Third International Symposium on Flash Floods in Wadi Systems to be held at GUtech, 5 – 7 December

HALBAN Flash floods which are caused by extreme weather conditions have created severe damages to the infrastructure and agriculture in recent years in many parts of the world including the Sultanate of Oman. The Third International Symposium on Flash Floods in Wadi Systems entitled “Disaster Risk Reduction and Water Harvesting in the Arab Region” will be held between the 5-7 December at the German University of Technology in Oman (GUtech) in Halban.

“Our international symposium aims at creating awareness about flash floods and increase research in efficient flash flood forecasting through hydrological models that predict rainfall and runoff processes and simulate the flood routing,” said Prof. Dr. Ekkehard Holzbecher, Hydrologist at GUtech, who is heading the local organizing committee of the symposium. The Symposium is held in cooperation with the Ministry of Regional Municipalities and Water Resources in the Sultanate of Oman, Water Resource Research Center in Kyoto (Japan), the Global Alliance of Disaster Research Institutes (GDRAI) of the Disaster Prevention Research Institute (DPRI), Kyoto University.

According to the researchers, their occurrence is highly random. “Because of climate change, flash floods will occur more frequently in future. Therefore, there is an urgent need for further flash flood protection and risk reduction. In addition, the rain water can be harvested and used for example for agricultural purposes. This has been done in other parts of the world, e.g. in Africa,” said Prof. Dr. Ekkehard Holzbecher.

In previous years the Symposium was held in Kyoto (Japan) and in Campus El Gouna (Egypt). Around one hundred experts from all over the world are expected to attend the symposium, that will also include a Training Workshop on “Flow and Sediment Transport Modelling in Rivers and Wadi System using TELEMAC 2D and 3D numerical codes”.

The International Association for Hydro-Environment Engineering and Research (IAHR), COMSOL, Hölscher Wasserbau GmbH, Al Bustan Construction and Gulf Lake are the silver sponsors of the symposium. For further details and registration please check out the conference website: http://issf2017.gutech.edu.om/ or contact ISFF2017@gutech.edu.om.

© Text: GUtech / Manuela Gutberlet and Dr. Ahmed Hadidi
© Photo: GUtech/ Applied Geosciences Department

Caption:

members of the organizing team, from left to right:

Prof. Dr. Tetsuya Sumi, WRRC, Desaster Prevention Research Institute, Kyoto University, Japan

Prof. Dr. Ekkehard Holzbecher, GUtech, Oman

Prof. Dr Sameh Kantoush, WRRC, Disaster Prevention Research Institute, Japan

Dr. Saif Al-Hinai, Duqm Special Economic Zone Authority, Oman

 

GUtech and Siemens partner on mechatronics certification

  • Highly specialized program is first of its kind to be offered in Oman
  • Collaboration allows GUtech students to benefit from real-world tools from industry
  • Agreement meets the needs of increasingly-digitalized industry

Digitalization is key to increasing productivity and competitiveness in the manufacturing industries. It is also creating completely new business and growth opportunities for companies, as well as new jobs. To train the engineers of the future and to strengthen the collaboration between industry and academia, the German University of Technology in Oman (GUtech) and Siemens have announced a new academic collaboration that will provide advanced learning and certification opportunities for engineering students and professionals. Beginning 2018, GUtech will offer the Siemens Mechatronics Systems Certification Program (SMSCP) to all students interested in advancing their skills in automation and manufacturing.

Announced at a signing ceremony hosted at the GUtech campus in Halban, Muscat, the partnership is designed to boost students’ digital skills to meet the needs of an increasingly-digitalized industry sector. The signing was witnessed by the German Ambassador to Oman, H.E. Thomas Schneider, as well as other business leaders and academia experts.

The German Ambassador H.E. Thomas Schneider in his address congratulated Siemens and GUtech on the agreement and stressed “This cooperation gives GUtech access to a global network of advanced technology partners working with Siemens, linking the Sultanate of Oman to the top level of industrial research and education. This is an initiative which we wholeheartedly welcome and which we would like to see become a model for cooperation in other fields. Therefore I consider this ceremony today not only as the conclusion of the MoU, but as a starting point for an ever closer cooperation between the various branches, such as science and business.”

