The Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne on Wednesday said it would open a campus on one of the seven emirates of the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
The project in Ras Al Khaimah will provide research opportunities for developing alternative energy sources, the university said. It will split ownership with the emirate's investment arm, the RAK Investment Authority.
"Solar energy is one very important topic," spokesman Jerome Grosse said, adding that the city-state of almost 250,000 in the northern Gulf wanted to diversify before petroleum sources in the region dried up.
A small post-graduate program programme will begin in September 2009, Grosse said, and authorities hope to have students enrolled at master's degree level by 2010.
No cost estimates have been released but the Lausanne-based university is likely to spend at least SFr100 million ($86 million), a figure that could rise substantially depending on the research facilities it requires. The emirate has already set aside land for construction.
The Federal Institute of Technology in Lausanne has cooperative programmes in India and its counterpart in Zurich has a presence in China.
Major institutions including Harvard University, Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the Sorbonne have already set up learning centres in the UAE.