Muscat, Sultan Qaboos University (SQU) today

celebrated the 18th SQU Day with several activities to commemorate

the royal visit of His Majesty Sultan Qaboos Bin Said to the University

on 2 May 2000. The ceremony was held under the patronage of Nasr

bin Hamoud al-Kindi, Secretary General of the Royal Court Affairs.

The ceremony included screening a film on research at the

university, besides honouring the outstanding faculty members,

researchers and administrative and technical staff from various

colleges, units and centers of the university. In addition, the university’s

colleges and centers organised several workshops, exhibitions and

lectures celebrating the 18th SQU Day.

Dr. Ali bin Saud al-Bimani, Vice Chancellor of SQU outlined the

achievements of the staff and students at the university in various fields

during the year 2017-2018.

The university launched three new research centers: the

Medical Research Centre, Sustainable Energy Research Centre and

the Nanotechnology Research Center. The Sustainable Energy

Research Center launched the first Electric Station.

The University Hospital was upgraded to the platinum level,

according to the Accreditation Canada International of Health Care

Institutions, for meeting international standards of excellence in quality

care and services.

The SQU Vice Chancellor announced the launch of the SQU

Award for the Best Student Society in order to identify the role of

students’ societies and their activities and promote their work inside

and outside the university.

Research and Postgraduate Education

Speaking on the occasion, Dr. Rahma Ibrahim al-Mahrooqi, Deputy

Vice Chancellor for Postgraduate Studies and Research at SQU, gave

an overview of the advancements in research and postgraduate

education at the University during the year 2017-2018. His Majesty’s

Trust Funds worth RO 450,000 are allocated to the University annually.

In 2017, seven projects were supported by His Majesty’s Trust Fund

worth RO 434,000. The Deputy Vice Chancellor said that since 2001, a

total of 89 projects have been funded by HM Trust Fund worth RO

8,250,000. In addition, annual internal grants worth RO 500,000 also

support research at the university. In 2017 only, 89 Internal Grants

projects for RO 507, 903 were approved. In 2018, a total of 116 internal

grants projects worth RO 475,498 were approved. The Deanship of

Research Fund supported 10 projects worth around RO 30,000.

The College of Agricultural and Marine Sciences at SQU received

external grant from the Research Council for RO 221,600 for a project.

The College of Medicine and Health Sciences received RO 167,168

worth external grants for nine projects from various organisations.

Collaborative research fund comes from SQU’s partnership with UAEU,

GCC Research Program and South African Universities. In 2017, four

projects worth RO 63,386 were funded by SQU-UAEU partnership. In

2018, four more projects were supported by RO 53,500 under the

same scheme. GCC joint research program supported three projects

by RO 71,527; partnership with South African universities resulted in

funding of eight project with a total sum of RO 110,600.

The new funding programs commenced in 2017-2018 include

the British Petroleum funding program worth RO 100,000 for three

projects and the Omantel funding program worth RO 6000 for three

projects. In 2017, a total of 30 Consultancy Projects worth RO 647,724

was carried out at SQU.

In the academic year 2017-2018, different colleges and centres

at SQU organised 26 conferences. 498 academics and researchers

from SQU attended various international conferences in the year 2017.

The University signed 70 formal agreements and research programs

with various national and international organisations.

Commenting on the growth in research publications, Dr. Rahma

al-Mahrooqi said that 903 papers from SQU appeared in the abstract

and citation database Scopus in 2017 only. The number of Scopus

citations in 2017 stands at 973. In the same year, 705 papers by SQU

researchers appeared in the Web of Science. The number of citations

in the Web of Science during the same period is 859. SQU papers

appeared in several reputed journals including Nature Communication

and Nature Ecology and Evolution. The researchers from the University

published papers with collaborators from 100 countries worldwide. The

QS ranking of SQU in the Arab region increased from number 11 in

2017 to number 10 in 2018.

The most active research group award instituted by the Deanship of

Research at SQU was given to the Plant Pathology Research Group

supervised by Dr. Abdullah Mohammed al-Sa’adi from the College of

Agricultural and Marine Sciences.

Commenting on the postgraduate level programs at SQU, the

Deputy Vice Chancellor said that the University now offers 63 masters

level programs and 30 doctoral programs. In 2017-2018, 1927 students

enrolled in different master programs and 232 students for doctoral

programs. During the same period, 77 international students studied at

the master’s level and 50 at the doctoral level. 72 scholarships

awarded to master’s level students and 30 scholarships to doctoral

students during this period. The DVC also revealed that all the six

scientific journals of SQU migrated to Online Journal System (OJS). In

2017, seven invention disclosures and five patent applications were

made my SQU researchers; and five patents and three copyrights were

granted.

Dr. Rahma Al Mahrooqi announced His Majesty Trust Fund

projects for the year 2018. Out of the 31 proposals received from

various colleges and centres at the University, six projects have been

selected for funding. The new projects are:

1. Oman cascade screening in familial hypercholesterolemia index

Registry (Oryx) by Dr. Khalid al-Rasadi from the College of Medicine

and Health Sciences.

2. Assessment of Al-Batinah artificial reef projects and their

enhancement of local fisheries productivity by Dr. Alyssa Marshell from

the College of Agricultural and Marine Sciences.

3. Redesigning Teacher Education Programs in Oman Using National

Performance Indicators, International Standards, and Exemplary

Models by Dr. Suleiman al-Bulushi from the College of Education.

4. High Efficiency Dye-Sensitized Solar Cells Based on New

Semiconductor-Modified Nanocomposites: Preparation, Photophysical

Characterization, and Photovoltaic-Cell Design by Dr. Osama Abou-

Zied from the College of Science.

5. Design of a National Achievement Indicator in Reading and

Mathematics in Key Stage 1 Schools in Oman: Towards Improving

Student Learning Outcomes by Dr. Mahmoud Emam from the College

of Education.

6. Developing Commercially Viable Graphene Based Technology for

selected energy and environmental applications in Oman by Dr. Tariq

M. Ghulam from the College of Science.

Source: Oman News Agency