“Education is a long-term investment. We are very thankful for the support of Siemens, one of the global leaders in engineering. We are grateful that our engineering students will be able to use a special mechatronics laboratory here at GUtech, featuring the Siemens Mechatronics Systems Certification Program,” said Professor Dr. Eng. Michael Modigell, Rector of GUtech. “This program will also enhance our close cooperation with the German and Omani industry. In the long run, the certification of our students will enhance their employability.”

Mechatronics is the combination of mechanical, electrical and computer engineering integrated to build complex systems. This holistic, hands-on approach to engineering can improve efficiency, productivity and quality and ultimately decrease time to market. Industries that benefit greatly from mechatronics systems include aerospace, materials processing, water desalination, machine building, automotive, transportation, building technologies and mining.

“Today’s industrial sectors are undergoing rapid change. Manufacturing systems are becoming increasingly complex and digitalized and these systems require qualified highly-skilled individuals with the knowledge required to design, operate and maintain them,” said Markus Strohmeier, CEO of Siemens in Oman. “We are honoured to collaborate with GUtech to bring mechatronics training to Oman, offering students the opportunity to pursue this globally recognized certification that will ultimately help them succeed in top industries upon graduation.”

Siemens is the only global industrial company to offer the internationally-recognized program in cooperation with partner colleges and universities throughout the Middle East, Europe, North America, Asia and Africa. Under the agreement, GUtech will be the first university in Oman to offer the training and join an international network of advanced technology partners in education and industry working with Siemens to deliver the SMSCP program.

Upon completion of the program, participants will obtain mechatronics systems certification directly from Siemens. The course will be offered to students in two levels, and taught by the GUtech’s instructors who will be trained at the Siemens Technik Academy in Berlin, Germany. Each level is based on a job profile – a comprehensive description of the tasks that the certified individual should be able to perform. Job profiles are developed by Siemens in collaboration with other industry and public sector partners.

PSI Computer Laboratory opens at GUtech

HALBAN The German company PSI Software Group has opened a specialized Computer Laboratory and Training Center at GUtech, located in Barka. The University and PSI Software Group signed a MoU a few months ago.

“We are delighted to open a specialized PSI Computer Laboratory at our university today. GUtech students who are enrolled in Mechanical, Process and Environmental Engineering will benefit from this unique laboratory as well as our academic staff. To familiarize themselves with the SCADA software the Engineering professors of GUtech were trained at the PSI head offices two months ago,” said Prof. Dr. Ing. Michael Modigell, Rector of GUtech. The PSI Software Group will also utilize the GUtech laboratory as a Training Center for its customers in the GCC region.

“The PSI Control system will be introduced from January onwards. We are looking forward to training GUtech students in the simulation of the operation of gas and oil pipelines and water networks. Our software with an extended technology simulation core specifically helps to understand better the fluid transportation process within a pipeline. Therefore, it is a high-end tool to increase efficiency and safety of pipeline operations,” said Wolfgang Klüber, PSI Sales Manager Oman. PSI also plans to introduce an internship programme for the best Engineering students at GUtech.

““We want to train our students in specialized laboratories that give them the skills to implement the practical experience in their future work. Therefore, offering an industrial software like PSI’s SCADA in our engineering programmes will give the opportunity to our students to be trained in Energy Management and Oil and Gas Pipeline Management. Also, this will enrich the engineering programme,” said Prof. Dr. Najah Al Mhanna, Head of the Engineering Department.

 

The PSI Software Group is the European market leader for supervision and control systems for gas, oil, electricity, heat and energy transmission and trading. PSI Group develops and integrates complete solutions for energy management (gas, oil, electricity, heat, energy planning, transmission, and trading), production management (mining, metals, automotive, mechanical engineering, logistics) and infrastructure management for transport and safety. The PSI was founded in 1969, it is based in the German capital Berlin and employs more than 1,600 persons worldwide, in projects in the US, Europe and Southeast Asia.

Previous prestigious projects in the area of gas management applications include such ambitious and sophisticated installations as GAZPROM control systems for the onshore gas transmission pipeline system supporting Nord Stream and for the entire onshore/offshore gas Blue Stream Pipeline System in Russia. On the Arabian Peninsula, PSI has delivered the leak detection and location system to the Kuwait Oil Company, for its countrywide gas and condensate pipeline system.

