Sultan Qaboos University celebrated 18th SQU Day today with several activities to commemorate the visit of His Majesty Sultan Qaboos bin Said to the University on 2 May 2000. The opening ceremony was be held under the patronage of H.E. Nasr bin Hamoud Al Kindi, Secretary General of the Royal Court Affairs.
The ceremony included screening of a film on research at the university, besides honoring the outstanding faculty members, researchers and administrative and technical staff from various colleges, units and centers of the university. In addition, the university’s colleges and centers held several workshops, exhibitions and lectures celebrating 18th SQU Day.
Speaking on the occasion, H.E. Dr. Ali bin Saud Al Bimani, the Vice Chancellor of SQU outlined the achievements of the staff and students at the university in various fields during the year 2017-2018. Maisa Al-Suwaieh, a PhD student at the College of Engineering won the first place in the SPE Student Paper Contest at the Middle East and North Africa level. In the Huawei International Competition, Amira AbdulMuati, a Master’s student from the College of Engineering won the first place in the test of students’ ability to apply the latest protocols in the fields of computer networks.
Student startup “Juven” won the first place in the Competition of the National Bank of Oman for Innovation for Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) for the year 2018. In a scientific challenge, the student Abdul Halim bin Ahmed bin Sulaiem Al Busaidi, from the College of Agricultural and Marine Sciences, discovered a solution for phytoplankton and its effects on marine life. A team of students from the College of Science won the first place at the Earth Sciences Conference “Geo 2018” held in Bahrain. The Graduation project for students of the Industrial Engineering Program at the College of Engineering won second place in the graduation projects competition held as part of the 8th International Conference of Industrial Engineering and Operations Management in Indonesia.
Hon. Dr. Saleh bin Salim Al Busaidi from College of Education received the Distinguished Scientist Award in Curriculum Design presented by the Venus International Foundation through the Venus International Research Awards (VIRA) 2017. Prof. Salma Mohammed Al Kindi, Dean of the College of Science, won the Venus International Research Award for “Achievement of Life” category in chemistry. Dr. Mohammed bin Ali Al Fayrouz from the College of Economics and Political Science won the first place in the Cyber security Competition by Cyber Talents. The Higher Education Academy at the United Kingdom awarded Dr. Mahmoud Ibrahim Masoud from the College of Engineering, the fellowship for achieving international professional standards in support teaching and learning through university education. The Arab Regional Office for the World Academy of Sciences chose Dr. Nasser bin Saeed Al-Salti from the College of Science as one of the top five young members for the period 2017-2021. Dr. Nasr bin Hamoud Al Hinai from the College of Engineering received the Award of Excellence in Education during his participation in the 8th International Conference of Industrial Engineering and Operations Management in Indonesia.
Ms. Halima bint Mohammed Al Balushi, Lecturer at the College of Medicine and Health Sciences received the best research paper at two international conferences, as part of a research team in stem cell research at the Karolinska Institute in Sweden.
A number of faculty members received the National Research Award for the best research work presented by the Research Council. Hon. Dr. Saeed Al Muharrami, Department of Economics and Finance, College of Economics and Political Science won the award in Culture, Basic and Social Sciences category. Dr. Mohammed Bait-Suwailam, Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering, College of Engineering won national research award in the Telecommunications and Information System Sector. Dr. Ahmed Hassan Hamdan, Department of Psychology, College of Education won the award in the Education and Human Resources Sector. Dr. Mahad Baawain, Department of Civil and Architectural Engineering, College of Engineering, got the national research award under the Environment and Biological Resources category.
H.H. Sayyidah Dr.Mona bint Fahad Al Said, Assistant Vice Chancellor for International Cooperation, received the Gold Medal from Charles University, Czech Republic. Hon. Dr. Suad bin Mohammed Al-Lawati, College of Education, was given the Scientific Competency Award in the Field of Women’s Empowerment in International Organizations, presented by the Regional Network for Social Responsibility. Dr. Mohammed Al Rawahi, Internal Medicine Department, the University Hospital has been awarded by the Heart Rhythm Society’s award.
