Muscat: The University of Oman and the Science & Technology City Project (the University City Project) signed a memorandum of understanding with the University of California, Berkeley on Thursday last week to establish the first regional UC Berkeley-Powered Innovation Hub outside the United States.
This memorandum was signed by Dr Rawya bint Saud Al Busaidi – Minister of Higher Education and the Chairperson of the Executive Committee of the University City Project and Carol Christ – the Chancellor of UC Berkeley.
The signing of this memorandum of understanding aims to achieve one of the key strategic objectives of the University City Project for attracting world-class universities and research centers to the Sultanate of Oman and is aimed at transforming the Sultanate into a regional destination for entrepreneurship and innovation by establishing a cutting-edge training center focused on artificial intelligence. The vision of the innovation hub is to provide incubation and acceleration opportunities for start-ups and provide upskilling programs for employees from the public and private sector to equip them with 21st-century skills in areas such as artificial intelligence, critical thinking, intrapreneurship, and innovation. It is intended that some of the programs to be delivered by the center will grant academic credits that may be counted towards earning academic degrees.
Dr Rawya al Busaidi stated that ‘the signing of this memorandum of understanding with UC Berkeley will establish the framework for a long-term relationship between the Government of the Sultanate of Oman and UC Berkeley, and the first project stemming from this relationship will be the creation of the new innovation hub. We are certain that this hub will contribute to positioning Oman as a key player in the field of entrepreneurship and innovation in the region’.
The first step towards executing the memorandum of understanding will be the signing of an implementation agreement for the establishment of the UC Berkeley-powered innovation hub in Oman.
UC Berkeley is one of the world’s leading universities, it is ranked fourth globally according to Shanghai’s Academic Ranking of World Universities 2019. UC Berkeley has also been ranked as the best public university in the United States and is home to the top department of economics in the world, as well as the top computer engineering, electronic engineering, and civil engineering (smart cities), environmental engineering, and chemical engineering programs in the United States.
Accompanying HE the Minister of Higher Education at the signing ceremony in California were HE the Vice-Chancellor of Sultan Qaboos University, the CEO of the ITA, the Director of the Project Office, and the Omani Cultural Attaché in Washington DC.