“Developing Oman as a Global Logistics Brand” – A Public Talk at GUtech

HALBAN To raise awareness about the field of logistics as an attractive career path, a talk on the Oman National Logistics Strategy was conducted by Ibrahim Al Bakri, Programme Manager of the National Logistics Strategy Human Capital at the Oman Global Logistics Group SAOC. The talk was held at the German University of Technology in Oman (GUtech) last Wednesday afternoon. “Logistics is one of the fastest growing departments at GUtech,” said Prof. Dr. Heba Aziz, Head of the Department of Logistics, Tourism and Service Management. The talk was part of a series of presentations organized by the Department of Logistics, Tourism and Service Management of the Faculty of Business and Economics. Al Bakri said that in future university students may play a pivotal role as so-called “Logistics Ambassadors”, raising awareness about a field that is currently little known within the community in Oman.

The Oman Global Logistics Group SAOC was founded in 2016. According to Al Bakri the long-term goal is to develop, promote and position the Sultanate of Oman as an international logistics hub and as a logistics brand within the coming twenty years. “The aim is to increase the global logistics ranking and to be among the best 30 logistics hubs,” said Ibrahim Al Bakri while benchmarking Oman with Dubai and Singapore, the current leaders in Asia.

In his talk Al Bakri mentioned that in February 2017 a total of 74,000 jobs were available in the logistics sector in Oman. This number shall raise to 200,000 by 2030 and to 300,000 by 2040. The priority sectors for logistics in Oman are mining, fisheries, chemicals, food processing and agriculture. A total of 70 activities were identified as being part of logistics such as freight transport by road or ship or renting of trucks with a driver. Al Bakri stressed that one of the important aspects is to reduce the time for cargo clearances at the Omani borders and to increase research and development in logistics.

Photo & Text: GUtech/ Manuela Gutberlet

GUtech team wins Microsoft Imagine Cup 2017

The GUtech Beta Team is the winner of the Microsoft Imagine Cup 2017. The Computer Science team composed of two GUtech students from the Computer Science Department, Alya Al-Shanfari and Hana Al-Raisi, as well as an Omani inventor, Sultan Al-Subhi, won the first prize for their project Bee, an app that is connected with Beacons technology for retail shops which aims to enhance the shopping experience and understand the context of the environment of the shopper.

The competition was held at Hormuz Grand Hotel under the patronage of Sheikh Talal Said Marhoon al Mamari, chief executive officer of Omantel.

The Microsoft Imagine Cup is a global technology competition that aims to deliver educational, entrepreneurial and employment opportunities for youth by acquiring critical skills. The GUtech winning team Beta will participate in the Imagine Cup MEA semifinals in Lebanon in May.


GUtech team participates in Open Women Futsal Tournament

“It was a proud moment. We played our very best.” 

HALBAN GUtech’s Female Futsal team took part in the Open Women Futsal Tournament 2017 held on 13. and 14. April and hosted by the female sports department at Sultan Qaboos University. “It was a proud moment. We played our very best,” said team captain Basma Al Rashdi after the tournament while adding that this year’s tournament was challenging, since the GUtech team was the youngest team. Her team included nine Omanis and one German. The annual female sports competition at SQU was joined by seven teams from GUtech, Ahli Sidab Club, Etifaq Club, SQU, University Nizwa, PDO and IPEN. The GUtech team lead by captain Basma Al Rashdi, who won the Best Scorer Award with 10 goals, played a fantastic tournament and reached the 4th place after a dramatic last match, when GUtech could even make it to the 2nd place, but then lost 2:4 against the final overall tournament winner Al Etifaq Club. Besides five well experienced senior players, three new students joined the futsal team and made their first tournament experience. Unfortunately, long term team member Yusra Al Shukri had to withdraw from the competition due to an injury.

For the GUtech futsal team the competition marked the second highlight of the Academic Year 2016-17, after the team of coach Gunni Pfaff, manager of the GUtech sports office, joined the first OFA organized Women Futsal League competition at Bosher Complex in autumn 2016.

