SQU projects focus on sustainable development

MUSCAT: Sultan Qaboos University (SQU), represented by the Office of the Deputy Vice-Chancellor for Postgraduate Studies and Research, organised a Forum for Strategic Research Projects Funded by His Majesty’s Trust Fund at SQU’s Lecture Theatre on Tuesday. It was inaugurated by Shaikh Khalid bin Hilal al Maawali, Chairman of the Majlis Ash’shura.
The forum featured nine projects that have been supported by His Majesty’s Trust Fund.
These projects are concerned with the fields of education, humanities, sciences, and medicine and healtcare, and are of strategic importance to maintaining sustainable development within the Sultanate.
The forum targeted researchers and faculty members within and outside SQU, in addition to representatives from the public and private sectors and postgraduate and undergraduate students. Speaking on the occasion, Dr Rahma bint Ibrahim al Mahrooqi, SQU Deputy Vice-Chancellor for Postgraduate Studies and Research, said that His Majesty’s Trust Fund is a key driver of interdisciplinary research conducted at SQU that is concerned with various areas of strategic national importance.
“Since its inception in 2001, the support that this fund offers the university’s researchers has allowed SQU to engage in a number of large-scale projects that share a concern with finding solutions to real-world problems in order to benefit Oman socially, culturally and economically”.
The first session of the forum featured three presentations.
The first presentation, ‘Measuring Against Expectations: Critical Thinking Skill Development Among SQU Students’, was delivered by Prof Thuwayba al Barwani, Director of Centre of Excellence in Teaching and Learning and a professor at the College of Education’s Curriculum and Teaching Department.
This was followed by the presentation ‘Effectiveness of the Design and Use of New Software in Learning Arabic Reading at Omani First Basic Education Cycle Schools’ by Dr Ali al Musawi, a faculty member at the College of Education, Department of Education and Learning Technology.
Dr Al Musawi reported the main findings of his research as supporting the effectiveness of the featured software on student achievement in reading comprehension.
The third forum presentation also focused on education. It was ‘Assessment of Lifestyle: Physical Activity, Nutritional Habits, Sedentary Behaviour, and BMI Among School Adolescents in Oman (15-17)’.
Dr Kashef Nayef Zayed, from the College of Education, Department of Physical Education, discussed how approximately 30 per cent of boys and 77 per cent of girls were identified as physically inactive, while 25 per cent of boys and 27 per cent of girls were overweight or obese.
In the second session, Sayyid Dr Munther bin Hilal al Busaidi from the College of Economics and Political Science, gave a presentation on ‘The Role of Disclosures in Muscat Securities Market.’
Dr Shahid al Balushi, from the College of Economics and Political Science, Department of Operations Management and Business Statistics, offered a presentation entitled ‘Assessment of Application of LEAN Thinking in Omani Healthcare Sector.’ Dr Younis Baqi from the College of Science, Department of Chemistry, gave a presentation on “Investigating the Anti- Cancer Properties of Natural Products Isolated from Date Fruits (Phoenix Dactylifera L) of the Omani elite variety ‘Khalas.’
The project focused on date fruit extracts and their benefits in individual health and highlighted their applications in the pharmaceutical and nutraceutical industries.
The next forum session was ‘Value Added Functional Products from Less Utilised Biomaterials Locally Available in the Sultanate’ by Dr Mohammad Shafiur Rahman from the College of Agricultural and Marine Sciences, Department of Food Science and Nutrition.
Dr Abdullah bin Mohammed al Sadi from the College of Agricultural and Marine Sciences, Department of Crop Sciences, discussed his project, ‘Potential Sources of Plant Pathogenic Fungi and Bacteria into Farms in Oman.’ — ONA