 

Caption: Group photo with Prof. Dr. Ing. Michael Modigell, Rector of GUtech (second row, center) and Prof. Dr. Najah Al Mhanna, Head of the Engineering Department (second row, right), Dr. Aleksej Lisunkin, Technology Development Manager of PSI (first row, center) and Rüdiger Schulz, Business Development Middle East/Oman (second row, center), Elena Lvova, Project Software Engineer of PSI (second row, left) as well as GUtech professors and engineering students.

(c) Text & photo: GUtech/ Manuela Gutberlet

Students attend a Language and Culture Course at RWTH Aachen University

MUSCAT A group of 15 students of GUtech recently travelled to GUtech’s partner-university, RWTH Aachen University in Germany to attend a German Language and Culture Course. The annual study-trip has been conducted since 2009; its main aim is to introduce the students to life in Germany and to the classroom situation at RWTH Aachen University. For most of the students it is their first trip to Germany. The German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) has been funding the study trip. The GUtech students of different study-programmes had to apply with a letter of motivation that was followed by an interview.

“From a cultural aspect we learnt a lot, whether it was the history through our city tours with guides, or from our various mentors. Even getting insight into the current culture through observing the people we saw all around us on the streets was valuable for us as students of a completely different culture. The most surprising thing was encountering so many expatriates, especially Arabs. We learnt so much about the dynamics of the daily lives of people and their interactions,” said Maryam Mohamed, GUtech student in Computer Sciences.

At RWTH Aachen University, the students had a campus tour and visited two institutes, the Institute of Hydraulic Engineering and Water Resources Management as well as the Institute for Automotive Engineering (ika). One weekend the group headed to Bonn, the former capital of Germany where they visited the old city with its city gates, the city hall, the birthplace of the famous composer Ludwig van Beethoven, castles and churches. On the third weekend, they visited the cathedral of Cologne and the city hall and the group enjoyed a boat cruise on the Rhine River. The summer school also included a half-day trip to Düsseldorf and Maastricht the Dutch city, located close to Aachen. Also, the students got to know some other border cities such as Roermond, Vaals, and Kerkrade in the Netherlands and Kelmis in Belgium. They enjoyed a hike through the forestland of Germany leading to the common point between Germany, Belgium and Netherlands known as the “Three-Country Point” (in German: “Dreiländerpunkt”).

GUtech students expressed their gratitude to DAAD and GUtech for their support. “The summer school is an excellent opportunity given to GUtech students. It serves to strengthen the connection between GUtech and RWTH Aachen University. Some students even expressed their interest of going back to Germany one day for internships and even post graduate studies,” said Dr. Yathrib Ajaj, Chemistry lecturer at GUtech who accompanied the group. GUtech offers German classes for all BSc or BEng students. The university promotes study and research exchange especially with RWTH Aachen University and with other universities in Europe.

 

(c) text: GUtech/Manuela Gutberlet; photo: GUtech/Nabil al Badri

President of the German Parliament Visits GUtech

H.E. Prof. Norbert Lammert, President of the German Parliament, visited the German University of Technology in Oman (GUtech) on Wednesday 12 October, as part of his current official visit to the Sultanate of Oman.

The President of the German Bundestag was accompanied by Honourable. Saleh Bin Mohammed Al Nazwani, Member of the State Council, H.E. Thomas Schneider German Ambassador to the Sultanate of Oman, Joachim Duster Chief Officer of the German Embassy in the Sultanate of Oman, as well as his personal secretary, Officers of the Bundestag Protocol Office and an interpreter.

At the beginning of the meeting, Professor Dr. Michael Modigell, Rector of the University, in the presence of faculty, Dr. Hussein Al Salmi, Vice-Rector for Financial and Administrative Affairs, and Professor Dr. Armin Eberlein, Vice-Rector for Academic Affairs, delivered a speech welcoming the guests, Prof. Dr. Modigell presented a brief history of GUtech, the milestones, the increase in the number of students enrolled year after year, the rise in the number of programmes GUtech offers, and the scientific projects and researches it has carried out.

