Fostering creativity and entrepreneurship among GUtech students

HALBAN GUtech students of the Department of International Business and Service Management will display their results of the ‘Entrepreneurship and Innovation course’ during an exhibition entitled “Fikra – The Secret of Getting Ahead is Getting Started” on Sunday, 5th of January. ‘Fikra’ is the Arabic word for ‘idea’. Throughout the course, students were asked to create innovative ideas for websites, manufacturing and for food & beverage businesses. “Our course aims to introduce students to various aspects of starting a business with a focus on the support of the Omani ecosystem for start-up companies. Our course includes finding innovative, new business ideas, linking creativity, innovation and entrepreneurship, developing a business model, writing a business plan and presenting the final project to fellow students and professors,” said Prof. Dr. Osman Barghouth, Head of the Department of Logistics, Tourism and Service Management, who supervised the projects. The final presentation of their projects allows them to receive real feedback on their ideas. External guests from the Oman Academy of SMEs as well as from the local industry are invited to evaluate the student projects and to guide them to further develop their ideas. The exhibition will comprise three sections, divided according to a certain theme.

The student exhibition “Fikra – The Secret of Getting Ahead is Getting Started” is open to the general public and will run from 1:00 pm until 5:00 pm on 5 January.

German Poetry Competition and Learning about Christmas Traditions

HALBAN The German Language Unit (GLU) of GUtech has invited a group of students from Al Amal School in Barka to meet with GUtech students and learn more about Christmas traditions in Germany. The visit of Al Amal School to GUtech is part of GUtech’s continuous efforts to connect with the community in Oman. “Our GUtech students and students from Al Amal School were involved in a German poem competition. I am also very proud to welcome Lubna Al Balushi, an Omani poet, who has been writing German poems since she started to learn the language. Lubna accepted my invitation to read the first poem of her book to our students and staff,” said Dr. Florina Dauberschmidt, German Lecturer and Coordinator at the GUtech German Language Unit.

Among the winners of the poetry competition was Aisha Al Nasseri from Al Amal School, 12 grade. She wrote a poem about herself. “My mother encouraged me to write and it was a great experience to write in German,” she said while adding that she would like to study abroad, maybe in Germany and to become a medical doctor or a pilot later on. Arwa Al Farsi, Environmental Engineering Student at GUtech wrote a poem about the sea: “The sea is my favourite place to relax,” she said. “All poems of the students were really good, it was difficult for us to select the winners,” said Dr. Florina.

The German lecturers prepared different activities for the students. On various locations within the German Unit, the students used their different senses and learnt more about German traditions during Christmas time such as baking cookies, singing Christmas songs such as “Oh Tannenbaum” and smelling typical ‘Christmas spices’ used for various food preparations and throughout winter-time such as cinnamon and cardamom.

(c) GUtech / Text & Photo: Dr. Manuela Gutberlet & Umaima Al Zadjali



4th EU-GCC Business Forum held in Muscat: ‘Technology and Education’ and ‘Women in Technology’

GUtech participated in panel discussions on ‘Technology and Education’ and ‘Women in Technology’

MUSCAT Under the auspices of H.E. Dr. Ali Al Sunaidy, Minister of Commerce and Industry, the 4th EU-GCC Business Forum was held at the Conference and Exhibition Centre in Muscat on 11 December. The Business Forum was attended by the Undersecretary of the Ministry of Commerce, H.E. Dr. Ahmed Al Dheeb, as well as the Chairman of the Oman Chamber of Commerce, the EU Ambassador in the GCC and Ambassadors from EU countries including Germany and the GCC. From GUtech, Dr. Manuela Gutberlet, PR Manager and Alyaa Al Shanfari, GUtech alumna in BSc Computer Sciences and CEO of Beennova Oman, participated in a panel discussion on ‘Women in Technology’. Dr. Manuela Gutberlet also moderated the first panel discussion on ‘Technology and Education’.

