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Registration open for 6th edition Innovative Challenge Programme

Oman Monday 06/November/2023 14:26 PM
By: Times News Service
Registration open for 6th edition Innovative Challenge Programme

Muscat: The Ministry of Higher Education, Research and Innovation has announced the opening of registration for the annual Innovative Challenge Programme (Manafa) in its sixth edition.

The Ministry of Higher Education, Research and Innovation, represented by the Oman Center for Animal and Plant Genetic Resources “Mawarid”, announced today the opening of registration for the annual Innovative Challenge Programme (Manafa) in its sixth edition. The programme will continue until next January 5.

Khalid bin Ali Al Busaidi, genetic resources investment specialist at the Mawarid Center, explained that the main goal of the programme is to support efforts aimed at diversifying sources of income for the Sultanate of Oman by providing a platform for Omani innovators, entrepreneurs, and residents to present, discuss, and refine ideas for new products or services based on the Sultanate’s biodiversity. Also encouraging the establishment of small and medium-sized national companies based on benefiting from applied research in the field of biological resources, in addition to building public awareness about the investment opportunities available in the field of biodiversity.

Al Busaidi said that the idea of ​​the programme is to create products and services inspired by the biodiversity of genetic resources, by obtaining greater economic value for a product from the same raw material by inventing a new product or increasing the added value on traditional products, in other words, changing the properties of the original material to other properties that are more preferable in the market.

Al Busaidi stated that the added value in genetic resources is usually achieved through innovation that leads to improving existing products and services or creating new ones. They can be limited to categories: (natural cosmetics products, natural personal hygiene products, medical and pharmaceutical products, natural nutritional supplement products, clean energy production, organic fertilizer products, pesticides and organic control products). In addition to organic cleaning products, natural waste recycling products, artificial intelligence applications, organic plastic products, in addition to liquid purification applications and products, smart production systems, innovative food products, paints and organic compounds).

"There are a number of conditions for participation in the “Manafa” programme, which are: The participant must be an Omani or resident in the Sultanate of Oman, of the age group older than 18 years, and he has the right to register within a team consisting of (2-5) individuals. The team or one of its members must not have won in previous editions of Manafa, and the team must prove its ability to develop the product (here we mean an academic degree, practical experience, or skill), " Al Busaidi added.

Regarding the conditions for the participating product, Khalid bin Ali Al Busaidi, genetic resources investment specialist at the Mawarid Center, stated that the genetic resources used in the product must be authentic or registered in the Sultanate of Oman, and the proposed idea should not be subject to any intellectual property rights, taking into account its originality, modernity, realism and applicability as a commercial product. In addition to the possibility of implementing the idea technically, those wishing to participate in the program can register via the link to the Resource Center website.