H.E. Visited the new exhibition and conference centre at the University, which will host the Centre for the History of Science, which is considered one of the latest additions to GUtech facilities, scheduled for opening early next year.

H.E. also met with members of the Student Council, to discuss their experience at GUtech and their views of current and future challenges. H.E The President of the German Parliament emphasized the importance of education and its relevance to modern and future changes and challenges, stressing that the main challenge students face now is to prove themselves, and to be able to compete in the labor market. H.E. also discussed the importance of student exchange, which provides a good experience for students, to gain knowledge and exchange experiences with their peers in different countries, especially Germany.

Student Team ‘Megadalon’ celebrated during special Shell Eco-marathon 2017 Ceremony

MUSCAT Shell Oman organized a special ceremony today at the Oman Convention and Exhibition Center to recognize the two student teams from Oman that represented the country during the Shell Eco-marathon Asia 2017 held in Singapore in March this year. GUtech teams have been participating in the competition since 2014. Since that year a total of 65 students from Oman participated in the annual competition. This year the teams from GUtech and Sultan Qaboos University competed with their eco-friendly and fuel-efficient cars among 120 teams from Asia, Middle East and Australia.

The GUtech team ‘Magadolon’ is a very diverse, multi-national team having the first female driver, Alshifaa al Hadi. “Regardless various challenges we faced such as a damaged brake cable and a faulty fuel pump, we learnt a lot during the competition. We had to work hard within our team and manage the entire project,” said GUtech Mechanical Engineering student Navaneeth Sadasivan during a passionate presentation to the audience. Chris Breeze, Shell’s Country Chairman said: “Shell Eco-marathon is an opportunity which involves young people tackling a series of world challenges, in a fun and constructive way. I am delighted by the progress in the performance and diversity of the Omani teams represented at the Shell Eco-marathon Asia this year, with two Omani women participants from GUtech contributing to the success of the team.”

Oman Air sponsored the transportation of the vehicles and the flight tickets of the teams.

The GUtech Team ‘Megadalon’:

Mohammed Salman (team leader)

Alshifaa al Hadi (driver)

Arjwan Al Hajri

Tejas Janardhan

Adhir Kalingapuran

Navaneeth Sadasivan

Yousef Dab Al Bab

Ayman Al Yatim

Supervisors:  Prof. Dr. Emmanouil Bouzakis, Prof. Dr. Najah Al Mhanna (Engineering Department of GUtech) and Ali Al Humairi (Computer Sciences of GUtech).

Text & photo: GUtech/Manuela Gutberlet

Orientation Days at GUtech

BARKA To welcome the new batch of students, the Orientation Days were held at the German University of Technology in Oman (GUtech). More than 500 students have started their studies at GUtech this week. The students were introduced to academic and student life on campus. The Rector of GUtech, Prof. Dr. Michael Modigell, welcomed the students in the morning. “GUtech’s goal is to educate students to become critical citizens, who are able and willing to contribute to the development of the country and the region,” said the Rector while adding: “You are the future of Oman. Being a good citizen is different than being a good engineer,” he said. In addition to the academic studies, the University fosters creative and critical thinking in order to advance research and development.

Ruaa Al Hadhrami who went to Al Sahwa Schools will study BSc Computer Sciences. “I like technology, it is used in our everyday lives,” she said. Ruaa said that she heard from her friends about GUtech and that she is excited about the studies on campus. She wishes to study abroad one day. Ruaa’s school-friend, Arwa Al Hadabi, will study Environmental Engineering at GUtech. “Clean energy and our planet are important issues. I think much more can be done to protect our nature.  Since I was young I have been interested in environmental issues,” she said.

GUtech offers a Foundation Year and BEng programmes in Environmental Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, Process Engineering and BSc programmes in Computer Sciences, Applied Geosciences, Logistics, International Business and Service Management as well as in Urban Planning and Architectural Design. All academic programmes are internationally accredited and taught in English.

