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Making an impact: The boundless dedication of Abu Dhabi University to sustainability

Abu Dhabi University

Abu Dhabi University (ADU) is well-known for its carefully chosen courses, top-notch instructors, and outstanding facilities. It is also well-regarded for its steadfast dedication to sustainability.

ADU is pleased to be placed 301–400 internationally in the renowned Times Higher Education Impact Rankings 2023. ADU is a member of the Universities Climate Network, a consortium of 33 UAE universities and higher education institutions that collaborated to include youth and students in the run-up to COP28.

As the UAE’s Year of Sustainability ends, we would like to use this opportunity to highlight ADU’s significant contributions to the sustainability space and discuss how it plans to build on them in the aftermath of COP28.

Helping to Make COP28 a Success

In the UAE’s battle against climate change, 2023 marked a significant turning point with the holding of COP28 and the designation of that year as the “Year of Sustainability.” It was a great honor for ADU faculty and students to help make the historic climate change conference, held in Expo City Dubai on November 30, 2023, successful. 

With more than 70,000 international delegates in attendance, ADU commemorated the nation’s conference hosting with several projects. 

‘COP28 Ready: Leading the Way to Sustainability’ is the accredited program it organized in November 2023. Accessible to both high school and undergraduate university students, it equipped participants with fresh perspectives on sustainability and prepared them to assume jobs that prioritize environmental issues in the future. 

Among the other notable aspects of COP28 were ADU’s involvement in the 18th United Nations Climate Change Conference of Youth (COY18) and its ranking of 359th among the world’s best universities for sustainability in the UI GreenMetric Rankings 2023.

ADU then officially unveiled the Abu Dhabi University Research Institute for Sustainable Futures housing, marking a significant historic milestone. This cutting-edge building will house centers for climate

change, renewable energies, green issues and sustainable construction, sustainable business and finance, and sustainable health and wellbeing.

After the crucial decisions made at COP28, ADU will teach the next generation the value of sustainability, promote environmental research, lower its carbon footprint, and support the UAE’s climate goals

and net-zero 2050 target.

Cutting-edge on-campus AirFarm

In 2023, ADU opened its first on-campus AirFarm as part of its mission to expedite the development of creative and sustainable agricultural solutions.

The farm was developed with H.E. Rashed Bin Khalfan Al Mutawa Al Dhaheri Holding firm and Midbar, a clever ag-tech South Korean company. It is entirely movable and inflatable for added convenience.

In keeping with ADU’s objective to promote innovative thinking and offer sustainable and inclusive solutions to environmental problems, AirFarm currently produces a variety of tasty and wholesome

fresh food in all of the university’s dining establishments. 

ADU is still committed to spreading the word about the advantages of cutting-edge intelligent farming solutions. Products like AirFarms have been shown to boost crop yields by up to 30% while using less water and potentially hazardous fertilizers.

Sustainability-focused Degrees

Additionally, to better represent its commitment to sustainability, ADU has modified the degrees it offers. Its ‘Professional Certificate to Empower Teachers for Sustainable Learning,’ for instance, was launched

in November 2023 to assist educational leaders and school principals make their establishments more sustainable.

In addition to energy management, renewable energy, and sustainable engineering, ADU offers courses in sustainability, urban planning, and environmental science.

Home of top-tier sustainability researchers worldwide

Inspired academics and researchers at ADU consistently provide research proposals to the Green Education Center and endeavor to increase the educational sector’s ability to address environmental challenges.

In addition to the institute’s researchers publishing an astounding 1,049 publications between

2020 and 2023, the ADU faculty’s commitment to sustainability earned them 29 research awards. After that,

many of them were published in prestigious scientific publications, such as Resources Policy,

Energy Economics, Corporate Social Responsibility, and Environmental Management.

Actively Promoting the Sustainable Development Goals of the UN

ADU is committed to furthering the UN’s SDGs (Sustainable Development Goals), which are built into ADU’s daily activities in many ways.

Economic and Ecological Energy

ADU participates in research initiatives related to clean energy technology, energy efficiency,

and sustainable energy solutions and provides degrees and programs related to renewable energy.

To practice sustainability, it uses solar panels and LED lighting, among other energy-efficient technologies, on its campus. It also runs public awareness programs on clean energy and energy-saving advantages.

Climate Action

ADU is dedicated to fostering the next wave of climate activists and motivating them to devise

creative solutions to save the environment. 

Five female ADU students, in collaboration with instructors and engineers, recently constructed an

AI robot that removes hazardous plastic and other floating debris from the ocean; similar projects

are being produced all year long.

The state-of-the-art sustainable energy initiative at Abu Dhabi University, headed by a group of

students, is making incredible strides toward renewable energy solutions. With concentrated solar panels

as the primary means of capturing solar energy, this project is expected to provide 2.64 megawatts

of electricity per day—a 20 percent share of the university’s total electricity needs.

This concept uses an inventive technique that focuses sunlight onto receivers using mirrors or lenses. This method ensures that electricity is produced efficiently by turning light into heat that drives a steam engine. This innovative strategy represents a considerable advancement in sustainable energy practices. It demonstrates the commitment and resourcefulness of the student-led team at Abu Dhabi University in advancing an environmentally and energy-efficient future.


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