Muscat: The ninth cycle of the Annual Research Forum, organized by the Ministry of Higher Education, Research and Innovation was held on Wednesday at the Oman Convention and Exhibition Centre (OCEC), in which the winners of the National Research Award and Upgrade programme were announced.
The event was held under the auspices of Eng Said Hamoud al Maawali, Minister of Transport, Communications and Information Technology.
During the event, Dr Saif Abdullah al Haddabi, Undersecretary of the Ministry of Higher Education, Research and Innovation for Research and Innovation said that “the National Research Award contributes to directing research to serve national priorities, raising the quality of research publication in international peer-reviewed journals and periodicals, and strengthening the Sultanate of Oman's ranking in the Global Innovation Index.”
Afterwards, the 11 winning research projects were announced out of the 307 projects submitted this year for the 9th National Research Award (NRA) divided into 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 (non-PhD holder) category.
Under the PhD Category, ‘A novel drone-based system for accurate human temperature measurement and disease symptoms detection using thermography and AI’ by Dr Ahmed Said al Maashri from Sultan Qaboos University (SQU) won in the Information and Communication Technologies sector.
In the Cultural, Social and Basic Sciences sector, the award went to ‘The complementarity of green supply chain management practices and the impact on environmental performance’ by Dr Anwar Khamis al Sheyadi from the University of Technology and Applied Sciences at Al Rustaq.
In the Environmental and Biological Resources sector, the award went to ‘Energy recovery and carbon/nitrogen removal from sewage and contaminated groundwater in a coupled hydrolytic-acidogenic sequencing batch reactor and denitrifying biocathode microbial fuel cell’ by Dr Mohammed Abdullah al Mamun from SQU.
As for the Education and Human Resources sector it was awarded for the project ‘Learner readiness for MOOCs in Omani higher education institutions: Disparities between projections and reality’ by Dr Aisha Salim al Harthy from SQU.
‘TMEM63C mutations cause mitochondrial morphology defects and underlie hereditary spastic paraplegia’ by Dr Fatema Abdullah al Salmi of the University of Technology and Applied Sciences took the award in the Health and Social Services sector.
Further, in the Energy and Industry sector, the award went to ‘Enhancing oil recovery by electric current impulses well treatment: A case of marginal oil field from Oman’ by Dr Svetlana Rudyk (SQU).
Under the Young Researcher’s category, the award was won by the project ‘Self-Detection of Early Breast Cancer Application with Infrared Camera and Deep Learning’ by Dr Mohammed Abdullah al Husaini from SQU in the Information and Communication Technologies sector.
For the Environmental and Biological Resources sector, the award went to ‘Fresh-saline water dynamics in coastal aquifers: Sand tank experiments with MAR-wells injecting at intermittent regimes’ by Shahad Mattar al Yaqoubi from SQU.
In the Education and Human Resources sector, the award was won by ‘The Role of the Technologies of the Fourth Industrial Revolution in Achieving the Requirements of Sustainable Development in Higher Education Institutions in the Sultanate of Oman’ by Dr Mashael Awad al Saiari from the University of Technology and Applied Sciences at Salalah.
In the Health and Social Services sector, the award went to ‘Efficacy of a Six-Week-Long Therapist-Guided Online Therapy Versus Self-help Internet-Based Therapy for COVID-19-Induced Anxiety and Depression: Open-label, Pragmatic, Randomized Controlled Trial’ by Dr Mohammed Salim al Alawi from Sultan Qaboos University Hospital (SQUH).
In the Energy and Industry sector, the award was given to ‘Retrofitting and simultaneous multi-criteria optimization with enhanced performance of an industrial gas-cleaning plant using economic, process safety, and environmental objectives’ by Debasish Tikadar from SQU.
The Annual Research Forum also announced the nine winning teams of the latest edition of the Upgrade programme.
Upgrade is a programme that transforms the top graduation projects into startups, and it is divided into two tracks: the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) track and the newly launched industrial track.
In the ICT track, the six winning projects went to ‘Long-term Forecasting of Solar PV System Output Using Machine Learning’ by Insiya Zehra, Wadhah al Darii, Tamadher al Hosni and Safa al Baiti, ‘Drilling Rigs Planning and Scheduling’ by Ahmed al Mazroey, Husam al Nasseri and Mazin al Rubkhi, ‘Mobile App for Handling Legal Issues’ by Sara al Sinani, Balqees al Ghafri and Maroa al Dairi, ‘Low-Cost Smart Poultry Farming Based on IoT’ by Saif al Janabi, Mohammed al Shuaili, Aaisha al Risi and Rahma al Waili, ‘Drone Jamming’ by Dr Selvarani Murugesan and Aflah al Hajri, and ‘Q Drop’ by Ahmed al Jabari and Fatema al Alawi.
As for the industrial track, the three winning projects went to ‘Design of Photobioreactor for Microalgae Cultivation’ by Mona al Maashani, Maryam al Balushi and Fatima al Hinai, ‘Graphene-Based Polymeric Solar Cells’ by Aisha al Wahaibi, Al Hasnaa al Adwani, Muzn al Abri and Nusiba al Kharusi, and ‘Sustainable Fabric Production from Recycled Plastic Water Bottles’ by Zainab al Hajri and Jihan al Busaidi.
In addition to announcing the NRA and Upgrade program winners, the forum also held 3 accompanying sessions to discuss research support programmes directed to the government sector, the industrial sector and the academic sector, the challenges they face and the appropriate proposals for their development.
The forum also included an exhibition with 23 posters on the winning NRA papers, the winning student projects of the Upgrade programme.
The Annual Research Forum aims to enhance the research and innovation culture in the Sultanate of Oman, promote creativity and entrepreneurship among Omani citizens, and develop new methods in a bid to transform to a knowledge-based economy and society.
The event was attended by ministers, undersecretaries, officials, academics and researchers.