Muscat, The Office of the Deputy Vice Chancellor

for Postgraduate Studies and Research (DVC-PSR) at Sultan Qaboos

University (SQU) held its annual orientation day for staff under the

office. The event was attended by college Assistant Deans for

Postgraduate Studies and Research, Deans of Research and

Postgraduate Studies, research center Directors, and members of all

other units operating under the DVC-PSR Office.

In her opening speech, Dr. Rahma al-Mahrooqi highlighted the

latest achievements in research and postgraduate studies at the

university. These included the establishment of the Innovation &

Technology Transfer Center, and associated Innovation Factory, which

was founded to promote a culture of innovation and entrepreneurship

across the Sultanate. The center will contribute to the country’s social

and economic development by helping Omani youth to engage in

various activities relates to innovation and entrepreneurship. This will

support the creation of spin-offs and startups that will contribute to the

diversification of the Sultanate’s economy.

Dr. Rahma highlighted how the newly-established center exists in a

national context which emphasizes innovation as a pillar for promoting

economic diversification, job creation and global competition. The

importance of establishing the center was also detailed in the Sultan

Qaboos University Strategic Plan 2016-2040, with this step thereby

representing an important achievement for the university.

In addition to the establishment of the Innovation & Technology

Transfer Center, Dr. Rahma also spoke about the founding of the

Medical Research Center as a vital step in producing and conducting

high quality medical studies in state-of-the-art labs. Dr. Rahma spoke

about how this center will enhance cooperation between medical

specialists and other key stakeholders both locally and internationally,

while also allowing researchers to conduct studies in areas of strategic

importance for the Sultanate.

Dr. Rahma next detailed the establishment of the Sustainable

Energy Research Center as another key accomplishment of the last

academic year. The center focuses on various energy-related areas

related, including renewable energy, integrated energy systems,

energy management and its economic and social aspects.

In addition to the establishment of these centers, She spoke

about progress in current plans to transform SQU into a green and

smart campus. To this end, SQU signed an agreement with mOmkin

and Omantel to establish a living lab for smart cities housed in the

university’s Communication and Information System Research Center.

Other achievements that featured in Dr. Rahma’s speech included the

naming of Professor Sobhi Nasir as a member of UNESCO’s Earth

Resources Theme Council, the signing of an agreement with the Public

Establishment for Industrial Estates to establish a Research Chair for

Industrial Estates and Free Zones, and the establishment of the

UNESCO Chair on Ophiolite Studies � Earth Sciences.

Dr. Rahma stated that the coming academic year will witness further

efforts to increase the visibility of SQU’s research output, by achieving

a wider range of indexation for the university’s six academic journals.

Dr. Rahma stated that these academic journals have all been indexed

in EBSCO and are now all indexed in the Directory of Open Access

Journals, while applications for the four journals not currently indexed

in Scopus have also been made. She spoke about efforts that have

been made to increase the quality and visibility of all SQU journals, has

also been an important concern, including the successful migration of

all journals to a new open access platform and the workshops offered

for editorial board members during 2017.

In regards to postgraduate studies, Dr. Rahma detailed efforts to

expand the number of postgraduate scholarships available at SQU. As

a result of these efforts, in August 2018, Petrofac E&C Oman agreed to

sponsor students undertaking master-level studies at the College of

Engineering, with these scholarships complementing those already

offered by organizations including PDO, Oman Oil Marketing Company

and others.

Dr. Rahma stated that the DVC-PSR Office and its associated

research centers are keen to place the strategic needs of the country

as a priority in their research interests and activities, and that efforts

continue to be made to engage in various forms of research

cooperation with a variety of concerned organizations in order to

achieve these aims.

Following Dr. Rahma’s speech, the Dean of Research, Dr. Yahya

al-Wahaibi, spoke about the most important plans of the deanship in

addition to a number of its achievements and activities, including the

creation of the Most Active Research Group prize.

The Deanship of Research also organized the First Students’

Research Conference as a means of effectively engaging students in

research, and to provide a forum for presenting the most important

student research achievements to academics and other interested

parties from the university and other academic institutions, as well as

representatives from the public and private sectors and members of the

general public.

After that, Dr. Tayseera al-Bulushi, Assistant Dean of Postgraduate

Studies, gave a presentation about the most important achievements of

the deanship, including the transfer of a range of services related to

graduate students to an electronic platform which is easily accessible

to students and the organization of various events that serve the

postgraduate studies mission and vision at SQU.

Source: Oman News Agency