A large number of futsal players will graduate this year. Therefore, this competition was the last event as GUtech team members and can be added to the unique story of the most successful Women university-futsal team in Oman to date. “We would like to continue playing Futsal and training the next general of players. We would like to give coaching or referee course” said Zuwaina Al Zakwani, 4th year Engineering student at GUtech. All futsal team members enjoy training at GUtech twice a week. At school they played football and most of them started playing futsal at GUtech. “We have quite a lot of stress during our studies, but when we play futsal we release the stress,” said Basma.

The GUtech futsal team (Women) won several times in the young Omani university futsal history: 2 times the Futsal University Championships of the Ministry of Sports Affairs. Four GUtech’s players were members of the Oman University National Team to compete at the Arab University Championships in Jordan 2015 as well. Additionally, five team members joined the Futsal and Football coaching license courses of the Oman Football Association hosted by GUtech in February 2016 and became licensed OFA instructors.

Futsal coach Gunni Pfaff is confident, that the female futsal at GUtech will continue to flourish. “We will definitely continue with our futsal training, teaching new students the basics of futsal and taking in more new students for the trainings in the next academic year. The new players joining SQU competition showed already the necessary discipline, team spirit and good futsal skills and kept up with players of the other university teams.”

Futsal team members: Basma Al Rashdi (captain), Zuwaina Al Zakwani, Jokha Al Zakwani, Hanan Al Habsi, Sumaiya Al Shuhimi, Nawal Al Amri, Maia Kuhnen, Duaa Al Risi, Maather Al Hashimi and Muzna Al Badri.

Photo & Text by GUtech: Sports Office and Manuela Gutberlet

Visit GUtech during Ghedex – “Computer scientists provide smart solutions for our everyday lives”

GUtech participates in the annual Global Higher Education Exhibition Ghedex 2017. The exhibition is held between 18-20 April at the Oman Convention and Exhibition Center in Muscat. During Ghedex a number of GUtech academic and administrative staff of different departments will respond to enquiries. Visit the GUtech stand.

Representatives of the Computer Science (CS) Department will be at the GUtech stand during the whole exhibition. Computer experts are high in demand. They design and manage communication infrastructures that generates content and services to a large number of people. “Computer sciences is a global field with many local and international job perspectives. “Our world is full of devices on which a myriad of computer programmes are being used to capture, store, process, and exchange data through highly evolving networking infrastructures. Recent trends use this ecosystem to generate and provide people with smart solutions for their everyday lives,” said Prof. Dr. Nafaa Jabeur, Head of the Department of Computer Sciences at GUtech. The CS department is currently working on a number of projects related to the topics such as smart cities and the Internet of Things (IoT), where sensors and hardware equipment are endowed with artificial intelligent capabilities to provide customized services for various needs.

In order to provide students with better insights on the techniques used in these smart projects, Prof. Nafaa is travelling from April 25 to May 5 with a group of 3rd and 4th year CS students to Germany. The excursion is sponsored by the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD). The group will attend a workshop about the Internet of Things at the renowned German Research Center, the Fraunhofer Institute in Bonn. The group will also travel to GUtech’s partner-university in Germany, RWTH Aachen University and the University of Bremen. At both universities they will meet with professors and students and visit research laboratories.

The CS curricula at GUtech covers many important topics, including networking, database, mobile applications, security, and programming. “These topics are of high in demand in Oman and worldwide,” said Prof Nafaa. “Ensuring the security of our data, our computing platforms, and our communication infrastructures from growing numbers of cyber threats will be increasing the demands for computer scientists”, he said.

GUtech graduates in Computer Sciences are employed in the private and public sectors in Oman and abroad. Some of them have continued their graduate studies abroad, for example in Germany, UK, Australia and other countries.

In addition to the BSc Computer Science programme, GUtech offers the following Bachelor of Science and Bachelor of Engineering programmes: BSc in Urban Planning and Architectural Design, BSc in Applied Geosciences, BSc in Logistics, BSc in International Business and Service Management, BEng in Mechanical Engineering, BEng in Process Engineering, and BEng in Environmental Engineering. All GUtech study-programmes are internationally accredited by the German accreditation institute ACQUIN.  In the near future GUtech is expected to open new Master programmes in Geosciences, Industrial Engineering, and in Computer Science.

