Muscat: Middle East Desalination Research Centre (MEDRC) announced the winners of the Omani Young Water Researchers Awards in a ceremony at their headquarters in Al Hail on Wednesday.
Established by MEDRC and sponsored by the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Oman and the Omar Zawawi Establishment LLC, it aims to encourage and promote research work that can have a meaningful impact on Oman’s water sector and tackle the global challenge of fresh water scarcity.
Held under the auspices of the Public Authority for Electricity & Water (PAEW) of Oman it recognises excellence in water research undertaken by young Omani students at both undergraduate and postgraduate level within the areas of water management, water treatment technologies and desalination or related environmental research.
In the postgraduate category, the first place was secured by Abdullah Al Balushi from University of Nebraska, Lincoln. The second place was bagged by Asma Al Kharusi, Caledonian College of Engineering and Raya Al Farsi from Sultan Qaboos University (SQU) stood third.
In the undergraduate category, the first place was won by Azza Al Subhi, from International Maritime College, Oman, Zaineb Al Hajji from SQU stood second and Mohammed Al Naaimi, also from SQU, bagged the third place.
The undergraduate category winner, Azza Al Subhi, conducted her research on the use of graphene-based materials for wastewater treatment. The winner of the postgraduate category, Abdullah Al Balushi, on the other hand, investigated membrane distillation as a more cost-effective alternative technology for reverse osmosis for sea water and brackish (slightly salty) water desalination.
Abdullah Al Balushi and Azza Al Subhi receive an all-expenses paid trip to The Netherlands to attend the European Water Tech Week in Leeuwarden this coming September.
Speaking of the event, Center Director of MEDRC, Ciarán Ó Cuinn said “It gives us great pleasure to announce the recipients of the Omani Young Water Researchers Award. We were delighted by the standard of the submissions received this year. Showcasing excellent research; such as that which we’ve seen here today, is vital for the continued development of water research here in Oman.”
Speaking at the event, Laetitia Van Asch, Ambassador of the Kingdom of Netherlands to Oman, said: “I am very glad to see the increased number of applications for the Young Omani Researchers Award this year.”
Dr Jauad El Kharraz, Head of Research at MEDRC remarked: “I am extremely grateful to the committee for the time they took to review the submissions and to interview the finalists. We formed a panel representative of many different sectors, each bringing their own area of expertise to the table”.
Among the distinguished guests present at today’s ceremony were, Laetitia Van Asch, Ambassador of the Kingdom of the Netherlands, Hussain Abdul Hussain, CEO of Haya Water, Salem Nasser Al Bortmany, Executive Director at Omar Zawawi Establishment (OMZEST) and Zaher Al Sulaimani, Chairman, Oman Water Society.