The university launched three new research centers: the Medical Research Centre, Sustainable Energy Research Centre and the Nanotechnology Research Center. The Sustainable Energy Research Center launched the first Electric Station.
The University Hospital was upgraded to the platinum level, according to the Accreditation Canada International of Health Care Institutions, for meeting international standards of excellence in quality care and services. The Vice Chancellor announced the launch of the SQU Award for the Best Student Society in order to identify the role of students’ societies and their activities and promote their work inside and outside the university.
Research and Postgraduate Education
Speaking on the occasion, Dr. Rahma Ibrahim Al Mahrooqi, Deputy Vice Chancellor for Postgraduate Studies & Research at SQU, gave an overview of the advancements in research and postgraduate education at the University during the year 2017-2018. His Majesty’s Trust Funds worth 450,000 OMR are allocated to the University annually. In 2017, seven projects were supported by His Majesty’s Trust Fund worth 434,000 OMR. The Deputy Vice Chancellor said that since 2001, a total of 89 projects have been funded by HM Trust Fund worth 8,250,000 OMR. In addition, annual internal grants worth 500,000 OMR also support research at the university. In 2017 only, 89 Internal Grants projects for 507, 903 OMR were approved. In 2018, a total of 116 internal grants projects worth 475,498 OMR were approved. The Deanship of Research Fund supported 10 projects worth around 30,000 OMR.
The College of Agricultural & Marine Sciences at SQU received external grant from the Research Council for 221,600 OMR for a project. The College of Medicine & Health Sciences received 167,168 OMR worth external grants for nine projects from various organizations. Collaborative research fund comes from SQU’s partnership with UAEU, GCC Research Program and South African Universities. In 2017, four projects worth 63,386 OMR were funded by SQU-UAEU partnership. In 2018, four more projects were supported by 53,500 OMR under the same scheme. GCC joint research program supported three projects by 71,527 OMR; partnership with South African universities resulted in funding of eight project with a total sum of 110,600 OMR.
The new funding programs commenced in 2017-2018 include the British Petroleum funding program worth 100,000 OMR for three projects and the Omantel funding program worth 6000 OMR for three projects. In 2017, a total of 30 Consultancy Projects worth 647,724 OMR was carried out at SQU.
In the academic year 2017-2018, different colleges and centres at SQU organized 26 conferences. 498 academics and researchers from SQU attended various international conferences in the year 2017. The University signed 70 formal agreements and research programs with various national and international organizations.
Commenting on the growth in research publications, Dr. Rahma Al Mahrooqi said that 903 papers from SQU appeared in the abstract and citation database Scopus in 2017 only. The number of Scopus citations in 2017 stands at 973. In the same year, 705 papers by SQU researchers appeared in the “Web of Science”. The number of citations in the Web of Science during the same period is 859. SQU papers appeared in several reputed journals including Nature Communication and Nature Ecology & Evolution. The researchers from the University published papers with collaborators from 100 countries worldwide. The QS ranking of SQU in the Arab region increased from number 11 in 2017 to number 10 in 2018.
The most active research group award instituted by the Deanship of Research at SQU was given to the Plant Pathology Research Group supervised by Dr. Abdullah Mohammed Al-Sadi from the College of Agricultural & Marine Sciences.
Commenting on the postgraduate level programs at SQU, the Deputy Vice Chancellor said that the University now offers 63 masters level programs and 30 doctoral programs. In 2017-2018, 1927 students enrolled in different master programs and 232 students for doctoral programs. During the same period, 77 international students studied at the master’s level and 50 at the doctoral level. 72 scholarships awarded to master’s level students and 30 scholarships to doctoral students during this period. The DVC also revealed that all the six scientific journals of SQU migrated to Online Journal System (OJS). In 2017, seven invention disclosures and five patent applications were made my SQU researchers; and five patents and three copyrights were granted.