Diamond Developers is cooperating actively with leading international Universities to advance knowledge and practices related to sustainability and the built environment. The company’s commitment to build bridges between academia and practice has been strong ever since CEO Faris Saeed visited the West Village at the University of California Davis in 2010. The West Village at UC Davis is a unique, net zero energy mixed-use University campus project that served as an inspiration for the development of The Sustainable City in Dubai. The Sustainability Research and Training Program Diamond Developers has worked closely with Universities since it started making plans for The Sustainable City. After extensive preparations, the Sustainability Research and Training Program (SRTP) commenced in 2014. This unique industry – university collaboration involves the University of California Davis, the American University of Beirut (AUB), the American University in Cairo (AUC), the American University of Sharjah (AUS), Birzeit University and the Lebanese American University (LAU). Diamond Developers has funded the US $ 3 million program, enabling international teams of academic researchers to work together with experts at The Sustainable City in order to develop solutions related to environmental, social and economic sustainability issues. In the first round of research projects, a variety of issues related to renewable energy, waste management, composting and water recycling are addressed. Two research projects have already been completed in 2015. One project evaluated the effectiveness of various methods for recycling organic waste to produce compost. A second project developed a new hybrid solar technology to generate energy for air conditioning purposes. Current and future research projects include further technical studies as well as research on sustainable living practices. The existing collaboration agreement with UC Davis also provides for the development of online or blended training programs for the benefit of professionals and students in the Middle East region. The first training program arising from this cooperation will be on the topic of sustainable urban farming. Sustainability Indicators In parallel, Diamond Developers will work with Universities to develop a framework for sustainability performance indicators that can be used throughout the Middle East region and beyond. The indicators will first be implemented in The Sustainable City and will subsequently be made available for adaptation and use by other sustainable communities in order to measure and assess sustainability performance. The sustainability indicators are intended to measure environmental, social and economic sustainability of communities. The indicators will not only deal with sustainable design considerations but will also assess the sustainability performance of communities once they are in operation. Scholarships In order to encourage education and research among young people from the Middle East region, Diamond Developers will soon start its own PhD Scholarship Fund. The fund will provide financial support for students from the Middle East region in order to complete PhD degrees in the field of sustainability and the built environment. Students may pursue programs in civil engineering and architecture, as well as on topics related to water, energy and biochemistry. As always, Diamond Developers encourages research into sustainability from a holistic perspective, involving environmental, social and economic considerations. Details of the scholarships and the application procedures will be made available on the company’s website in the near future. Diamond Innovation Centre Existing and new activities related to innovation will be managed from the Diamond Innovation Centre, which will be opened in The Sustainable City in 2017. The Centre intends to serve as a regional innovation hub in the field of sustainability and the built environment. It will deal with a variety of topics, including energy, water resources, waste management, air quality, transportation, building materials, architecture and urban planning. The Innovation Centre will host applied research, professional training and consulting activities, as well as conferences and exhibitions. In addition to these ongoing projects that involve Universities, The Sustainable City has already hosted visits from a variety of University representatives and researchers. In future, Diamond Developers plans to continue to cooperate with academics to promote innovation and sustainable practices related to the built environment.