Dr Fuad Mohamed Khoshnaw is the Subject Head for the Science, Engineering and Computing (SEC) portfolio at the De Montfort University campus in Dubai. The campus, which is a satellite of the UK university of the same name, opened its doors in October 2021. It’s been a hectic year, but as students and staff prepare for the anniversary celebrations, they can look back on a successful expansion of the UK centre of learning.
By Joanne McIntyre
Dr Khoshnaw’s career in academia stretches back almost 25 years and includes teaching, research and management positions in the United Kingdom, United Arab Emirates, Belgium and Iraq. For the past four years, he has been based at De Montfort University in Leicester, the UK. A little over two years ago, plans were launched to build the university’s first campus outside of the UK.
“De Montfort has collaborated with universities in Sri Lanka, Kazakhstan and Malaysia for several years, but it made strategic sense to build a physical campus in the Middle East. The plan is to expand the programmes to include several thousand students at different levels, and to extend the positive impacts of DMU into the region in terms of experience, diversity and partnership” explains Dr Khoshnaw.
About the programs
Now working full-time for the Dubai campus, Dr Khoshnaw oversees two faculties: Engineering and Health. The programmes within the Engineering faculty are Intelligent Systems and Robotics, Mechanical Engineering, Energy and Sustainable Development, Cyber Security, and Data Analytics. The Health faculty currently has a Psychology program and is adding Biomedical Science later this year.
Dr Khasnaw’s research in biomaterials – including the use of stainless steel for implants – mean he is equally at home in either faculty.
“By October 2022, the SEC portfolio will include eight programs. Our five undergraduate programs are Mechanical Engineering, Cyber Security, Computer Science, and two from the Health faculty, Psychology and Biomedical Science. Our three MSc post-graduate programs are Artificial Intelligence, Data Analytics and Energy & Sustainability Development.” There are other programmes from the faculty of Arts, Design and Humanities (ADH) and Business and Law (BAL).
Linking Dubai and the UK
To fulfil his full-time role in Dubai, Dr Khoshnaw spends 1-2 weeks per month there managing the programs. During the teaching terms, he provides a crucial link between the staff in Dubai and those in Leicester.
“The programs in both countries are very similar, and my task is to coordinate which modules are taught, exams, marking, etc, to ensure a high quality assurance of the delivered programmes. It requires a huge amount of cooperation between the staff at both locations.”
“Dubai is a very international and culturally diverse community. Our students come from many countries, including India, Pakistan, the neibour countries, and local Emirati students. We are proud of the diversity.”
“Within Dubai and the UAE as a region, several factors make training for working with stainless steel and engineering, in general, a necessity,” continues Dr Khoshnaw. “Firstly, the UAE is a major producer of oil & gas, a sector that utilizes a great deal of stainless steel. Secondly, the environment and weather are important factors. The sea surround the UAE on two sides, so the dominance of this marine environment combined with offshore applications means stainless steels are an important material in the area. Finally, Dubai and the entire UAE are very focused on sustainability in many different forms, and they have great programs running for everything from reducing waste to energy conservation. Stainless steel is an endlessly recyclable, long-lasting and sustainable material. I believe that many applications in the region, including construction, infrastructure and industry, will increasingly focus on using it.”
“For all of these reasons, proper training is essential for both public and industry specialists to promote the application of stainless steel. There is a need for improved and deeper knowledge about sustainability, forming processes, and corrosion factors. Expert training will improve familiarisation with the characteristics of the material.”
Three decades of research
Dr Khoshnaw’s connection with stainless steel began over thirty years ago when he completed the first of his two Doctorates (from the University of Technology in Baghdad and Loughborough University UK).
“The title of my research project was: Stress Corrosion Cracking of Stainless Steel Weldments at Different Heat Inputs. Eventually, almost every word in this title would take me in a different direction!” “Over the years, I have investigated many different types of corrosion, and while I started out focusing on TIG welding, I expanded my research to include various welding technologies. That research was also a gateway into fracture mechanics and the 3D printing microstructure of different stainless grades.”
Currently, Dr Khoshnaw is collaborating with colleagues on a proposal for using Wire Arc Additive Manufacturing (WAAM) for very large stainless steel components. He also recently published a couple of papers on the microstructural changes which take place during the welding of super duplex, and finding appropriate solution treatments of the weldments.
Another ongoing role is his Editor of the Corrosion Atlas, the third edition of which will shortly be released.
“The Corrosion Atlas includes many case studies relating to stainless steel corrosion. I’m also the Editor of a book called Welding of Metallic Materials, which will be available soon. Stainless steel also takes up a good part of this book.”
Academic program expansion
The past year has been a whirlwind of activity at the De Montfort Dubai campus as construction of the facility and infrastructure was completed, and the first students enrolled.
“Now we feel ready to run some Continuous Professional Development (CPD) courses on various topics. We’re preparing short courses for the UAE industry on topics such as welding, cyber security, mechanical engineering, artificial intelligence and data analytics etc. I believe that De Montfort University will positively affect society and industry in the UAE, particularly in Dubai. We are still in our first year, but we’ve already made a significant impact, and our reputation is growing.”
“We’re making inroads with key industry players in the region to tailor courses to meet their needs. In the past year, guest speakers from major companies in the area visited our campus, and this cooperation is ongoing in various programs. We hope that this will lead to long term collaborative relationships in the UAE.”
For information about De Montfort University Dubai, please visit www.dmu. ac.uk/dubai.