“We had an inspirational discussion on the role of technology in education and that educators should be trained continuously and embrace technology as a life-long learning tool. Using new technologies can mean to leave the comfort zone, while empowering people in education to change, disrupt and teach differently. It was an enriching event and a great opportunity to meet business people and policy-makers from EU and GCC,” said Dr. Manuela Gutberlet. The panel on ‘Technology and Education’ included Claudia Massai, CEO of Siemens Oman as well as Sebastiano Toffaletti, Secretary-General of the European Digital SME Alliance and Mervi Jansson, CEO of Omnia Education Partnerships in Finland.

During the panel discussion on ‘Women in Technology’ different topics were discussed, e.g. on how to promote more women to lead as role-models in the field of Sciences, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM). Alyaa Al Shanfari, CEO of Beenova Oman and the founder of the Google Developer Group and advisor to the National Youth Commission shared her experiences in setting up her own business in Oman and in networking with others. “We also spoke about diversity at work, which includes not only women but various nationalities, educational backgrounds and age-groups. To empower more women in STEM, the introduction of a female quota in companies, institutions and universities is suggested along with a family-friendly work-environment with child day-care and more flexible working hours would help to promote and encourage more women to pursue their dream careers,” said Dr. Manuela Gutberlet. At GUtech the majority of the students studying STEM programmes are females, whereas in Europe many STEM programmes are male-dominated. 

Overall, the EU-GCC Business Forum was entitled “Technology as an enabler for future growth and prosperity” and served as a major platform for EU-GCC B2B engagement. It was held in cooperation with the GCC Secretariat, the Omani Ministry of Commerce and Industry, Ministry of Technology and Communications, Oman Supreme Council, Ithraa and Oman Chamber of Commerce and Industry and all GCC Chambers of Commerce. The main objectives of the EU-GCC Business Forum were to facilitate an open dialogue between EU and GCC stakeholders, to improve mutual understanding of business practices and policy processes, to facilitate information on business and investment opportunities in the GCC and in the EU, to allow the sharing of information and expert recommendations among businesses and policy-makers as well as to facilitate market access and business cooperation. Moreover, to provide EU and GCC companies with a platform to facilitate networking and encourage them to identify and establish new and lasting trade and investment opportunities and to create an opportunity for participants to share, discuss and learn from other policy and business success stories and best practices. 

(C) GUtech: Dr. Manuela Gutberlet

GUtech Commemorates 7th Anniversary of His Majesty Sultan Qaboos Visit

The German University of Technology in Oman (GUtech) commemorated on Tuesday 24th December the 7th anniversary of the visit of His Majesty Sultan Qaboos Bin Said to its campus.

The 24th of December marks the private visit of His Majesty Sultan Qaboos Bin Said to GUtech campus in Halban. The commemoration of the private visit of His Majesty is annually observed by GUtech community. Students and staff remember the day to reflect on the importance of the visit in GUtech’s history and on the vision of His Majesty the Sultan for Oman’s academic and research development.

In the late afternoon of December 24th, 2012, the founders of GUtech and members of the rectorate welcomed his majesty to GUtech campus and its facilities, few weeks only after its opening.

In visiting GUtech campus and meeting the founders and the rectorate, His Majesty confers upon it an unusual distinction. “We welcome His Majesty’s private visit to GUtech campus as a gracious expression of his trust in our university and a vital catalyser enticing us to work harder and faster for further progress” proudly declares Dr Hussain Al Salmi, Deputy Rector for Administration and Finance.

The significant and ever-lasting contributions His Majesty has made to Oman and to the lives of its people are universally known; not less impressive than the wise introduction of far-reaching reforms which has promoted the development of the education system, and the prosperity of the country in general.

As more as 3000 male and female students enrolled in the university in the last 12 years. More than 400 male and female students graduated from it while there are more than 2200 male and female students are currently pursuing their studies.

(c) GUtech/Text: Fatima El Madkouri

“Color is Life” – Designing a Mosque for the Local Community in Muscat

HALBAN Under the supervision of Mr Petrit Pasha and Mr Dawood Al Salmi and Ms. Sadmira Malaj, second-year students of the Department of Urban Planning and Architectural Design (UPAD) at the German University of Technology in Oman (GUtech), had the task to design a community mosque located in Muscat. Yesterday morning the group of 13 students presented their design ideas to a committee of UPAD professors and external architecture experts as well as to their fellow students.

