Muscat: The Sultan Qaboos University (SQU) on Sunday celebrated its 21st annual day, which marks the visit of the late His Majesty Sultan Qaboos Bin Said bin Taimour to the university on May 2, 2000.
The ceremony was held under the auspices of Dr Rahma Ibrahim Al Mahrooqi, Minister of Higher Education, Research and Innovation, Chairperson of the SQU Council.
During the ceremony, Dr Amer Saif Al Hinai, Deputy Vice-Chancellor for Postgraduate Studies and Research, announced the names of research papers that won the 2021 Royal Scholarships.
The winners of the Best Research Group Prize 2021 was “Water Resources Assessment and Management in Arid and Desert Areas” Group, led by Dr Ali Al Maktoumi, Director of Water Research Centre.
Al Hinai said in a speech on the occasion that the SQU financed 97 projects in 2021. The Research Grants Deanship financed 29 projects while the grants of the Ministry of Higher Education, Research and Innovation (earlier The Research Council) contributed to financing 6 projects through the Programme of Grants for PhD Research Academics.
This is in addition to another 5 projects financed thorough the Graduates’ Research Scholarships Programme, 6 projects financed through the University Students’ Research Grants Programme and 16 more SQU projects that explored various aspects of coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
Al Hinai pointed out that the remarkable rate of research activity boosted the publication of the SQU’s research papers in scholarly journals and conference presentations. In 2020, the number of journals listed in the SQU’s affiliated Scopes Researchers stood at 1,287. These journals were quoted 3,179 times, said Al Hinai.
Last year, the SQU supported 67 researchers who participated in conferences around the world—53 of them took part in live events and 14 in virtual events.
The SQU’s six scholarly journals published 15 editions throughout the year. The university’s engineering research journal was promoted to the Q3 rating in the SC Imago Journal Rank.
In 2020, the Innovation and Technology Transfer Centre supported 7 invention-related research studies and 6 patents from Oman Patents Office. The SQU’s scientific publication section granted 658 research papers and one patent to the SQU researchers.
In the meantime, the SQU’s rating was upgraded in the QS global universities rating from the 450th position in 2019 to the 375th position in 2021. The SQU scaled up one step from 10th rank in the QS rating for the Arab region in 2019 to the 9th rank in 2021.
The ceremony saw the felicitation of a number of researchers, academics, new employees and winners of scientific prizes, in addition to a number of best performing students.
Following is a list of winning projects:
First: New Materials for Sustainable Energy - Kinetically Locked Copper(I) Complexes For Dye Sensitized Solar Cells and Functional Europium(III) Complexes For Organic Light Emitting Diodes by the principal investigator Prof. Muhammad Khan from the College of Science.
Second: Integrating Modern Soil and Water Smart Technologies for Salinity Management in the Sultanate of Oman by Principal Investigator Dr Daniel Blackburn from the College of Agricultural and Marine Sciences.
Third: Revealing Properties of Twenty Omani Seaweeds for Future Utilisation and Management by Principal Investigator Dr Ahmed Al Alawi, from the College of Agricultural and Marine Sciences.
Fourth: Derivation and Culture Optimization of Human Mesenchymal Stem Cells for Prospective Transplantation Therapies by Principal Investigator Dr Halima Al Balushi from the College Of Medicine and Health Sciences.
Fifth: Biodiesel Production from Waste Cooking Oil for Use as Fuel: Integrating Environmental, Economic, and Social Aspects by Principal Investigator Dr Sanket Joshi from Oil and Gas Research Centre.
Sixth: Development of Locally Produced Natural Pozzolans in Oman: Potential and Perspectives for an Eco-efficient Composite Cements Industry in Oman by Principal Investigator Dr Mohammed Seddik from the College of Engineering.
Seventh: Developing a National Training Framework of STEM-based Competencies in Oman: Impact on Teachers’ Content Knowledge (CK), Pedagogical Content Knowledge (PCK), Students’ Achievement, and Motivation by Principal Investigator Dr. Mohamed Shahat from the College of Education.