Applied Geosciences excursion through Germany

MUSCAT The Department of Applied Geosciences (AGEO) at the German University of Technology in Oman (GUtech), recently conducted a two weeks international excursion to Germany with a group of 12 students, their professor and an assistant. The study-trip is part of the AGEO curricula, with its main goal to learn more about the geology of Germany and the regional development of the region between the cities of Aachen and Cologne. “The students had to familiarize themselves with different aspects of applied geology such as the development of natural resources or the usage of ground- and sub-surface water in the lower Rhine district. With a focus on the presentation of thermal springs, coal and base metal deposits as well as volcanic rocks, we give the students an overview of geological topics that cannot be presented here in Oman,” said Prof. Dr. Wilfried Bauer, who headed the excursion.

In the second part of the excursion the students learnt more about the socio-economic development of a region, that developed from an industrial area based on lignite and coal mining region to a more diversified economy today. The group visited the geological garden and the mining museum in Bochum in the heart of the former mining district along the Ruhr river. “Although coal mining will be closed at the end of this year, the production of steel and other metals will continue with cheaper imported energy resources since the skills and know how is still there.” said Prof. Dr. Bauer, who is specialized in the mining sector.

The students visited different German cities like Cologne, Bochum, Xanten, Aachen and Spa in Belgium. At GUtech’s partner-university, RWTH Aachen University, they were welcomed by the international office and informed about Master and PhD programmes and they had the opportunity to attend a lecture in the MSc programme in Applied Geosciences. In recent years, several GUtech students have conducted their research for a Bachelor project at RWTH Aachen or pursued their MSc studies in the Geosciences department. “We continuously need to maintain our excellent links to universities in Germany and in other European countries. This collaboration and cooperation is the best way to link our young Omani graduates with the international research community,” said Prof. Wilfried Bauer.

(c) GUtech/Prof. Dr. Wilfried Bauer and Dr. Manuela Gutberlet

 

GUtech and OPAL sign MoU to set up a Road Safety, Transportation, and Mobility Lab

The German University of Technology in Oman (GUtech) and the Oman Society for Petroleum Services (OPAL) have joined hands to establish a Road Safety, Transportation, and Mobility Lab, the first new Research & Development facility in Oman, where cutting-edge technologies will be deployed and innovative solutions will be proposed and implemented to solve the challenges of road safety, transportation, and mobility in Oman and ultimately create related business opportunities.

To this end, a memorandum of understanding (MoU) setting out the terms of a collaborative and ambitious partnership was signed by the two parties on Sunday, at GUtech campus in Halban.

The agreement was signed by the Rector of GUtech, Prof. Dr.-Ing. Michael Modigell, and OPAL CEO, Musallam Al Mandhari. The signing ceremony was also attended by representatives from OPAL, including Ramesh Sivathanu, QHSE Executive Manager; Abdulla al Sinani, Acting Communications Executive Manager; and Turkiya al Adawi, L&D Manager. From GUtech, representatives included OES CEO, Dr. Hussain Al Salmi; Dr. Nafaa Jabeur, Head of Computer Science Department; Dr. Nabil Sahli, member of Computer Science Department; and Heiderose Moossen, Manager of Vocational Training and Industry Relations.

The initiative stems from OPAL commitment to increase awareness about road safety. “OPAL is delighted to partner with GUtech in this Lab which will act as a research and development hub for educational institutions in the fields of mobility, transportation, and road safety research” Commented Musallam Al Mandhari.

The Road Safety, Transportation, and Mobility Lab will be headed by Dr. Nafaa Jabeur. The lab will be located on GUtech Campus, and open for research initiatives by GUtech students and researchers, as well as third parties interested in developing and testing their ideas in collaboration with GUtech.

