Greening Omani Wadi Beds – An Omani-German Student Project

HALBAN A group of Urban Planning and Architectural Design students from GUtech have conducted a joint urban planning project with twelve students from the University of Technology in Dortmund (TU Dortmund) in Germany, Department of Spatial Planning. During the two week project the students have developed a water sensitive urban design and a sustainable water management system in the capital Muscat. The project was supervised by Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Scholz, Fly-in professor at GUtech and Professor at the University of Technology in Dortmund (Germany).

“Our main research question was regarding „how to integrate wadis as green public spaces into the urban structure of Muscat considering a sustainable water management and a flood protection concept. Our aims were to create a ‘Green Concept’ for the Greater Muscat Area in order to overcome the separation of neighbourhoods and to connect these neighbourhoods with each other through public green spaces within wadi beds, while making use of huge undeveloped urban areas. In addition, as a strategic approach the so-called wadi parks could replace the neighbourhood parks and create more building land in future. Moreover, a sustainable water management and flood protection system could be integrated along with flood protection measures,” said Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Scholz.

As part of the study-project the group of Omani and German students conducted various field visits to wadi Al Khoud and wadi Al Khuweir. A total of 12 urban planning proposals for creating public parks, while respecting the flood protection and low level interventions as well as the danger of destruction after a sudden flash flood during the winter months. A total of five expert interviews were conducted by the students including experts from the Botanical Garden, the Directorate of Gardens at the Ministry of Housing, the Ministry of Environment and Water Resources and Haya Water. In addition, the students conducted a questionnaire survey with inhabitants of Al Khoud and Al Khuwair and a total of 300 interviews with the local community in both areas.

Finally, the results were presented during a two-day workshop at GUtech last week. The results included shaded sitting areas and playgrounds at the fringes of the wadi and in protected areas as well as low-cost interventions in the wadi bed itself that serve as sport fields, jogging lanes and walkways. The aim was to  keep the wadi as natural as possible while protecting its functional and aesthetic aspects. The results are open to the public and interested researchers. For more details kindly contact: Wolfgang.scholz@gutech.edu.om

© GUtech/ Text: Dr. Manuela Gutberlet and Prof. Dr. Wolfgang Scholz; Photos: GUtech/ UPAD Department

Photovoltaic Training Course to Boost Oman’s Renewable Energy Sector

Halban A five-day solar photovoltaic course was held at the German University of Technology in Oman (GUtech) last week. Oman’s Distribution Code Review Panel (DCRP) officially certified this technical training course. Over twenty participants from the industry, energy distribution companies and the academia (including Engineering professors from GUtech) were enrolled in the course. The course was one of four different courses currently offered by Shams Global Solutions (SGS), in partnership with Solar Energy International (SEI).

“Through our course, we are aiming to fulfil the objective of preparing locals to take up important roles in the renewable energy sector. The Shams training programme covers fundamental aspects that enhance the knowledge and capabilities of individuals and professionals,” said Dr. Firas Al-Abduwani, Co-Founder of Shams Global Solutions.

The PV101: Solar Electric Design and Installation course was developed by SEI, a photovoltaic technical training organization with over 55,000 alumni worldwide, and localized by SGS, a local Omani company offering educational and training services on sustainability. “It is a pleasant moment to realize the project and offer the first professional solar training in Oman.  The success of the training can be noticed from the motivation of the participants who have showed their interest to join our other training levels in the near future. The class was full and we have got many applications for the upcoming training. It is our honour to be one of the first participants in the capacity building of Oman in Renewable Energy Field.”

“The course gave us a strong introduction into the design and installation of solar photovoltaic power systems, including how to conduct solar site analyses, to understand equipment specifications, to correct cabling and mounting requirements, as well as the inverter selection, the interface protection and safety. We are looking forward to the other three courses SGS is offering in Oman,” said Ali Al Humairi, Lecturer in the Department of Computer Sciences at GUtech.