UPAD student Shefa Al Zeidi presented the design of a colourful and open mosque for the community. “Color is life,” she said, inspired by one of her visual arts professors at GUtech. Her mosque features modern Islamic architecture from Yemen and Iran. The mosque includes a large courtyard for gatherings, as well as a Quran school, a library as well as a courtyard with a fountain and a Majlis area for men. “I like the idea behind her project. She was mainly concerned with the social aspect and gathering the community and especially females within the mosque area,” said Petrit Pasha.

Students Manal Al Bahrani, Lulwah Al Riyami and Khadija Al Sawafi designed a mosque just beside GUtech’s main campus. “We were inspired by the National Mosque in Malaysia and used the blue tiles,” said one of the students. The students used columns adopted from the Al Alam Palace in Old Muscat and Arabic patterns from the History of Science Museum on the GUtech campus. Arabic ‘mashrabiyas’ were used to filter the light. They also integrated soft features like a courtyard with a fountain and flowers, symbols of purity.

UPAD Student Hussain Al Lawati presented his model of a mosque named “Al Hadi Mosque” inspired by the design of an Iranian mosque with blue tiles and the mirhab (prayer niche), dome and minaret aligned in one symmetry. Ali Al Ajmi and Asila Al Busaidi designed a mosque for around 300 male and 50 female spaces having a futuristic design and shape. Their mosque includes a majlis area for men, a garden space and male prayer area with a carpet in blue and gold.

(c) GUtech/ Text & Photo: Dr. Manuela Gutberlet & UPAD Department

Start of the Double Degree MBA at GUtech

WU-GUtech MBA starts with the first batch of executives.

November 2019 marks the start of the double degree MBA by the German University of technology (GUtech) and the Vienna University for Economics and Business (WU).

Representing a diverse range of academic and professional experience, 19 executives have registered for the GUtech-WU MBA; The executives hail from different backgrounds and different business sectors including healthcare, the oil sector, the banking sector, and many more.

The GUtech-WU MBA programme is designed to enable executives to follow a unique professional development opportunity in Oman without the need to travel or take long periods off work said Dr. Heba Aziz the academic director of the MBA.

Modules are delivered once a month, over four days, from Thursday to Sunday. This format allows for less travel time to and from campus and provides a way for participants to bring newly gained knowledge immediately to the work environment. GUtech is currently accepting applications for the second intake.




New Research Explores the Infiltration of Flash Flood Water

Due to its arid and semi-arid climate, the Sultanate of Oman is suffering from scarcity of water. Therefore, it is important to capture water from floods before it discharges into the sea or evaporates. “Unfortunately, every year Oman loses 120 million m3 of freshwater as runoff to the sea, according to the Ministry of Regional Municipalities and Water Resources. In order to harvest flood water, around 50 recharge dams were built in Oman,” said Prof. Dr. Ekkehard Holzbecher, Professor for Hydrogeology at German University of Technology (GUtech), who has been leading a research project on flood management for several years. In order to measure the rate of infiltrating water, a field experiment is currently operated at the campus of GUtech. The experiment consists of a 100-meter long channel with one-meter width and depth. “An artificial flood is created by injecting water from a tanker. Several hi-tech sensors are installed in the soil and in the flowing water in order to estimate the amount of water, which infiltrates into the ground and which partially evaporates before reaching the deeper-lying groundwater reservoir (aquifer). Moreover, the flow rate is measured in the inlet and the outlet of the channel,” said Prof. Holzbecher. The experiment is funded by a GUtech seed grant and supervised by Prof. Dr Ekkehard Holzbecher and Dr. Ahmed Hadidi of the Applied Geoscience Department (AGEO) at GUtech. As part of their team project course, fourth-year students of the AGEO Department are involved as well. 