Photo & Text by GUtech/ Manuela Gutberlet


The Founding Rector of GUtech gives speech at the German Parliament

BERLIN During the ‘Oman Conference’ recently held at the German Bundestag (parliament) in the German capital Berlin, the founding Rector of GUtech, Prof. Dr. Ing. Michael Jansen, gave a speech about GUtech and the Research Center Indian Ocean (RIO). GUtech is a privately-owned German University of Technology in Oman, and the Research Center Indian Ocean (RIO) is associated with GUtech and one of the numerous subsidiaries of Oman Educational Services (OES).

The one-day conference was held under the auspices of H.E. Prof. Dr. Norbert Lammert, President of the German Bundestag, who visited GUtech in 2012 and H.E. Sayyid Badr Al Busaidi, the Secretary-General at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Oman. The conference was the first of its kind and organized by the German-Omani Society based in Germany and the group of German-Arab parlamentarians of the Bundestag. During his presentation, Prof. Jansen pointed out the importance of the German University in Oman within the Indian Ocean, the University being the only institution offering a curricula according to German quality standards and scientific research within a radius of 2000km. Moreover, Talal al Rahbi, Deputy Secretary General at the Supreme Council for Planning spoke about the diversification of Oman’s economy. The conference was attended by a large number of parlamentarians and members of the German-Omani Society.

Extracts of the event as well as speeches were broadcasted by Oman TV.

The video can be found here: https://youtu.be/Oww5YA_RE98

Text by GUtech/ Manuela Gutberlet; Photo supplied by J.R Schmid

20 Geosciences and Geography students from Germany explored Oman

A group of 20 students from three different universities in Germany and two Geosciences professors from RWTH Aachen University and the University of Bonn conducted a two week excursion around the North of Oman. The excursion was headed by Prof. Dr. Goesta Hoffmann a geologist at the Steinmann Institute for Geology, Mineralogy and Paleontology, University of Bonn and Prof. Dr. Peter Kukla, Head of the Energy and Mineral Resources Group and the Geological Institute at RWTH Aachen University. Both professors have been highly involved setting-up the Department of Applied Geosciences at GUtech around ten years ago and continue to serve as fly-in professors. For his recent work and research in Oman, Prof. Dr. Goesta has received the Research Award of the Research Council in 2016.

“We are pleased to conduct the excursion in Oman because it is an incredibly fascinating country which to date remains beyond the realm of large mainstream tourism,” explained Prof. Goesta, who lived in Oman for six years. “With Oman being a Muslim country, the excursion also aims to promote cultural exchange between Germany and Oman,” said Prof. Goesta.  “Oman offers an exciting opportunity for integrated geographical, geoscientific and socio-economic studies and perspectives,” said Prof. Peter Kukla, who has been conducting research related to oil and gas exploration and production together with PDO for the past 15 years. Therefore, during the excursion various geoscientific questions related to the professor’s research in Oman such as the remaining oil and gas potential, future minerals and metals resources, the development of the Omani coastline as well as geographical questions were discussed. Further issues addressed were the fast transformation of the Omani landscape – coasts, deserts, oases, flora and fauna  – and the social developments in Oman. This included the transformation of the agricultural industry and the overall structural transformation and challenges Oman is facing while transforming from an oil-based economy towards a more service-oriented economy.

Towards the end of the excursion in Muscat, the group conducted a walking tour between Old Muscat and Muttrah, along an old donkey trail, where Prof. Goesta explained the development of the mountains and the remains of a several centuries old falaj system. After the tour the group visited Souq Muttrah, which has been transformed from a local market to a ‘tourist market’ in the past years, a development that was enhanced by increasing mass cruise tourism. This has caused various negative impacts such as overcrowding and the change of the overall identity of the souq. This development was explained by Manuela Gutberlet, a PhD candidate at the Department of Geography at RWTH Aachen University and PR manager at GUtech who has been conducting research on the impacts of mega cruise tourism in Oman.