“It is a pleasant moment to see that we have realized the project and to offer the first professional solar training in Oman.  The success of the training can be noticed from the motivation of the participants who have showed their interest to join our other training levels in the near future. The class was full and we have got many applications for the upcoming training. It is our honour to be one of the first participants in the capacity building of Oman in Renewable Energy Field,” said Prof. Dr. Najah Al Mhanna, Head of the Engineering Department at GUtech.

In addition, the PV101 course, SGS will provide lab/field-based courses and advanced theory courses on grid-tied photovoltaic systems. Just recently they broke ground and started construction on a nine kW outdoors training facility at GUtech that is being sponsored by BP Oman.

 

Twenty scientists from the German Geological Society explore Oman´s mountains, deserts and coasts

MUSCAT Twenty members of the German Geological Society from various universities and research institutions are currently visiting the Sultanate of Oman. The German Geological Society runs the expedition the fifth time. The idea to run fieldtrips and expeditions around Oman is based on the good cooperation between the German University of Technology in Oman (GUtech) and leading Universities of Technology in Germany. Prof. Dr. Gösta Hoffmann from the University of Bonn is the leading scientist of the current expedition. He has been teaching and researching at GUtech for many years and he is the main author of a recently published book on the Geology of Oman: “For me it is a pleasure to invite my colleagues to visit Oman. It is such a beautiful country where certain rock formations allow us to understand how our planet works. Such places are unique in the world and most of them easily accessible in Oman. For example, the country is blessed to offer the opportunity to study the transition between different layers of the Earth. Usually these rocks are not to be found on the surface but they are in Oman.” Furthermore, Prof. Hoffmann lined out that Oman has a very rich archaeological record. This proofs the very long history of the country.

“The benefits to come to Oman and explore the mountains, deserts and coasts are that Oman is a safe country and the geology is spectacular,” said Prof Dr. Martin Meschede, President of the Umbrella Organisation of Geosciences (Dachverband Geowissenschaften, DVGeo). The German Geological Society (Deutsche Geologische Gesellschaft – Geologische Vereinigung: DGGV) has about 3,600 members from universities, industry, and private economy.

Prof. Dr. Martin Meschede pointed out that a trustful local partner is necessary to operate such fieldtrips: “The logistic part of the trip is organised by Golden Highlands. This company has a long experience in conducting these trips for us.” In addition, in a joint effort, the participants of the field excursion together with the local partners from Golden Highlands cleaned the beach at Ras Ruawais in Ash Sharqiyah region from garbage left behind by other visitors. “It is our ambition to keep the country clean so that our visitors go back home with positive impressions. It was a memorable experience to run this clean-up as a joint effort with German professors,” said Mansoor al Shabibi the CEO of Golden Highlands while adding: “We plan to clean other places with other groups in the future. One of the most beautiful places is Wadi al Abbyad. We will also check the situation in Ras Ruwais and clean again in the future if necessary.” Prof. Martin adds that the situation already improved a lot:” When we first visited the place a couple of years ago, it was much worse.” Prof Gösta concluded that it is worth working together to preserve Oman´s natural wonders for future generations.

Ends

 

Group photo: Twenty members of the German Geological Society from various universities and research institutions are currently visiting the Sultanate of Oman. The group is headed by Prof. Dr. Gösta Hoffmann, Geoscientist at University of Bonn.

 

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New MSc programme in Applied Geosciences – focus on hydrogeology, hydrocarbons and minerals

HALBAN The German University of Technology in Oman (GUtech) will launch a part-time Master’s programme in Applied Geosciences in September this year. “The programme in Oman focuses on an area which is of key importance to the region’s present and future: Energy, water and mineral resources. A strong emphasis is placed on the employability of our graduates. Many elements of the programme will be accomplished in cooperation with local and international partners from universities in Europe, e.g. RWTH Aachen University and companies in the region” said Prof. Dr. Wilfried Bauer, Head of the Department of Applied Geosciences. The degree programme will be taught in English, including written and oral tests, seminar papers and the Master thesis. The programme may offer the opportunity to travel to Europe to complete coursework at RWTH Aachen or any other University in Germany.