The Rector of GUtech Met with the Vice-President of the German Bundestag

The Rector of the German University of Technology in Oman (GUtech), Prof. Dr. Ing. Michael Modigell, had the honour to meet with the Vice-President of the German Bundestag (Parliament), H.E. Thomas Oppermann at the German Bundestag (Parliament) in Berlin last week. They both discussed ways to further enhance the cooperation between GUtech and various stakeholders in Germany. “I was very pleased to meet with the Vice-President for the second time last week. We had a very good conversation on various topics related to our young, fast-growing university,” said Prof. Modigell.

The Vice-President of the Bundestag and an accompanying delegation visited GUtech in October 2018. During that visit, the Vice-President also met with two exchange students from RWTH Aachen University and with members of the GUtech Student Council.

(c) GUtech/ Text: Dr. Manuela Gutberlet


GUtech Students Participated in ‘Design Thinking Course’ in Germany

For the first time, a group of twelve Logistics students from the German University of Technology in Oman (GUtech) has participated in a ‘Design Thinking Course’ held together with one of GUtech’s partner-universities in Germany, Neu-Ulm University of Applied Sciences. “The course prepared our Logistics students to work in interdisciplinary, multi-cultural teams and to understand the logistics processes within a company. The students worked with German students in the offices of the company Fischer Verkaufsfahrzeuge (Sales Vehicles) in Neu-Ulm, located in the South of Germany. Fischer Sales Vehicles Company is a family-owned company, specialized in manufacturing different types of food vehicles and according to individual customer requirements. The vehicles are used as food trucks or to sell cooled products like meat, fish or vegetables at local markets in Europe. The students analysed manufacturing, storage and customer service processes at Fischer and developed prototypes that contributed to improve the overall quality management. We are very grateful for this fruitful cooperation with Neu-Ulm University of Applied Sciences and with Fischer Sales Vehicles,” said Prof. Dr. Tobias Buer, Head of Logistics at GUtech while adding that the students worked on prototype vehicles that were presented to employees, the upper management and external experts from the Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

“Since it was my first visit to Germany, it was a great opportunity. Along with our German fellow students, we implemented the ‘design thinking phases’, starting from understanding the problem to the integration of a suitable solution. We decided to launch an application that manages different versions of engineering drawings and which keeps them updated immediately and other features as well,” said Sara Al Rashdia, GUtech Logistics student in the 3rd year. During the Logistics course, the students learnt a lot about the culture, the people and higher education in Germany. “We faced some challenges while communicating with the company’s employees because the large majority spoke German only. But we managed to succeed with the help of some German colleagues. After having worked within a group, we now understand how important group work is for the success of a project,” said Sara Al Rashdia.

(c) GUtech text and photo: Dr. Manuela Gutberlet and Prof Dr. Tobias Buer


GUtech Students Visited RWTH Aachen University and Other Research Institutes in Germany

To learn more about Computer Sciences in Europe, a group of 14 students conducted a two-week excursion to different universities and research institutions in Germany. “This annual excursion is very important for our students as it helps them to get familiar with the German educational system and to strengthen our links with RWTH Aachen University. Students have the chance to visit state-of-the-art laboratories and may decide later on to conduct their master thesis in one of these labs,” said Prof. Dr. Nabil Sahli, Head of the Department of Computer Science at GUtech. The excursion was sponsored by the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD).

The students and their two professors visited GUtech’s partner-university RWTH Aachen University where they had an introduction to the 5G Application Lab and the Virtual Reality Lab. The group also visited the Fab Lab at Siegen University, as well as different Computer Science laboratories at the Institute of Technology in Karlsruhe, the Fraunhofer Institute in Bonn and the University of Hasselt in Belgium. “For the students, it is important to learn about the ongoing research projects as well as study-programmes at different high-ranking universities and institutes in Germany. Some students may conduct their final BSc projects at one of the universities visited or pursue their Master studies in Germany. The students acquired more knowledge about studying in Germany and the different Master programmes on offer,” said Dr. Sharifa Al Khanjari, Senior Lecturer at the Department of Computer Science at GUtech.

Caption: GUtech students and their lecturers at RWTH Aachen University.

(c) GUtech/ Text and Photo: Dr. Manuela Gutberlet & Dr. Sharifa Al Khanjari