Throughout its ten years of operation, GUtech has always endeavored to collaborate with the industry to develop its research capacity. Michael Modigell, GUtech Rector, said “GUtech and OPAL are committed to carry out studies and research on road traffic and transportation conditions, produce scientifically treated data analytics, and propose effective solutions to problems being faced in Oman”

“GUtech will mobilise its research capacity to contribute in scientific research that aims to reduce Road Traffic Crashes, produce and analyse mobility and transportation statistics, identify related KPIs, and benchmark local performance against international standards” elaborated Nafaa Jabeur. 

Both parties are highly interested to contribute to the international reputation of Oman as a country with a high level of traffic safety on Oman’s Roads, and to support the economic growth of the country by contributing to research and development activities for a sustainable and effective mobility and transportation solutions and services within Oman.  

GUtech offers internationally accredited Bachelor degree programmers in Engineering, Urban and Architectural Design, Logistics, International Business and Service Management, Applied Geosciences and Computer Science.  A new suite of masters has recently been added to its portfolio, including Master of Science in Computer Science, Applied Geosciences, and a Master of Business Administration.

The Oman Society for Petroleum Services (OPAL) is the first society in Oman’s Petroleum Industry to be officially approved and established in the sultanate. It is a non-profit organization, which is also the industry forum society for Oman’s Petroleum Industry.

 

A textile block construction by UPAD students

HALBAN Each year, the Department of Urban Planning and Architectural Design (UPAD) at GUtech aims to give students the opportunity to realize a small building. Last year students built a small tower from prefabricated rammed earthen blocks. “The goal is that they understand the construction in more depth and to see the consequences of their design. This year’s project by 2nd year students began with an investigation of local facades and the materiality of these shells – especially the ubiquitous cement block. The cement block has a mixed relationship with architecture: while practical and inexpensive, it is in most applications rather uninspired and monotonous,” said Wayne Switzer, Lecturer in the Department of Urban Planning and Architectural Design (UPAD) at GUtech. The students have challenged this idea by designing their own blocks, applying their understanding of form and relief to represent the cement block as a “Textile Block” – a permeable, versatile module worthy of a closer look.

Students were responsible for the entire production and construction process – from making formworks, mixing cement, casting and then mortaring the modules, the students were involved. “This is quite unusual for architecture students in Oman. The process was done on campus in the small workshop beside the GUtech Eco-Haus. The free-standing sculpture that is now on display in front of the department exhibits the variety of forms developed by the students and also functions as a housing for a projector.” Said Wayne Switzer.

Wayne Switzer is a Lecturer in the Department of Urban Planning and Architectural Design. Wayne brings firsthand knowledge in heading such projects, having led a number of international workshops focused on building with local materials. These workshops, often involving local communities provided him the valuable experience of how to implement innovative ideas through an understanding of local context. He previously held a teaching position at the Swiss Federal Technical Institute (ETH Zürich) where he specialised in contemporary earthen construction.

 

 

STUDENTS TO PARTICIPATE IN SHELL ECO-MARATHON 2019

Shell Oman, together with GUtech and Caledonian College of Engineering signed an ‘Agreement of Commitment’ for the institutions’ participation in next year’s Shell Eco-marathon, one of the worlds’ leading energy efficiency competition. The competition requires engineering students from around the world to design, engineer, and build energy efficient vehicles to be tested during the Eco-marathon, determining whose vehicle can go the distance on limited amounts of fuel. GUtech Professor and Deputy Rector for Academic Affairs, Dr. Armin Eberlein, Caledonian Professor Dr. Ahmed Hassan Al-Bulushi, Shell’s Country Chairman in Oman Chris Breeze, and Shell Oman Marketing Company CEO Mohammed Mahmood Al Balushi all signed the agreement.

Chris Breeze, Shell Country Chairman in Oman said, “We are excited to be signing this agreement with both GUtech, and Caledonian and look forward to their participation in the Shell Eco-marathon. There is a lot of growing talent and innovation in Oman and through their involvement in the Shell Eco-marathon, students are gaining experiences they may not get in the classroom, but more importantly, they are realizing the power they have to make a change and their roles as participants working towards global energy solutions. It is our responsibility as energy leaders, to not only work towards solutions amongst ourselves, but to mentor and inspire our youth, who will inherit the world, and who want to make it better.”