“Numerous mineral resources have been found in Oman, such as copper, chromite, and manganese but the country has also vast resources of industrial minerals. Currently, more than 250 mining and quarrying operations are active; their production accounts for 33% of Oman’s total non-oil exports. In this booming environment, and taking into consideration that exploration for non-hydrocarbons is still at a very early stage, the job opportunities for graduates specialized in mineral resources are considered as very good,” said Prof. Wilfried, who is specialized in mining and who has taught in Germany and Madagascar and was active in geological mapping and exploration for the British Geological Survey and private companies.

Applied Geosciences graduates are also involved in the petroleum industry in the Middle East and elsewhere. This trend is likely to continue as advanced technology is needed to exploit this non-renewable resource. Well-trained and highly motivated geoscience specialists will be on demand, despite the recent economic downturn and the decreased oil prize.

Water is a highly important topic in water-scarce countries in the Gulf region. In Oman the water resources management is lead by the Ministry of Regional Municipalities and Water Resources (MRMWR). Moreover, big commercial activities, e.g. for oil and mining companies as well as large industrial producers, mostly have aspects related to water and thus require experts in that field.

The first three semesters focus on fundamental skills needed for Applied Geosciences in general and they give an overview of the three electives: minerals, water and hydrocarbons. Semester 4 and 5 will integrate the material presented earlier by focusing on advanced applications of these skills in the specialisation PGEO (petroleum geosciences), HGEO (hydrogeology) and MGEO (mineral geosciences). It is during this stage that students have to complete two project modules, including a practical project and the MSc project, either nationally or internationally.

(c) GUtech/Text: Dr. Manuela Gutberlet and Prof. Wilfried Bauer; Photo: GUtech/ AGEO Dep.

GUtech team succeeds in the Shell Eco-marathon Asia

HALBAN The GUtech team ‘Megalodon’ has successfully completed the Shell Eco-marathon Asia  in Singapore last Sunday. With a final result of 118.7km for one litre the GUtech team achieved the 3rd place in the diesel category, behind universities from Japan and the Philippines. The team also ranked 17th out of 30 in the Internal Combustion Engine (prototype ICE). Their challenge was to drive as long as possible while using only 1 litre of diesel fuel. “Overall, we achieved all that we had aimed for, which were to pass inspection and get a few runs on track. Our final attempt recorded 118.7km per litre was okay for us,” said Neeraj Krishnan, Mechanical Engineering student and the team leader.

The GUtech team was the only participating team from Oman after the team from Sultan Qaboos University (SQU) had pulled out their participation. Initially, the Megalodon team passed all technical inspections. The weight of the vehicle was 75kg without the driver Iman Al Maawali. The female GUtech Process Engineering student drove the GUtech eco-friendly car.

“The student team lead by Neeraj have done a great job and largely improved the efficiency of the vehicle compared to previous years,” said Prof. Dr. Emmanouil Bouzakis, Assistant Professor at the Department of Mechanical Engineering at GUtech. The material for the body of the car used was different than last year but with the same diesel engine.

The Megalodon team was sponsored by Shell Oman and GUtech.

GUtech’s Megalodon Team members:

Neeraj Krishnan (team manager)

Iman Al Maawali (driver)

Al Jaziya Al Nazwani (reserve driver)

Ahmed Al Amri (team member)

Ahmed Al Dhuhli (team member)

Ashwaq Al Harthi (team member)

Prof. Dr. Emmanouil Bouzakis, supervisor of the team

Caption: GUtech team Megalodon after the competition in Singapore

(c) Text: GUtech/ Dr. Manuela Gutberlet, Photo: GUtech/ Engineering Department

The GUtech team has dispatched their eco-friendly car to Singapore

HALBAN Six GUtech Engineering students of the team ‘Megalodon’ are currently preparing for the Asia Shell Eco-marathon to take place next week in Singapore. The GUtech students hope that their ideas and inventions can contribute to building lighter and eco-friendlier cars in future. Their newly developed car was shipped to Singapore a few days ago. Prior to the departure, the team members and their advising Engineering professor had time to speak about their month-long preparations and the special driving strategy that they will apply. The whole team started the project in November. For the second time an Omani female GUtech Process Engineering student, Iman Al Maawali, will drive the eco-friendly car. As in previous years the GUtech team will compete in the category prototype diesel, against more than 100 other student teams. Their challenge will be to drive as long as possible while using only 1 l of diesel.