 

(c) Photo & Text: GUtech/Manuela Gutberlet

Professional Development Days start at GUtech

Blended Learning enhances the Quality of Teaching and Learning

BARKA The German University of Technology in Oman (GUtech) has launched its one week Professional Development Days for all academic and administrative employees. The week will include a variety of lectures on different aspects regarding teaching and administrative matters. The Professional Days were launched by an introduction to ‘Blended Learning’ which has been applied at GUtech in recent years through the Moodle system. Blended Learning includes any kind of mixture of teacher-centred knowledge transfer and self-paced media supported learning. It combines the virtual learning and a non-virtual learning environment. “The aim is to motivate students and to improve student-centred learning, while offering group learning opportunities for some and opportunities to learn individually for others. Therefore, the quality of teaching and the learning experience for the student will be enhanced,” said Prof. Dr. Heribert Nacken, Rectorate’s Delegate for Blended Learning and Exploratory Teaching Space at RWTH Aachen University, GUtech’s partner-university in Germany. The ultimate goal should be to educate creators and innovators instead of conformists.

Therefore, the new teaching technologies including social media, which are familiar communication tools for the new generation should be applied on a regular basis in the classroom. For example mobile phones and tablets are integrated in lectures. “Blended learning needs to suit the teaching habit of the lecturer,” said Prof. Nacken while stressing that it should be highly encouraged but not enforced.

At RWTH Aachen University the Center of Excellence in Academic Teaching supports the different faculties in realizing blended learning techniques in the classroom. RWTH Aachen faculties have introduced video teaching as an effective teaching tool, which is very popular among students. According to Prof. Nacken 60-70 % of the students watch the videos prior to the lecture. RWTH Aachen University is part of the Massive Open Online Courses which are held in cooperation with leading universities in Europe such as ETH Zurich (Switzerland). In addition, the RWTH Aachen app is applied to test the student knowledge anonymously in the classroom. The Phyphox App is used in Physics for experiments outside the classroom by using a mobile phone. At GUtech Blended Learning has been applied through the Moodle software. To improve the quality of teaching of all departments, it is planned to implement further methods.

Text & photo: GUtech/Manuela Gutberlet

Registration is now open

BARKA The German University of Technology in Oman (GUtech) has opened its registration for the winter semester 2017/18. “Students who applied via the Ministry of Higher Education portal were registered with us between 10-16 August. International students can still register until 30 August at the university’s premises in Halban, Department of Registration. The applicants need to fill out the application form that can be found on the university’s website,” said Salim Al Araimi, Head of Registration at GUtech.

GUtech offers a Foundation Year and full-time programmes in BEng in Process Engineering, Mechanical Engineering and Environmental Engineering. BSc in Computer Science, Urban Planning and Architectural Design, International Business and Service Management and Logistics. All programmes are taught in English. The university is also planning to introduce MSc and PhD programmes soon. During the summer semester 2017 around 1,600 students were studying at GUtech, the majority of them were Omanis.

International Architecture Summer School in Berlin

A group of GUtech students and their professors participated in an international Urban Planning and Architecture Summer School in Berlin (Germany). The course was organized and held in collaboration between Prof. Alexander Kader of GUtech’s Department of Urban Planning and Architectural Design, Iowa State University (USA) and the City College in New York (USA). During the four week Summer School the students were working in the Design Studio Alte Kantine in the Berlin district of Wedding. “It was a beautiful location and a great work space where we worked in groups, sharing our knowledge and our cultures,” said Petrit Pasha, GUtech lecturer. During the workshops, the students were introduced to different computer programmes such as Grasshopper, Diva and Sepheira which help to analyse the energy performance of sustainable building designs.

The students also conducted on-site excursions to different parts of Berlin and they visited the so-called City Models of Berlin, a public permanent exhibition showcasing the urban development of Berlin. Furthermore, the students traveled to other cities in Germany such as Hamburg where they visited the harbor district and they visited the famous School of Architecture the Bauhaus in the city of Dessau with the Master houses of famous modern architects like Walter Gropius and Mies van der Rohe. “The course was a great opportunity for us to learn more about the energy performance of buildings, the culture of Berlin and also meet with people from all around the world. We shared our knowledge, culture and created bridges, which will be integrated in our future work. I recommend this programme to anyone who is interested in learning and developing skills in energy performance, sustainable building design and exploring the bustling city of Berlin,” said GUtech student Salim Al Kalbani at the end of the Summer School.

 

Caption: The group of GUtech students and Prof. Alexander Kader at the City Models of Berlin exhibition