Mohammed Mahmood Al Balushi, CEO of Shell Oman Marketing Company stated, “Shell Eco-marathon provides an opportunity for the new generation of innovative leaders from Oman to engage in a global dialogue on the future of energy transition and sustainable mobility. This initiative is meant to inspire innovative thinking and creativity which are embedded in the way Shell Oman operates.”

Students compete with over 100 students from nearly 20 countries throughout Asia and the Middle East. Participants take their vehicles to the track in the Mileage Challenge to see which vehicle can compete to go the farthest on the least amount of fuel. In preparation of the competition, students are challenged to design, build and test energy-efficient cars, pushing the boundaries of what is technically possible.

“We are privileged to have Shell’s support for GUtech’s participation in the Shell Eco-marathon over the past 5 years. The program has made a significant impact to our teams, allowing us to refine and improve our designs from year to year. As a result, we were the best team from Oman in last year’s Eco-marathon Asia, achieving 3rd place amongst the Diesel engines,” said Dr. Armin Eberlein.

The 2019 Shell Eco-marathon will be GUtech’s 5th consecutive year and Caledonians 3rd year to participate. In 2015 the GUtech team was the first team from Oman to participate in the final competition in Manila, they were fifth in the diesel category. In 2018, GUtech finished taking third place in the prototype diesel category and a commendable 17th place out of 30 in the prototype internal combustion class.

 

GUtech celebrates staff and students – the Achievements Award Ceremony

HALBAN The GUtech Achievement Awards were celebrated  in the amphitheater of the university on Monday evening. As a guest of honor, Ali Al Habsi, captain of the Oman Football Team and goalkeeper of the Saudi Club Al-Hilal, distributed some awards to GUtech students.

“This year was an exceptional year. Today we are acknowledging the success story of GUtech students and staff members. We are proud of all of you. We wish you a successful future,” said Dr. Hussain Al Salmi, Vice-Rector for Administration and Finances at GUtech. The students were awarded in the following categories: Top study achievers, who had a GPA above 3.5 and those who have been participating in extra-curricular activities, such as student clubs, the Student Council, Student Advisory Council, students volunteering activities as well as those who were involved in various sports competitions. In addition, GUtech staff members who have been working at the university for four or 10 years were awarded as well as those who showed exceptional additional involvement in the university life.

Step2Future – A Successful Transnational Educational Project between RWTH Aachen University and GUtech in Oman

HALBAN The “Step2Future” project between German University of Technology in Oman (GUtech) and RWTH Aachen University (Germany) has been launched in 2017 to strengthen the German-Omani relationship on academic, industrial and cultural level. Step2Future is intended to be a transnational educational project and as such it is funded by the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD).

“Since the beginning, we have supported GUtech in the establishment of its structures and processes in alignment to RWTH Aachen University’s standards. Our common approach has allowed both universities to develop their knowledge of higher education in a sound way”, said Professor Dr.-Ing. Robert Schmitt, Director of the Laboratory for Machine Tools and Production Engineering WZL of RWTH Aachen University and project leader of the Step2Future project. Professor Schmitt has been has been supporting GUtech since its foundation. Since July 2008, he is RWTH Aachen University’s Rector’s Delegate for the cooperation with the Arab Gulf States, in particular GUtech. Together with his project team, he visited GUtech this February for the project’s kick-off. He and his partners from RWTH Aachen University are currently working together at and with GUtech.

The RWTH-GUtech project succeeds the “Step2Go” project (2013-2017) and the “GUtech Quality Management System” project (2007-2012) that were set up to offer GUtech study-programmes aligned with German quality standards as well as to offer continuous education for GUtech academic staff. Therefore, “Step2Go” has been promoting the implementation of new innovative organizational structures as well as new teaching and research methods at GUtech. The Step2Future project is directly connected to the objectives of the previous projects. However, now further improvements regarding the intra- and inter-university communication structures and the public visibility of the German-Omani partnership as well as German engineering values are in focus.

