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Abstract

This paper focuses on the current state of industry-academia relationships in the Arab Gulf states (Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates), and argues that meaningful, long-lasting relations have begun to develop. But, there is much more that can and must be done. There is a need for increased “relevancy” of engineering education, with greater industry-academia collaboration on many fronts. It was inspired by a round table discussion, where engineering graduates of region's colleges have suggested ways to start developing viable and enduring connections between local industries and academic institutions. Strategies to help promote the collaboration effort are outlined. In particular, activities (plans, and scenarios) perceived as effective in closing the gap between academia and industries are described. Training, capstone courses, consulting by faculty and joint research projects, aimed at serving the interest of both parties (academia and the industrial partners) are also addressed. The paper sheds light on: the mission, the nature, and relevant benchmarks of this collaborative effort. Slanting curricula and programs toward industrial relevance and “practice”, will help equip graduates with the “tools of the trade”, thus lessening the burden on industry, in having to spend time and effort preparing and training employees at the start of their career. To this end, the author draws on his own experience as a faculty member in the Arab Gulf states; in addition to views and suggestions of colleagues, students, graduates, and business leaders in the Region.

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2014-07-01
2019-12-13
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  • Received: 18 January 2014
  • Accepted: 30 April 2014
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