Representatives from Sultan Qaboos University (SQU) and the Public Establishment for Industrial Estates – Madayn (PEIE-Madayn) convened the Steering Committee meeting of the PEIE Research Chair in Industrial Estates on 15 October 2019. The meeting took place in the university’s Office of the Deputy Vice-Chancellor for Postgraduate Studies and Research. SQU was represented by Dr. Rahma Al-Mahrooqi, the Deputy Vice-Chancellor for Postgraduate Studies and Research, Prof. Abdullah Al-Badi, the Research Chair holder, Dr. Yassine Charabi, the Assistant Chair, Dr. Mahmood Al-Kindi, Assistant Professor at the College of Engineering, Dr. Noura Al-Nasiri, the Deputy Director of the Centre for Environmental Studies and Research, and Mr. Nasser Al-Sheibani, the Deputy Director of the Research Department. PEIE-Madayn representatives were Dr. Khamis Al-Muniri, the Executive Director of Madayn Industrial Academy, Dr. Mohammed Sherif, Advisor (Strategic Planning), and Eng. Dawood Al-Haddabi, General Director of Sumail Industrial Estate.
The PEIE Research Chair in Industrial Estates and Free Zones, which is housed in the university’s Centre for Environmental Studies and Research, was established by SQU and PEIE-Madayn in 2018. SQU and PEIE-Madayn founded the Research Chair in order to build stronger inter-institutional ties between them, in addition to contributing to capacity building in the Research Chair’s fields of specialisation by engaging in research in areas of industrial need. As a result, the Research Chair conducts quality studies in industrial estates through applied research, in addition to holding academic events, and engaging in outreach research activities. Through these actions and initiatives, the Research Chair strives to have a positive impact on Oman’s socio-economic development.
The Steering Committee began by reviewing the scope of the Research Chair as per the SQU-PEIE agreement. As detailed in the agreement, the Research Chair’s vision is assisting in capacity building in industrial estates and free zones by promoting research in areas of important industrial need that have not yet been developed. In service of this vision, the Chair has the mission of providing quality applied research and studies in the field of industrial estates and free zones by conducting investigative projects, academic events, and outreach research activities that directly contribute to Oman’s socio-economic development.
The Research Chair pursues a number of objectives to this end. These include conducting quality research and studies that provide business solutions which are contextual, focused, and tailored towards the challenges of industrial estates and free zones in Oman, developing and supporting applied research related to industrial estates and free zones in Oman, and helping guide policymakers, business leaders, decision-makers, and other concerned stakeholders, in making informed decisions. Other core objectives the Chair pursues are supervising graduate students and preparing Omani researchers and experts to perform organised and creative work in areas related to industrial estates and free zones, contributing to the development of human capital by organising workshops and other specialised training courses and events, and helping fulfil national development plans as outlined in Oman’s development strategies and the Five-Year Development Plan for 2016-2020.
At the meeting, Prof. Abdullah Al-Badi and Dr. Yassine Charabi, the Research Chair holder and Assistant Chair respectively, detailed for committee members plans for the Research Chair’s website and potential research projects and academic events. The Steering Committee members expressed gratitude to Prof. Abdullah and Dr. Yassine for their efforts to fulfil the Chair’s function and agreed to organise an official visit of the Chair’s representatives to Rusayl Industrial Estate to further strengthen connections and explore areas of future collaboration. The meeting concluded with the committee extending its full support to the Research Chair and expressing its confidence that the Chair would make an important contribution to Oman’s social and economic development.