Muscat: The British Council, in association with the Department of Business Innovation and Skills and the UK Science and Innovation Network, organised the “Water and Energy Research Symposium” at SQU to promote links between scientists from Sultan Qaboos University and universities in the UK,and carry out joint innovative research in the water and energy fields.
Noted research scientists, specialising in the energy and water fields from SQU and seven UK universities, attended the symposium and discussed ideas to open new directions in water and energy research.
Russ Dixon, Deputy Head of Mission at the British Embassy, Oman, in his address, stressed the need for innovations in energy research for oil producing countries,such as Oman. “The drop in oil price is a concern for the countries in this region. It is imperative to develop more innovative technologies to conserve energy and tap alternative energy sources. For arid regions, water is a crucial topic and conservation and sustainable use of water should receive enough attention”, he observed.
Dixon called upon scientists to develop new technologies to tap solar energy and other renewable energy resources in Oman, which receives considerable amounts of sunlight. He further said he hoped the symposium would pave the way for strong research ties between scientists from Oman and the UK.
Dr. Shahid Al Balushi, expert from the International Relegations Office at SQU, delivered a speech outlining SQU initiatives to support research and capacity building. He elaborated on various research funding options available to scientists in SQU and the university’s research ties with foreign universities and research institutes.
In her address, Dr. Malak Hamdan, Head of the UK’s Science and Innovation Network in the Gulf, stated that science and innovation are at the heart of the prospects of any nation. “A country by its own cannot find innovative solutions to the complex set of challenges that the world is facing today. This makes international collaboration between scientists imperative”. Dr. Hamdan said she hoped that ties between scientists from Oman and the UK would result in innovative solutions to address water and energy security challenges, along with climate change issues.
Constantine Demetriou, Director for Commercialization at The Research Council (TRC), spoke about the start-up and venture capital landscape in Oman. He also elaborated on TRC’s project to promote research and innovation in Oman, in collaboration with various government agencies and universities. During the workshop, scientists from both countries discussed prospective research collaboration in water security, water management, renewable energy, biofuels, water desalination technologies, and related topics.