Muscat,  The seventh cycle of the Annual Research Forum organized by the Research and Innovation Sector of the Ministry of Higher Education, Research and Innovation (MoHERI) took place at the Kempinski Hotel Muscat today under the patronage of HH Sayyid Theyazin bin Haitham al-Said, Minister of Culture, Sports and Youth. Present in the ceremony were Dr. Rahma al-Mahrooqi, Minister of Higher Education, Research and Innovation, and ministers, researchers, academics and research winners.

The Annual Research Forum opened with a welcoming speech by Dr. Rahma al-Mahrooqi, who maintained that the high interest of His Majesty Sultan Haitham Bin Tarik in the Research and Innovation Sector and placing it on the top of the national concerns, to be the first priority in Oman 2040 Vision, made it a key focus for creating sustainable national development and creating a national knowledge-based economy.

Dr. Saif Abdullah al-Haddabi, Undersecretary of the Ministry of Higher Education, Research and Innovation for Research and Innovation, also highlighted the main objectives and achievements of the sector. He stressed the importance of maintaining the harmony between the Research and Innovation Sector, the National Strategy for Research and Development 2040, the National Innovation Strategy and Oman Vision 2040 in terms of vision, goals and strategic directions.

There were also two major presentations during the forum; a presentation by Dr. Jamila al-Hinai, Project Director of NSRD 2040 at MoHERI, on the action plan of the National Strategy for Research and Development 2040, and a virtual keynote speech by international expert Dr. Jamil Salmi titled ‘Learning from the Past, Coping with the Present, Readying for the Future’ about the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and the role of research and innovation in facing this kind of challenge.

Moreover, as part of the forum’s activities, the Oman Animal and Plant Genetic Resources Center (OAPGRC) launched its new identity and brand name ‘Mawarid’, illustrating Oman’s precious genetic resources as both a natural element and a force of nature.

The Annual Research Forum most importantly announced 12 winners for the National Research Award (NRA) in the best published research led by a PhD holder or equivalent (senior specialist or higher in the medical field) category and the best published research led by a young researcher (a non-PhD holder) category.

Under the PhD category, Prof. Constantinos Chryssou from Muscat University won the Education and Human Resources field for his project titled ‘University–industry interactions in the Sultanate of Oman: Challenges and opportunities’. Two teams won in the Information Systems and Communication Technologies field; Dr. Hedi Haddad from Dhofar University for his project ‘Transportation Service Redundancy from a Spatio-Temporal Perspective’ and Dr. Ashraf Saleem from Sultan Qaboos University (SQU) for his project ‘Cooperative Cruise Controller for Homogeneous and Heterogeneous Vehicle Platoon System’.

In the Environmental and Biological Resources field, the award went to ‘Enhanced power generation and desalination rate in a novel quadruple microbial desalination cell with a single desalination chamber’ by Dr. Tahereh Jafary (SQU, International Maritime College Oman) while in the Health and Social Service field, the award went to ‘Clonal copy-number mosaicism in autoreactive T lymphocytes in diabetic NOD mice’ by Dr. Maha al-Riyami (SQU). As for the Energy and Industry field, Dr. Chaham Alalouch from SQU took the award for his project ‘Energy saving potential for residential buildings in hot climates: The case of Oman’.

Under the Young Researcher’s category, Hanan al-Burashdi from the Ministry of Education took the award for her project ‘The effectiveness of using the Course Lab program in improving the academic achievement and the attitudes toward science among 10th grade students in Oman’ in the Education and Human Resources field. In the Information Systems and Communication Technologies field, the award went to ‘AMACoT: A Marketplace Architecture for Trading Cloud of Things Resources’ by Ahmed al-Rawahi from the University of Technology and Applied Sciences, Nizwa. Two teams won under in the Environmental and Biological Resources field; ‘Fungal Diversity in Tomato Rhizosphere Soil under Conventional and Desert Farming Systems’ by Elham Kazerooni from SQU and ‘Detecting Dubas bug infestations using high resolution multispectral satellite data in Oman’ by Rashid al-Shidi from the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Water Resources.

For the Health and Social Service field, the award went to ‘‘MOVEdiabetes’: A cluster randomized controlled trial to increase physical activity in adults with type 2 diabetes in primary health care in Oman’ by Dr. Thamra al-Ghafri from the Ministry of Health while ‘Investigating the technical feasibility of various energy carriers for alternative and sustainable overseas energy transport scenarios’ by Mohammed al-Breiki from Hamad Bin Khalifa University took the award in the Energy and Industry field. The award for the Cultural, Basic, and Social Sciences field was withheld this year for both the PhD and Young Researcher’s categories.

The National Research Award in 2020 has witnessed an increase of 34.6% over the previous edition in terms of the number of applicants, with the total number of research applications submitted reaching 218 research, more specifically 31 research in the Cultural, Social, and Basic Sciences field, 49 research in the Education and Human Resources field, 30 research in the Energy and Industry field, 31 research in the Environmental and Biological Resources field, 44 research in the Health and Social Services field, and lastly 33 research in the Information and Communication Technologies field.

The Annual Research Forum has demonstrated once again the importance of raising the standards of research, innovation and development in the Sultanate of Oman, as it aims to encourage researchers to conduct high quality and relevant research in areas of national interest and to reach the goals and meet the criteria of Oman Vision 2040.

 

Source: Oman News Agency

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