Free Zone

University dubbed as a global research center that embraces technology, innovation, creativity, and scientific research

UAE, March 24 2019- Hamdan Bin Mohammed Smart University (HBMSU) is planning to join forces with Signify, which was formerly known as Philips Lighting, as part of its preparations and readiness to launch the first innovation and economic free zone among UAE universities. This initiative falls in line with the university’s vision to build fruitful partnerships with major international companies in order to provide a unique educational and research product for learners and entrepreneurs—aimed at changing the face of education and promoting a culture of entrepreneurship and thus drive empowerment in the Arab world. Dr. Mansoor Al Awar, Chancellor of HBMSU, made the announcement at Ignite Summit 2019, which was recently held in Eindhoven, the Netherlands, under the theme ‘Radical Collaboration’. The event was organized to demonstrate leading leadership experiences and share forward-looking visions of sustainable growth through 2019 and beyond.

The free zone has received a great deal of extensive discussions, receiving widespread praise for the key role played by the University as a nucleus for building the future and a beacon of innovation and business intelligence. The Innovation Center, which is to be established within the UAE's first free innovation and economic zone, is being positioned as a strategic link between the key elements of the University and the specialized resources of its partners from both the public and private sectors and major international and multinational companies headed by Signify, to conduct applied research and specialized projects and to come up with real and effective solutions that meet the needs and requirements of the local and international business community. During the event, important meetings were held that resulted in the identification of new areas of bilateral cooperation, the first being an agreed joint training in the framework of various programs that would qualify the university learners to obtain a certificate from ‘Signify’ at the completion of the training course; and conducting important research projects by faculty members and learners at the university on a number of pressing issues and topics proposed by ‘Signify.’ The two parties also expressed their intentions to establish a joint assessment center for designers, and architects. ‘Signify’ will benefit from the University’s expertise in assessment, related procedures, the content and certificates.

Dr. Al Awar expressed his delight in being part of Ignite Summit 2019, having been invited as one of the event’s main speakers upon the invitation of Goktug Gur, Signify’s CEO in the Middle East, Turkey, and Pakistan. The leading lighting company organized the big event that was attended by over 180 leaders from around the world. The summit also threw the spotlight on the achievements of four international clients who presented unique models in terms of innovation, creativity and excellence in vital areas. Dr. Al Awar shared that the summit highlighted the role of collaborative efforts in driving innovation, creativity, and excellence and opening up new opportunities for sustainable growth in reflection to the Sustainable Development Plans (SDGs) 2030. He also reaffirmed HBMSU’s commitment to participate in this international platform, which represents strong proof of the international community’s trust and confidence in the university’s capability to bring real and positive change to the global education system. Education is the cornerstone of a comprehensive national development and a better and safer future for present and future generations.

In his presentation, Dr. Al Awar shared the university’s successful stories of the university as it leads the global efforts to re-conceptualize learning and transform the future universities into knowledge inspirations. He tackled HBMSU’s philosophy based on technology, innovation, creativity, and scientific research as well as gave updates on its initiatives to build 21stcentury skills. The presentation was followed by an interactive session with Signify’s senior leaders. The session focused on the university’s achievements, which complement Signify’s values and strategies.  The two parties also emphasized the importance of consistent communication and strategic collaboration in the future, to complement the success of their partnership in the completion of the “Smart Building”, that is considered as an unprecedented global achievement, with its interactive features providing the academic community with a unique experience and its sophisticated smart system enhancing the operational efficiency of the building. The system allows control of lighting and air conditioning to conserve more energy in accordance with the best practices concerning sustainability and innovation.

HBMSU, we consider international cooperation to be one of our main priorities, guided by the directives of H.H Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and President of the University, who said: “Establishing an international cooperation is part of the UAE's key efforts to develop new tools for the future industry.” We have a close affiliation with Philips, as we recently launched the Smart Building, which is an advanced leap that we are proud of, especially as it is the product of a smart and fruitful collaboration with some of the world's leading companies to achieve our vision of guiding and leading educational, social, economic and environmental change locally and globally.  This effort has significantly contributed to achieving our aspirations to provide a unique experience for the academic community in enhancing operational efficiency through innovative and sustainable smart systems such as lighting sensors, air conditioning and energy systems. We look forward to further strengthening our collaboration with Signify and other leading global innovative organizations following our principle of 'Together We Grow,' which represents a fundamental value that we count on in achieving significant gains to build the future we aspire for."

Goktug Gur, President and CEO of Signify in the MEA, Turkey and Pakistan said: "We are honored by the presence of Dr. Mansoor Al Awar, chancellor of HBMSU at Signify global leadership summit, Ignite 2019. The most recognizable aspect of the partnership between HBMSU and Signify is their shared business values that focuses on putting customers first. It was great working with Hamdan University, which truly embraces partnerships and application of innovative technologies to create unique business models and build sustainable communities."

The Ignite Summit 2019 witnessed the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding between Dr. Mansoor Al Awar and Goktug Gur, in the presence of senior executives at Signify, led by Eric Rondolat, the company's global CEO, following the selection of the University as a ‘Customer for Life’. The agreement seeks to establish a strong strategic partnership in the field of research and development, support efforts to achieve academic and educational excellence, and establish direct communication for learners and faculty members of the University to reach out to Signify experts. This paves the way for knowledge transfer and exchange aimed at enriching their understanding and develop concepts that would help them tackle current and emerging challenges. 

The MoU further seeks to explore opportunities and collaboration on spreading awareness about smart lighting technologies for buildings using IoT, smart innovations and professional development for academics. It also seeks to establish connection with the entrepreneurship community at HBMSU and support them in developing solutions for smart buildings. The R&D aspect reflects a big part of the bilateral cooperation, as the university will play a pivotal role as a global research center in many areas.

Signify emphasized its commitment to share its expertise and employ its capabilities as a partner of the University in the smart lighting technology. The two parties agreed to explore cooperation on driving career development for the university learners in line with Signify’s internal policies, while HBMSU offers to promote Signify’s strengths as one of the leading providers for the building sector, implementing solutions in leading projects in the field of building automation using Internet of things, including the technologies implemented for HBMSU that further enhances the University’s facilities and advanced efforts in the adopting IoT in lighting. 

The visit to the Netherlands also included several strategic meetings, including a meeting between Dr. Mansoor Al Awar and Eric Rondolat,Signify’s global CEO,where they exchanged plans and future cooperation opportunities between HBMSU and Signify in areas such as training, development and providing job opportunities for university graduates. A productive meeting had also taken place between Dr. Mansoor Al Awar and Goktug Gur, in the presence several senior officials, headed by Ms. Anissa Abou, Head of global specification; Ms. Ebru Bilge, Head of integrated communications for Middle East, Turkey and Pakistan. The meeting discussed the main directions for future cooperation between the University and Signify in research, training and assessment in line with achieving shared goals. 

Dr. Mansoor Al Awar and the accompanying delegation concluded the official visit to the Netherlands with a tour of Signify’s facilities, including the Signify Lighting Application Center and Philips’ new 3D printing factory in Maarheeze, Signify’s latest project which uses 3D printing for architectural lighting and other creatively designed lighting fixtures.