For the second time Prof. Goesta Hoffmann and Prof. Peter Kukla lead this interdisciplinary excursion under the auspices of the Geoverbund ABC/J for post-graduate students and doctoral candidates from the fields of geography and geosciences of the three universities in Aachen, Bonn and Cologne and the large federal research facility in Juelich.

Geoverbund ABC/J is the geoscientific network in the research region of
Aachen–Bonn–Cologne/Jülich. It pools and interconnects the expertise and resources in research and training of its four member institutions: RWTH Aachen University, University of Bonn, University of Cologne, and Forschungszentrum Jülich. Together, the scientists of the ABC/J region identify current and future issues in the fields of the evolution of Earth, environmental dynamics, georesource management, and geohazards, as well as developing possible solutions that extend beyond the region. Founded in August 2009, Geoverbund ABC/J is committed to the continuous development of the ABC/J region, creating attractive conditions for excellent research and students’ education. As a mediator between science, politics, and society, Geoverbund ABC/J’s stated aim is to increase the visibility of the ABC/J region as a nationally and internationally renowned research region in the field of geosciences. Further information on Geoverbund ABC/J: http://www.geoverbund-abcj.de/geoverbund/EN

Open Day at GUtech

HALBAN On Saturday afternoon GUtech opened its doors to the community. GUtech staff members and students showcased the university’s Bachelor programmes as well as sports, theatre and fun activities for the whole family.

One of the GUtech lecture halls accommodated the Computer Science department and their smart solutions. Ali Al Humairi is a Lecturer for embedded systems or so-called smart solutions at the Department of Computer Sciences. Dr. Najah Al Mhanna, Head of Engineering Department and Ali Al Humairi are currently supervising 36 innovative smart student projects in Engineering and 8 projects in Computer Science within a course on smart solutions or sensor embedded projects. During the Open Day Mr Ali demonstrated to interested students and parents that it is easy to drive a small car with the help of a smart mobile application. Once the car passed an obstacle they had to answer a question related to Computer Sciences. A radar sensor installed on top of the car controlled the driving and a Bluetooth system communicated with the mobile phone.

Another innovative smart application on display was an automatic system to water plants while being away from home. “The sensor acts like a human arm. It detects the humidity of the soil,” said Ali. The so-called Arduino sensor sends the information to a water pump that starts watering until the humidity level is achieved. A small battery is running the system. This smart water application could be applied for monitoring the water usage in public gardens. Moreover, a temperature and light sensor were presented.

Nawal Al Amri and her friend Sumaiya Al Harthy are studying Process Engineering in the 4th year. Last year they participated in the annual laboratory course, conducted at GUtech’s German partner-university in Germany, RWTH Aachen University. They were impressed of the numerous laboratories such as the ultrasound laboratory. Currently they are working on their Bachelor thesis, an innovative project of a desalination plant with integrated solar panels instead of a generator, therefore saving a lot of energy. In their free-time both students are part of a community awareness programme, promoting engineering among school children. They both think that there is an increased positive perception and appreciation of female engineers, a field that has been dominated by males worldwide. However, compared to male engineers, for some females it remains a challenge to find jobs after their studies. In future, Nawal would like to work in the academia and Sumaiya as an aircraft engineer.

In addition, to Sciences and Engineering, GUtech also offers Business programmes like International Business and Service Management (IBSM) and Logistics. Both programmes offer ample job opportunities in the rapidly growing service sector in the Gulf region. Fatima Al Salmi is studying in the 1st year BSc Logistics: “I liked Mathematics at school and that’s why I decided to study logistics. I think it is an important field and the future of Oman,” she said. To gain some practical experiences and to combine theory and practice, all students have to conduct internships during their studies.

GUtech offers BEng programmes in Process Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, Environmental Engineering and BSc programmes in Logistics, International Business and Service Management, Computer Sciences, Applied Geosciences, Urban Planning and Architectural Design. The language of tuition at GUtech is English.

