Orientation Days held at GUtech

MUSCAT The German University of Technology in Oman (GUtech), located in Halban, has started its academic year with Orientation Days for students new to GUtech, entering the General Foundation or the Academic Foundation Programme or the Bachelor of Science and Bachelor of Engineering programmes this week. The induction day is an introduction to the new study environment and held in English and Arabic.

The Rector of the University, Prof. Michael Modigell and Dr. Hussain Al Salmi, Deputy Rector for Administration and Finances welcomed the new batch of GUtech students in English and Arabic: “I have the pleasure to welcome you at our university and to our GUtech family. Studying at our university, you made a good choice for quality higher education. GUtech is affiliated with one of the leading universities in Europe, RWTH Aachen University. In the coming years GUtech will be a part of your life and very challenging for you. We expect you to work hard and study well for a bright future of yourselves and your country,” said Prof. Michael Modigell. The General Manager of the Foundation Year Programme, Ahmed al Salmi stressed in his speech the overall mentoring support to the students: “We be there and support you throughout your studies.”

The GUtech orientation days continued with presentations of senior students about academic life and student life at GUtech. The students also received more information on the Student Council. GUtech has an active student body with many activities such as a chess club, participation in the cancer walkathon, the International Night, National Day Celebrations and the Muscat Youth Summit, Sports Day. Furthermore, a GUtech Student Council is elected every year which includes student representatives of each study-programme. “We aim at giving a voice to each student” said Mohammed Al Tamami, president of the Student Council and GUtech alumni. The next Student Council elections will be held in October this year. “If you wish to make a change, start with yourself” said Mohammed while encouraging the students to be an active member of the Student Council and the GUtech community.

The language of tuition at GUtech is English. GUtech is affiliated with RWTH Aachen University, one of the leading Universities of Technology in Europe. For many years employers in Germany have been ranking RWTH Aachen University as the best university in Germany. GUtech offers the General English Programme, a Foundation Programme and Bachelor of Science programmes in Applied Geosciences, Computer Science, Urban Planning and Architectural Design, International Business and Service Management as well as Bachelor of Engineering in Mechanical Engineering, Process Engineering and Environmental Engineering as well as a MSc programme in Petroleum Geoscience.

All Bachelor of Science programmes are internationally accredited, the BEng programmes are in the process of being accredited.

Workshop held on flood management

The German University of Technology (GUtech) recently hosted a workshop on flood mapping as part of a joint hydrology and GIS research project, entitled ‘Towards a flood-resilient Omani Society: Improved Tools for Flood Management’. The three-year-long inter-disciplinary research project which started in February this year is funded by The Research Council (TRC).
“The workshop at GUtech was part of a work package on data visualisation. It was about gaining an understanding of current flood mapping practices in Oman. We discussed the availability and the use of flood maps by different stakeholders, the differences between different map types, eg flood hazard maps and flood risk maps, as well as flood map content and layout,” said Associate Prof Dr Adrijana Car, who is leading the research project package related to data visualisation, along with her colleagues from different departments at GUtech, Associate Prof Dr Ekkehard Holzbecher (Applied Geosciences — Hydrogeology) and Associate Prof Dr Nabil Sahli (Computer Sciences), and Dr Edda Kalbus, former professor of Applied Geosciences at GUtech (Hydrogeology).
Prof Adrijana has extensive experience in GIS education and application in various projects around the world and she has been teaching GIS at the University of Salzburg, Austria.
Employees from the Ministry of Regional Municipalities and Water Resources, Muscat Municipality, Supreme Council for Planning, ESRI Muscat and GUtech, participated in the daylong workshop.


Oman needs science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) professionals to drive Oman’s innovation and competitiveness, experts have suggested.

Ithraa’s fourth seminar in the Oman at Work series, dedicated to the topic ‘STEM: Jobs of the Future,’ and held at the Bank Muscat Head Office, explored how science, technology, engineering and mathematics workers will drive Oman’s economic success by generating new ideas, companies, products and industries.

The panelist for the final day were Dr Basel Dayyani from GUTECH, Dr Mohammed Al Mugheiry of Blue Ocean Consultancy, Dr Wael Al Harrasi from Petroleum Development Oman, Dr Sana Al Balushi from the Ministry of Education, Salim Al Mahrooqi from Technical Innovation Services, and Rayan Al Kalbani of Mazoon Environmental and Technological Services.