For more detailed information on the project, please visit www.step2future.rwth-aachen.de and get in touch with the project team.

Photo: The Rectorate of GUtech along with Prof. Dr. Robert Schmitt and team members of the Step2Future project during the kick-off meeting in Halban.

Promoting Excellence – The Oman Association for Quality in Higher Education held a workshop at GUtech

HALBAN Under the auspices of H.E. Dr. Abdullah Mohammed Al Sarmi, Undersecretary of the Ministry of Higher Education, The Oman Association for Quality in Higher Education conducted a launch event on the international accreditation of higher education institutions at the German University of Technology in Oman (GUtech). More than 100 experts in the field of accreditation and quality assurance participated in the unique one day workshop.

In recent years, many institutions in the GCC have established a quality center or a quality assurance department. In Oman the Oman Accreditation Authority was founded in 2010. Initially it was named Oman Accreditation Council, founded in 2001. “The international or national accreditation has been creating awareness on quality in higher education. One of the challenges is to balance the tension between accountability and independence of the institution,” said Dr. Narimane Hadj Hamou, Founder and CEO of the Centre for Learning Innovations and Customised Knowledge Solutions (CLICKS) based in the UAE. Dr Narimane gave a talk on Accreditation in the GCC Region: Developments, Challenges and Future Opportunities”. She stressed that it is important to consider the creation of a GCC ‘think tank’ that will work on a common GCC framework to establish joint standards promoting for example student mobility in all GCC countries. “The accreditation is a commitment to quality. It is not a specific task but a continuous quality improvement. The accreditation is important to attract the best students and to find the best faculty members.” Said Dr. Ali Al Badi, Associate Dean for Postgraduate Studies and Research at Sultan Qaboos University (SQU).

In addition, the accreditation encourages and supports ethical behaviour by students, faculty, administrators and professional staff. It enhances a positive work environment. “It promotes a collegiate environment while trying to respond to current and emerging corporate social responsibility issues,” said Dr. Hatem El Masri, Director of Quality Assurance and Accreditation Office at the College of Business, University of Bahrain. Such social responsibility issues include diversity, sustainability development, environmental sustainability and globalization at large. The accreditation also includes aspects regarding intellectual contributions from academics as well as student, academic and professional engagements for example through guest lectures. The AACSB (Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business) is mission-driven, it is based on principles rather than on rules. According to Dr. Hatem the AACSB accreditation is the largest and most widely recognised business accreditation in the world, more than 780 accredited schools worldwide.

The Accreditation Board for Engineering and Technology (ABET) supports technical education worldwide. “This accreditation is a proof that a programme has met essential standards that are valid worldwide to produce graduates that are ready to enter the critical fields of applied sciences, computing, engineering and engineering technology” said Dr. Nabil El Kadhi, Vice Chancellor of the University of Buraimi. During the closing session the board members of OAQHE said that further joint meetings and events are planned in the near future.

At GUtech all BEng and BSc study-programmes are accredited by the Oman Accreditation Council and by ACQUIN, an international accreditation agency based in Germany.

Caption: Group photo with HE. Dr. Abdullah Mohammed Al Sarmi, Undersecretary of the Ministry of Higher Education (center) and Prof Dr. Armin Eberlein, Vice Rector for Academic Affairs at GUtech (center) along with the board members of The Oman Association for Quality in Higher Education.

© GUtech / Text: Dr. Manuela Gutberlet; Photos: Umaima Al Zadjali

 

 

 

The German Minister of State of the Federal Foreign Office visits GUtech

HALBAN H.E. Niels Annen, the Minister of State of the Federal Foreign Office and member of the German Bundestag and his accompanying delegation has visited the German University of Technology in Oman (GUtech) today afternoon. They were welcomed by Prof. Dr. Armin Eberlein, Vice-Rector for Academic Affairs, Prof. Dr. Michael Jansen, Founding Rector of GUtech and Claudia Schmidt, Representative of the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) as well Dr. Manuela Gutberlet (PR Manager). The delegation had a tour around the campus and visited the GUtech Eco-House. During their visit they discussed the German-Omani cooperation in the field of higher education and how to enhance this cooperation.