Prestigious International Carbonate Course held at GUtech

HALBAN Carbonate rocks are widely distributed on Earth and are a fantastic window into Earth history and climate evolution. “They host huge reserves on oil, gas, and water, and were formed by organisms living millions of years ago. Therefore, they represent excellent archives for reconstructing the evolution of the Earth’s biosphere. Moreover even today’s climate is influenced by carbonate deposition, as carbonate formation has a high impact on the CO2 concentration of the atmosphere,” said Prof. Dr. Axel Munnecke, Geoscientist at the University of Erlangen, Germany. Research on carbonate rocks therefore attracts geologist from both industry and universities worldwide. “Our vision is to connect theory and practise. Therefore, GUtech is honoured to host the prestigious course which is usually held in Germany,” said Prof. Dr. Ing. Michael Modigell, Rector of GUtech.

Prof. Munnecke is currently conducting the famous International Carbonate Course together with Prof. Dr. Michaela Bernecker (GUtech) and Prof. Dr. Frank Mattern (SQU) at the Department of Applied Geosciences at GUtech. The course usually takes place at the University of Erlangen. During the one-week course inside the GUtech geosciences laboratory the students study the one of a kind carbonate thin section collection in order to understand the production and sedimentation of carbonate rocks, as well as their later alteration. For this purpose, the so-called “thin sections” are investigated using microscopes. Thin sections are polished carbonate rock samples that have been glued to a glass plate and ground down to a thickness of about 30 µm so that they become translucent and can be investigated in detail with a microscope. The students have the unique possibility to study together with the renowned experts thin sections from modern environments to rocks almost half a billion years old, from shallow- to deep-water environments, and from polar regions to the equator. The aim of the course is to train the students in describing, classifying, and interpreting these samples. Moreover, one day before the indoor sessions started the scientist went on a field workshop to the Saiq Plateau in Jebel Al Akhdar. At this place the researchers studied the famous Permian coral reefs, which are about 260 Million years old, and represent an important window into Earth’s history.

Up to today, this unique course has been conducted in various countries worldwide such as Nigeria, Egypt, Greece, China and Austria. So far already more than 2000 students and professionals in the fields of geosciences, petroleum geosciences, and hydrogeology have attended this course.


Geological field-workshop on Jabel Akdhdar

Together with colleagues from Oman and Germany, the Department of Applied Geosciences of GUtech conducted a field workshop on Jabal Akhdar’s Saiq Plateau last weekend. The group of geoscientists were from FAU Germany, FU Berlin, GUtech, SQU and PDO. Several German geoscientists are currently conducting seminars and lectures at GUtech.

Pictured are (from left to right) Prof Axel Munnecke, Dr. Frank Mattern, Prof. Ekkehard Holzbecher, Prof. Michaela Bernecker, Lukas Reuss, Dr. Husam Al Rawahi and (in front) Katharina Scharf, Dr. Ivan Callegari, Prof. Anette Regelous and Ali Al Hajri.

“I always wanted to know more about university life” – school students at GUtech

A group of seven students are currently conducting their work and study experience days at GUtech. During four days the students are familiarized with life on campus. They visit various academic departments such as the Departments of Maths and Sciences, Engineering, Computer Sciences and Applied Geosciences. The students have the opportunity to meet with professors and interns from Germany and they attend lectures and meet with GUtech students.

For all high school students it is the first time at a university. “We had a Physics lecture, English and Engineering. I am glad to be here. I always wanted to know more about university life,” said Fira Colderia while adding that the lectures are still difficult for her. She is now planning to choose her science subjects for A-level at school. “The days at university are much longer than at school,” said Tamar Haddein. All students are highly interested in sciences. Fira would like to study geosciences or architecture in future, while Tamar and his friend Harris would like to study Mechanical Engineering. The other students showed interest in Computer Sciences and Mathematics. Only one student said that he did not know yet what to study.

GUtech offers Bachelor of Engineering and Bachelor of Science programmes in Applied Geosciences, Computer Sciences, Mechanical Engineering, Process Engineering, Environmental Engineering, Logistics, International Business and Service Management, Urban Planning and Architectural Design. All programmes are taught in English and internationally accredited by ACQUIN.