The final session of the series was moderated by Dr. Nadiya Al Saady, Executive Director, Oman Animal, Plant & Genetic Resources Center. According to Al Saady, both traditional and emerging industries will rely on science, technology, engineering and mathematics -trained workers to ensure future economic success.

The discussion pointed out that changes in the global economy are increasing and stressed the need for science, technology, engineering and mathematics trained personnel.

The discussion also touched on why the representation of women is less in the science, technology, engineering and mathematics workplace.

STEM is a natural priority in this region, said the panelists.

The Oman at Work seminar also discussed why there is a need for a shift in the approach to teaching and leveraging science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

According to Sana Al Balushi, the arts are a necessary adjunct to science, technology, engineering and mathematics education.

Also, the speakers emphasized that private foundations should focus on developing Omani innovation.

“We must offer opportunities to Omanis and believe in their abilities. Omani skills are historically known in various areas,” says Dr Wael Al Harrasi.

The infrastructure in Oman is ready to accept science, technology, engineering and mathematics experts, and there are many opportunities in Oman, the panelists noted.

The four evenings of discussion received positive feedback from participants.

The panelists agreed that the country must be united to equip Oman’s citizens with the modern science, technology, engineering and mathematics skills they need to compete. Panelists also said that all sectors need to recognise that the demand for science, technology, engineering and mathematics -trained Omani talent is only going to increase in the years to come.

Following this discussion, the four part Oman at Work seminar series came to an end. The series was designed by Ithraa, Oman’s inward investment and export promotion agency, to help Oman’s public and private sector better understand the challenges and opportunities of today’s evolving work environment.

GUtech students to conduct geological field study in UK

MUSCAT The Department of Petroleum Geoscience at the German University of Technology in Oman (GUtech) will conducted a field-seminar for their MSc students, on the south coast of the UK in August. The one week course is lead by Professor Dr. Wiekert Visser, Head of the Department of Petroleum Geoscience at GUtech. The objective of the field-excursion is “to teach the students the so-called play evaluation in petroleum exploration,” said Professor Wiekert. “In the South of the UK the geological structure is very simple and the making of the relevant observations is doable within a few days. This would be impossible in Oman because of the geological complexity,” said Professor Wiekert.
The one week field-seminar is an integral part of the MSc in Petroleum Geoscience, a three years part-time programme. Throughout the studies the students conduct a number of field-trips in Oman and abroad. They are also taught by academics who are very experienced in the oil and gas sector.
“There are very good reasons that many oil companies and universities visit the Dorset coast for petroleum geological training. The Southern coastline of the UK, especially the regions Devon and Dorset is renowned for its teaching possibilities in oil and gas exploration geology. The area has very good examples of the key geological elements necessary for creating oil or gas fields: rocks from which oil and gas are generated (source rocks), rocks in which oil and gas are stored (reservoirs), rocks which make sure that oil and gas do not escape to surface over time (seals), and features that create “traps” or the shape of an oil/gas field. Moreover, the largest onshore oilfield in Europe is present in the area,” said Professor Wiekert Visser. During the seminar the students work together in small teams, and learn how they can use observations on source, reservoir, seal and structure in the field to derive the history of the rocks, which then helps to predict the potential for petroleum exploration. Students will also combine their field observations with offshore seismic data to predict prospectivity of the offshore area. At the end of the 5-day trip, the teams have to present their petroleum exploration concept to a senior explorationist.
The students going on the UK trip are now entering their last year of the MSc programme. Looking ahead, Prof. Wiekert says that GUtech is very happy to announce that on October 18th a new group of students will start the MSc in Petroleum Geoscience. Those interested in giving their career in the oil industry a boost are stimulated to join the programme.

Most of our MSc students are pursuing their studies beside their work duties in different companies in Oman, such as PDO, Oman Oil, CCED, CGG. In addition to class room teaching, the theory and practice of Geosciences in the field and in the our Schlumberger workstation lab, the MSc programme at GUtech focusses on developing the student’s scientific research skills. “We want to go beyond the traditional learning. We want the students to become independent thinkers and scientists who know how to write a scientific thesis at a Masters’ level,” said Prof. Wiekert.
GUtech is affiliated with RWTH Aachen University, one of the leading universities of technology in Europe. The MSc course in Petroleum Geoscience was designed by RWTH Aachen professors of the department of Geosciences. The MSc programme in Petroleum Geoscience at GUtech is recognized by the Ministry of Higher Education in Oman and uses the European Credit Transfer System (ECTS) to record student’s process.
For further details please contact the Head of the Department of Petroleum Geoscience at GUtech, Professor Dr. Wiekert Visser on wiekert.visser@gutech.edu.om

Caption: Prof. Dr. Wiekert Visser, Head of the Department of Petroleum Geoscience

Inter-University Exchange in Language Teaching

HALBAN To promote inter-university exchange, a meeting between German and French language lecturers of different universities in Oman was conducted at the German University of Technology in Oman (GUtech) recently. Seventeen language lecturers and teachers from GUtech, Sultan Qaboos University, University of Nizwa, Goethe Institute and from various public schools that teach German and French in Oman attended the meeting.