“It is a great experience for us. I learnt more about building a car and how to improve its efficiency,” said 3rd year Process Engineering student Al Jaziya Al Nazwani, who worked long hours along with her team colleagues. She added: “I would like to work with Shell in future. The Eco-marathon is a good opportunity for us to learn more about Mechanical Engineering.” She was involved in manufacturing the chassis, the body of the car and the steering system. The material of the body and chassis is aluminium and carbon fibre. The GUtech team including three female students will participate for the fourth time in the Asian competition that was held in Singapore and Manila in previous years. Compared to the past years many features were improved. Dr. Emmanouil Bouzakis of the Engineering Department supervised and advised the team during their preparation for the Eco-Marathon. The GUtech Eco-marathon team is sponsored by Shell Oman and GUtech.

GUtech’s Megalodon Team members:

Neeraj Krishnan (team manager)

Iman Al Maawali (driver)

Al Jaziya Al Nazwani (reserve driver)

Ahmed Al Amri (team member)

Ahmed Al Dhuhli (team member)

Ashwaq Al Harthi (team member)

Ends

 

(c) GUtech/Dr. Manuela Gutberlet

GUtech signs MoU with Neu-Ulm University of Applied Sciences

HALBAN To enhance scientific and academic cooperation as well as cultural exchange, the German University of Technology in Oman (GUtech) has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Neu-Ulm University of Applied Sciences (HNU) in Germany on Tuesday. The MoU was signed by Prof. Dr. Uta M. Feser, President of HNU and Prof. Dr. Ing. Michael Modigell, Rector of GUtech.

The research activities and academic cooperation between both universities will focus on the field of International Business and Service Management (IBSM) and Logistics (LOG). The joint activities will include the exchange of faculty members, the exchange of students including internship opportunities as well as joint research and publications and the exchange of academic information and materials. “From the summer semester onwards, we are looking forward to sending up to three students per semester to HNU. In a first step, a group of our Logistics and IBSM students will be selected to study and conduct their internships at HNU. Last year one student from HNU studied for one semester at our Logistics Department,” said Prof. Dr. Heba Aziz, Head of the Department of Logistics, International Business and Service Management at GUtech.

“We at HNU educate managers and specialists who have an international experience and who are result-oriented,” said Prof. Dr. Uta Feser, President of HNU adding that cross-cultural communication and team work are important. “We train our students to work in teams, while fostering the application of theory in practise.” Around 4,000 students are currently studying at HNU. The university has 70 professors and 40 research assistants. The university has three academic faculties: Business and Economics, Information Management, Health Management and a Centre for Professional and Postgraduate Studies. The University of Applied Sciences is located in the South Bavarian city of Neu-Ulm, which is an important hub for logistics, engineering, pharmaceuticals and healthcare. The university has around 70 partner universities around the world, all students of HNU have to conduct internships for one semester.

The signing of the MoU was part of a visit of a delegation of professors and 24 students from HNU to GUtech, headed by Prof. Dr. Sibylle Brunner, Professor for Economics. The HNU delegation is conducting a cultural excursion to the Sultanate of Oman organized by students from different departments and held annually to different places around the world. End of last year HNU hosted the Omani exhibition “Tolerance, Understanding and Coexistence” on campus for one month.

During a campus tour at GUtech, the German students were impressed of the facilities and the architecture of the GUtech campus. “I am visiting Oman for the first time. Before my travel, I have studied the Middle East. Oman is a very special, peaceful country,” said Oliver Stadlhofer, who is in the 2nd year of the MA programme in Advanced Management at HNU.

Caption: The MoU was signed by Prof. Dr. Uta M. Feser, President of HNU and Prof. Dr. Ing. Michael Modigell, Rector of GUtech.

