On Monday, 14 October 2019, the Information Technology Authority (ITA) and Sultan Qaboos University (SQU) renewed the cooperation agreement signed between the two parties to cooperate and coordinate in the area of Free and Open Source Software (FOSS). H.E. Dr. Ali Al-Bimani the vice chancellor of SQU and Dr. Salim Al-Ruzaiqi the CEO of the ITA signed the agreement.
The agreement entails executing a joint project aimed to build and enhance the culture of FOSS and to encourage using them in entrepreneurship, academic and applied research, and developing FOSS based solutions. In addition, it aims to support research conducted by students and researchers at SQU and the ITA.
The agreement refers to the importance of collaboration in developing strategic plans to use FOSS and emerging digital technology in different educational, administrative, and industrial sectors in Oman. Moreover, it covers the grounds of collaboration on supporting and executing different entrepreneurial programs that serve the objectives of both parties. These programs might include: FOSS as a suitable choice to go along business programs, introduction to digital technologies and how to benefit from them to establish local SMEs, and raising awareness on intellectual property in relation to using FOSS to limit the usage of unlicensed programs.
The agreement also establishes the ITA’s role to update the lab devoted to conducting research and experiments on FOSS through providing needed software and devices, and supporting the student society’s FOSS activities which are supervised by Information and Communication Research Center at SQU. In the areas of research and strategic plans, SQU will encourage teaching FOSS, 4-IR technologies and entrepreneurship on the curriculums. It will also encourage students and professors to conduct research in the areas of FOSS technologies and applications, and emerging digital technologies.