UAE University Case Study

Achieving a world class university research faculty and international research profile in the United Arab Emirates University – a case study


As specialist educational consultants passionate about quality higher education in the Middle East, we were invited to assess the United Arab Emirates University (UAEU) research strategy and approach, and to develop workable, cost effective solutions. The UAEU is the UAE’s flagship university with approximately 13,000 Emirati and international students, offering a full range of accredited, high quality graduate and undergraduate programmes through nine colleges. Its stated aim is to become a ‘comprehensive, research-intensive university’ and it is with this aim in mind that we were asked to help the UAEU achieve a world class research faculty and international research profile.

Problem Statement

Based on consultation with the institution we identified the problem statement as ‘How can the UAEU achieve a world class research profile and high research ratings, become more research intensive and recruit and retain high profile research and teaching faculty?’.


Through collating and analyzing data on the UAEU’s current research activities, aims, and institutional priorities and benchmarking these against the UAE national research framework and the leading international research activities, a picture emerged of the current university research status, their priorities and their international aspirations. Additionally, the university marketing and recruitment processes were analyzed to assess efficacy in attracting and retaining world class faculty.


The findings revealed three key areas which required improvement:

  • Lack of defined research goals and strategy impacted the institutional strategic plan and resulted in non-targeted faculty recruitment and underutilization of endowments.
  • Lack of a workload model resulted in non-standardized blends of teaching, research and service which impacted negatively on recruitment and faculty retention.
  • Sub optimal marketing and advertising resulted in under selling of research opportunities and failed to showcase the attractions of the institution and location.


To address the issues identified in the findings and to answer the problem statement we developed a three-prong solutions based approach to develop an effective university research strategy; to attract and retain high quality faculty and to access funding and grant opportunities.

Developing a University Research Strategy

  • The UAEU’s research aims and priorities are defined against the national research framework, considering university priorities and positioned within the international context.
  • The new strategy defines the research aims and faculty targets over a four year period, including role, specialization and teaching/research requirements.
  • A workload model is created, outlining the teaching/research/service blend for the roles of Full Professor/Associate Professor/Lecturers/ Post Doctoral Research Associates
  • Job description and job pack templates are developed for the roles of Full Professor/Associate Professor/Lecturers/ Post Doctoral Research Associates.

Attracting and Retaining High Quality Faculty

  • An extensive list of target international faculty, their research focus and contact details is developed for consideration by the university senior management.
  • A user experience review of the university website identifies recommendations for show casing, funnelling, and marketing the university, its research and its location.
  • A recruitment plan outlines a step by step recruitment approach to recruit and retain high profile faculty.

External Funding Opportunities and Grant Opportunities in the UAE

An extensive list of potential external funding sources is scoped, including funding focus, process and key contact details.