(c) GUtech/ Dr. Manuela Gutberlet

IDG-Middle East runs a pilot session on ‘personal development and leadership’ for GUtech students

IDG – Middle East Offers

Recently, twenty GUtech students benefited from a pilot session on “personal development & leadership”. The pilot session was delivered by Mr. Robert Biemans and Ms. Maryam Al Bakri from Inspirational Development Group Middle East (IDG – Middle East), a member of Inspirational Development Group (IDG).

IDG – Middle East focuses on leadership development, work ethics, team building and youth development. Their programmes are centred on people and are tailored around organisations’ needs, in particular leadership development and its impact on business performance.

The pilot session introduced participants to activities that support leadership team’s development by providing situations where much needed skills can be identified and practised. Students were presented with tasks that required them to collaborate. “The tasks helped me realise the importance of communicating with and listening to others when working within a team.” Commented the student Nibras Al Hadhrami, Applied Geosciences student.

Students were so engrossed in the task. “They were not aware of the strengths and weaknesses of each other and they overlooked the importance of presenting their results.” Pointed Ms. Heiderose Mooseen, TSSC Manager. IDG team took students through the process of acquiring knowledge and skills from direct experiences when they had to tackle tasks at hand. This process is at the core of experiential learning which requires feedback on results and reflection on behaviour.

Inspirational Development Group (IDG) has delivered solutions in 47 countries, with a most desirable list of high achieving individuals & organisations including: HSBC, Legal & General, Barclays, Absa, Standard Chartered Bank, The Royal Bank of Scotland, Zurich, BAE Systems, Petroleum Development Oman, British Telecomms, Credit Suisse, Faurecia, JP Morgan, Lloyds Banking Group, Saudi Arabia Ministry of Labour, Shell, Abu Dhabi Council for Economic Development & others.

The History of Science Centre Embraces Beacon Technology

Oman Educational Services (OES, LLC), the owner company of The History of Science Centre (HSC) and the German University of Technology in Oman (GUtech) has chosen the startup ‘Beennova’ to develop the Centre’s beacons-enabled mobile application.  Beacons are small devices that can be placed in different locations and emit signals to identify items in display on visitors’ smartphones through a customized App. Thus, offering visitors proximity-related content automatically up right before their eyes once they approach the displays in the Centre.

Beennova is a technology startup, set up by GUtech alumna, Ms. Alya Said Al Shanfari. The company has signed a contract with OES to roll out beacons across HSC and enable visitors to learn about displays, in their preferred language, as they move around. “We are confident that our graduate, Al Shanfari, is the right person to translate our vision for HSC.” announced Dr. Hussain Al Salmi, CEO of OES.

“I am grateful for this opportunity and delighted to have HSC as my first client for beacons-enabled app” proudly stated Al Shanfari.  Al Shanfari is one of the most ambitious innovators. Her studies at the German University of Technology in Oman (GUtech) in the field of computer science opened up her horizons and influenced her scientific and applied knowledge.

Alya Al Shanfari has got her graduation project upgraded into a start-up company and received seed funds from SAS for Entrepreneurship, to set up her company, Beennova. “I am excited to see HSC benefiting from my experience with beacons” reiterated Ms. Al Shanfari.

“Beacons will enable visitors to learn about the exhibits in the History of Science Centre as they walk around” Commented Dr. Al Salmi. A beacon-enabled Mobile App will offer an engaging experience to visitors that is highly relevant, convenient, and delivered in a seamless manner.

Beacons open up the door for numerous opportunities. HSC also plans to enable Children to participate in a scavenger hunt throughout the Centre, thus gamifying the experience of visiting the Centre by using Beacons technology.

Finally, beacons-enabled mobile app for HSC will help identify and measure the flow of visitors and their preferences. Such data should provide better understanding of visitors to HSC.

Oman Educational Services (OES, LLC), the owner company of The History of Science Centre (HSC) and the German University of Technology in Oman (GUtech) has chosen the startup ‘Beennova’ to develop the Centre’s beacons-enabled mobile application.  Beacons are small devices that can be placed in different locations and emit signals to identify items in display on visitors’ smartphones through a customized App. Thus, offering visitors proximity-related content automatically up right before their eyes once they approach the displays in the Centre.

