x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 21 July 2017

Swiss university to open RAK branch

A Swiss university plans to open a postgraduate branch in Ras al Khaimah with a government investment of hundreds of millions of dollars.

A Swiss university plans to open a postgraduate branch in Ras al Khaimah with a government investment of hundreds of millions of dollars. The Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) plans to open a campus next year. It will focus on research in fields such as solar energy, information technology construction, engineering and new materials. Many western and Indian universities have opened in RAK in recent years, but unlike most of them, EPFL will not accept undergraduates. Instead it will offer masters, PhD and continuing education courses, with officials hoping eventually to have several hundred enrolled.

A temporary facility is due to open next year, when construction will also begin on a permanent campus near Emirates Road. "We believe we can build a scientific and technological facility that will be state-of-the-art in the Middle East," said Jerome Grosse, an EPFL spokesman. Mr Grosse said the university would be "small and very targeted", rather than a general institution covering many subjects.

The new campus is expected to cost several hundred million dollars, and will be paid for by the Ras al Khaimah Investment Authority. Mr Grosse said EPFL, a Swiss government university that traces its history back to the mid-19th century, had a "very strong background" in transferring technology from the research laboratory to the commercial sector. The university expects to draw students from across the Middle East and beyond, but Mr Grosse said recruiting Emiratis was also a "main goal".

dbardsley@thenational.ae