© Text: GUtech/ Dr. Manuela Gutberlet; Photo: Umaima Al Zadjali

Celebrating Diversity and Talents – An International Day at GUtech

HALBAN An international cultural day was held at GUtech on Tuesday. The event included a ‘Global Village Bazaar’ with games, exhibitions and food from various European, Asian and Latin American. The event was organized by the English Club and the International Student Club. The GUtech English Club held a talent show with music performances in the afternoon. The International Night included songs in various languages and music composed by GUtech students, Sri Lankan and Bangladeshi dance performances as well as a karate performance and an international fashion show.

“Universities tend to be the most diverse places,” said Dr. Armin Eberlein, Vice-Rector for Academic Affairs at GUtech during his welcome speech. “Inter-cultural intelligence including cross-cultural understanding and the ability to engage with the world at large is becoming more and more important in today’s globalized world” he said. The Vice-Rector added that the curiosity for study-programmes often extends to more curiosity about other cultures and ways of living. Last year 134 GUtech students were sponsored by the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD). They attended workshops, excursions or conducted their Bachelor thesis at German universities. GUtech students come from 23 different countries and 24 different nationalities work at GUtech.

© Text: GUtech / Dr. Manuela Gutberlet; Photo: GUtech/ Aysha Farooq

Creating new city districts – Students from the British School Muscat experience life at GUtech

HALBAN Designing a future district of Muscat that was the task given to five high school students on the first day of their work and study experience days at GUtech. In the department of Urban Planning and Architectural Design the students got some insights about the work of architects and urban planners. Within a few hours the students developed their own models of future city districts and they presented their ideas to a small jury of staff members. “What the students have learnt today is to realize a diversity of designs. We give them the freedom to use their ideas to create their own designs and develop the areas where they thing that should be new features for all society – within “Muscat – future city”, said Petrit Pasha, Lecturer in the Department of Urban Planning and Architectural Design who supervised the school students.

All students integrated renewable energy resources in their urban models. They realised a mix of residential, work and leisure areas all located close by the sea and they. Shabrina Wiendrarko who won the competition introduced two main opponents, Oman as a Tourism hub and Hydro Energy. She thought of a hotel resort and hydroelectric power generation beside the sea. Jeffery Oguni designed a futuristic style of houses connected by several bridges. He also included houses made of so-called ‘solar bricks’ that store solar energy. Zidan Rafliansyah integrated solar panels on roof tops to decrease CO2 emissions and pollution. He also integrated public parks and office buildings with a view to the sea. Rokhy Musthofa created a model with high-rise buildings and a seaside promenade shaped like an Omani khanjar. Rafif Suwardoyo thought about electromagnetic trains used as public transportation, public swimming pools and other social activity buildings such a University and a sports hall. The students said that they wish to present their urban ideas to their school colleagues in the coming weeks.

For all students it is their first experience at a university. During three days at GUtech the school students are familiarized with different departments, study-programmes and the overall student life on campus. “The aim of the Year 10 Work Experience is to give the students an insight into the real world of work and develop their personal, social skills and confidence. It allows students to learn about the different roles and structures within an organisation. At the same time it is a unique opportunity to learn more about themselves and discover what really interest them by finding out about different occupations and job groups. This will allow to develop future career plans and enhance their career aspirations,” said Ajay Khushalbhaia, student counselor at the British School Muscat. The second day they will be in the Engineering department and the third day in the Department of Applied Geosciences and they will get a chance to attend the international event at GUtech in the afternoon.

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

(c) GUtech / Text & Photo: Dr. Manuela Gutberlet and Petrit Pasha