Beennova is a technology startup, set up by GUtech alumna, Ms. Alya Said Al Shanfari. The company has signed a contract with OES to roll out beacons across HSC and enable visitors to learn about displays, in their preferred language, as they move around. “We are confident that our graduate, Al Shanfari, is the right person to translate our vision for HSC.” announced Dr. Hussain Al Salmi, CEO of OES.

“I am grateful for this opportunity and delighted to have HSC as my first client for beacons-enabled app” proudly stated Al Shanfari.  Al Shanfari is one of the most ambitious innovators. Her studies at the German University of Technology in Oman (GUtech) in the field of computer science opened up her horizons and influenced her scientific and applied knowledge.

Alya Al Shanfari has got her graduation project upgraded into a start-up company and received seed funds from SAS for Entrepreneurship, to set up her company, Beennova. “I am excited to see HSC benefiting from my experience with beacons” reiterated Ms. Al Shanfari.

“Beacons will enable visitors to learn about the exhibits in the History of Science Centre as they walk around” Commented Dr. Al Salmi. A beacon-enabled Mobile App will offer an engaging experience to visitors that is highly relevant, convenient, and delivered in a seamless manner.

Beacons open up the door for numerous opportunities. HSC also plans to enable Children to participate in a scavenger hunt throughout the Centre, thus, gamifying the experience of visiting the Centre by using Beacons technology.

Finally, beacons-enabled mobile app for HSC will help identify and measure the flow of visitors and their preferences. Such data should provide better understanding of visitors to HSC.

The History of Science Centre was inaugurated in December 2017 and will open its door to the public in April 2018. The Centre is set to exhibits artefacts on Mathematics, Astronomy, Geography, and Optics. -BDB-

 

 

GUtech BSc International Business and Service Management & BSc Logistics undergo Accreditation Process by ACQUIN

The German University of Technology in Oman (GUtech) has again undertook necessary steps to measure and ensure the quality of two of its programmes of study.

Over the past two days, AQCUIN examined GUtech’s department of Logistics, Tourism, and Service Management, with a specific focus on the Logistics, and the International Business and Service Management programmes. Both programmes have been added to GUtech’s offerings in 2012.

ACQUIN is an international non-profit agency, based in Germany, committed to supporting the enhancement of quality standards for teaching and learning in higher education worldwide.  ACQUIN is a full member of the European Association for Quality Assurance in Higher Education operating in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Middle and Eastern Europe, North Africa and Middle East.

ACQUIN pursues a rigorous procedure that involves several meetings, reviewing and assessment of the self-evaluation report which was earlier produced by the department of Logistics, Tourism, and Service Management.

“After much inspection of GUtech facilities, reviewing of the programmes’ elements and curriculum, and meetings with professors and students over a two-day period, we are confident that the final report is positive” explained Prof. Dr. Heba Aziz, the Dean of the Faculty of Business and Economics.

The accreditation is customarily acquired before the first batch of students in a new study programme completes their final year. “This is the right time to undergo the accreditation process with ACQUIN as the students of the first batch of the Logistics programme prepare for their last semester at the university” Indicated Prof. Dr. Aziz. Following the release of the reviewing report, “there would be a smooth process towards gaining the accreditation” Added Prof. Dr. Aziz.

The accreditation is intended to facilitate student mobility and improve comparability and recognition of university qualifications internationally. “The anticipated accreditation of our programmes – Logistics as well as International Business and Service Management – will give students and employers a reliable measurement of the quality of the programmes” confirmed Prof. Dr. Aziz.

GUtech’s vision is to become a leading university of technology offering quality education in Oman and the wider region. GUtech has achieved and maintained international accreditation for its Bachelor programmes in Computer Science, Applied Geosciences, Urban Planning and Architectural Design, Environmental Engineering, Process Engineering and Mechanical Engineering. GUtech is also licensed by the Ministry of Higher Education in Oman and recognised by RWTH Aachen University, its partner-university in Germany. –  BDB.