Activities of research centres and their contributions showcased

MUSCAT: Sultan Qaboos University, through the Office of the Deputy Vice-Chancellor for Postgraduate Studies and Research, organised on Wednesday the second edition of the SQU Research Centre’s Open House, under the patronage of Dr Rawya bint Saud al Busaidiyah, Minister of Higher Education and Chairperson of SQU Council.
The Research Centre’s Open House is an important opportunity for SQU researchers and faculty, business leaders, policy makers, community members, and non-SQU academics from across the Sultanate to come together to discuss how research can contribute to their organisations and to Oman’s continued social and economic progress.
In addition to hearing about the latest developments at these research centres, participants at the event also had the opportunity to learn more about the university’s state-of-the-art facilities, research programmes, and expertise through a speech delivered by the Deputy Vice-Chancellor for Postgraduate Studies and Research, Dr Rahma al Mahrooqi, and through presentations offered by representatives from each of the research centres.
In her address, Dr Rahma al Mahrooqi said that national engagement in research and innovation has the potential to bring a number of benefits to a country and its people. “These include improving the quality of education across all school and tertiary levels, improving industrial productivity and global competitiveness, achieving equitable levels of social and economic development, and ensuring that the transition to knowledge-based societies is achieved within minimal social disruption. Active engagement in research and innovation can improve the quality of life experienced by people across all parts of society by ensuring that research-focused institutions are responsive to community needs, and that their research endeavours are fully aligned with national development goals. For these reasons, institutions of higher education such as Sultan Qaboos University play a crucial role in Oman’s continued development efforts”, the Deputy Vice Chancellor said.
During the Research Centre’s Open House, each of SQU’s 12 research centres offered attendees updates on their research and innovation activities in their respective fields. Dr Rahma al Mahrooqi stated that lately, these centres have witnessed increased activity and interaction with the industry in an attempt to create more solid win-win relationships and partnerships with the various sectors. This has led to an increased numbers of consultancy and research work done for or in collaboration with the job market.
This year, the university has seen the addition of two new research centres – the Sustainable Energy Research Centre and the Nanotechnology Research Centre. These research centres made their first presentations at the Open House, which could draw interest among the audience. The two new research centres join an already extensive research eco-system at SQU which includes: the Omani Studies Centre, the Humanities Research Centre, the Oil and Gas Research Centre, the Earthquake Monitoring Centre, the Centre for Environmental Studies and Research, the Water Research Centre, the Earth Science Research Centre, the Communication and Information Research Centre, the Remote Sensing and Geographical Information System Centre, and the Centre of Excellence in Marine Biotechnology.
The Research Centres’ Open House programme also included an exhibition devoted to the achievements of the research centres during the past year. Through this combination of presentations, question and answer time, and exhibition displays, the Open House offered a great opportunity for the development of networks of key stakeholders concerned with research and innovation in Oman, which could result in increased inter-institutional/organisational and inter-disciplinary research in strategic areas in the sultanate. By understanding more about the valuable work, SQU’s research centres do and what they offer industry and the community, the Open House is vital to promote the formation of long-term associations and the development of networks that have the potential to benefit all involved.