On February 19th, 2018, Dr. Rahma Al-Mahrooqi, the Deputy Vice-Chancellor for Postgraduate Studies and Research at Sultan Qaboos University, and Prof. Ahmed Sulaiman Al-Harrasi, Vice-Chancellor for Research, Graduate Studies and External Relations at the University of Nizwa, signed a Research Cooperation Program between the two universities. The Research Cooperation Program is intended to contribute to increased organizational cooperation between the two universities, especially in relation to research, capacity building, joint research projects, and training.
In addition to exploring opportunities for further engagement in these areas, the Research Cooperation Program also encompassed two joint projects. The first of these is entitled, “Mapping and Change Detection Study of Frankincense Tree (Boswellia sacra) Using GIS Database and Remote Sensing Techniques in Huluf, Wadi Sahnut and Wadi Dawkah, in Dhofar, Oman”. Both parties approved of the project proposal and agreed that it represents an important economic and cultural area of research for Oman. The Research Cooperation Program reflects this, with both parties agreeing to fund the research project to further knowledge in the field.
The second project described in the Research Cooperation Program is “Balancing Aflaj Water Demand and Supply by Managed Storage: An Optimization Approach”. Again, after reviewing and approving of the project proposal, representatives of both Sultan Qaboos University and the University of Nizwa agreed to contribute funding to its realization.
When asked about the importance of signing the Research Cooperation Program, Dr. Rahma Al-Mahrooqi stated, “SQU is one of the leading research institutions in the sultanate, and we are always looking for opportunities to build research networks and develop Oman-specific knowledge and skills across fields and throughout the country to establish a stronger research culture in the country and to deepen the effect of research output and value in diversifying the economy. The University of Nizwa shares this interest in enriching and expanding Oman’s research culture, especially in relation to the frankincense and aflaj water studies. This research cooperation program is a direct expression of the mutual goals and values of the two universities in this regard.”
Dr. Rahma continued, “I believe that this agreement will allow SQU and the University of Nizwa to work together to make an important and direct impact on advancements not only in the two project areas, but also on the width and depth of Oman’s research culture and expertise. This has the potential to contribute to Oman’s social and economic growth – something that people all over the country will benefit from.”
Prof. Ahmed Al-Harrasi added that, “This Research Cooperation Program is a direct response of the sultanate’s research policy that encourages higher education institutions to integrate and collaborate. It is also a result of numerous scientific discussions with SQU to find mutual and innovative areas of interest and to accelerate knowledge transfer, enhance capacity building, and promote scientific exchange and cooperation between Sultan Qaboos University and the University of Nizwa.”
“We are signing this cooperation program today,” Prof. Ahmed continued, “at a time when the world is witnessing a remarkable shift toward knowledge-based economies and when world-leading research centers are becoming critical drivers of wealth transfer. Therefore, at both universities, we should gear our research outcomes to contribute to our national economy.”
In this, both Dr. Rahma and Prof. Ahmed agreed that the signing of the Research Cooperation Program represents an important step in enhancing inter-institutional cooperation that supports Oman’s efforts at achieving continuing sustainable development.