide a solid foundation for the development of ground-breaking educational programs.”

The partnership will also give students from all three universities the opportunity to collaborate and visit each other while the new programmes will help the Emirate of Sharjah to address the key issues of food security, climate change, and animal welfare by creating more sustainable crop and livestock systems while building critical veterinary and agriculture capacity.

Professor McCaffery added: “This is the start of a long and fruitful relationship with Sharjah which will foster research collaboration and opportunities for student and staff exchanges. It will help Sharjah develop more sustainable crop and livestock systems and build critical agricultural and veterinary capacity while providing us with revenues to invest in enhancing the student and staff experience and improving our campus infrastructure here at Cirencester.”