Four German lecturers currently teach around 280 students in the Bachelor programmes at GUtech, where German is taught to all BSc and BEng students as an additional language during three semesters. “We would like to further improve our teaching technique. We had a very lively discussion during our meeting,“  said Andrea Cornelissen, Representative of the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) and German Lecturer at GUtech.

Second Research Project on the Coastline of Oman launched


A new research project funded by the Research Council (TRC) on sea-level development in Oman was launched in Oman and Germany recently. The project is the second project on natural hazards and other processes along the coastline of Oman conducted by a team of researchers, including students and lead by Prof. Dr. Goesta Hoffmann of GUtech and Prof. Dr. Reicherter from RWTH Aachen University.

“This second project aims at the quantification of driving forces acting along the coastline of Oman; an area where the country’s population density is highest but knowledge on acting natural processes is limited. The proposed high resolution study follows a holistic approach and is based on results gained within a first TRC (funded project (ORG GUtech EBR 10 013) as well as on outcomes of the international IGCP (UNESCO’s International Geoscience Programme) project 588,“ said Prof. Dr. Goesta Hoffmann, Associate Professor at the Department of Applied Geosciences at GUtech.

According to Prof. Goesta, the project also aims to bring together students from GUtech and its associated RWTH Aachen University in Germany and to combine teaching and research, which is the key to success.

Initial fieldwork was conducted along the Jaalan coastline with two Omani GUtech students, Maryam Al Balushi and Samira Al Balushi along with a student from GUtech’s German partner-university, RWTH Aachen University. For their research, the students mapped the position of old beaches along the coastline in the vicinity of As Silah (Sharqiyah Region). The main idea behind the mapping is that a beach clearly marks the location of the sea level. “If we find (rocks formed as) beach deposits elevated above the current high tide level we may have an indication of either: a former sea level higher than today or the vertical displacement of the earth crust (e.g. uplift).” explained Prof. Goesta while adding that “these processes include differential land-movement as well as global changes in sea-level. The expected results will be applicable in adaption strategies to changes induced by global climate changes where a general rise in sea-level is seen as major challenge coastal societies will face in the near future. We cannot predict the future, but we can learn from the past. Adaptation strategies to global problems (like climate change) can only be implemented if we understand local processes”

International Business & Service Management Programme launched

The German University of Technology in Oman (GUtech) has launched a new programme “International Business & Service Management”. The programme will focus on the tourism sector and related service sectors like transportation, aviation, event management from an international business approach “With a thriving tourism industry in Oman, one that offers many job opportunities, we are proud to announce our new study-programme that was designed to meet the needs of this growing industry in Oman while taking into account global patterns of the tourism industry,” said the Rector of GUtech, Prof. Dr. Michael Modigell.

Prof. Dr. Heba Aziz, acting dean of the faculty of Business and Economics and Head of the tourism department, said: “The BSc in International Business & Service Management programme helps students to understand the specifics of the tourism industry alongside a core of business modules. Prof. Heba Aziz further explained, that the programme is career oriented and students will be equipped with the necessary skills and knowledge to work in this growing sector and related service sectors. “Our graduates will be able work in managerial positions in business, tourism, culture and transportation operations,” Prof. Heba Aziz added that, “IBSM comes as a continuation of the Sustainable Tourism and Regional Development Bachelor programme that has been running at GUtech since its inception in 2007. Graduates of the STRD programme are currently working at Omran, Oman Exhibition and Convention Center, Muriya Tourism Development, Oman Airport Management Company, and Oman Air.

Like its predecessor the programme has ample opportunities of linking academia to the work environment. “Employers were always very happy with our students and appreciated them spending longer periods in the work placement; for this programme we have increased our internship period to 12 weeks and we offer students an opportunity to work in Oman and overseas.” The programme is carefully aligned with tourism and service sector needs in Oman as well as the overall requirements of the Omani business environment.

Depending on their educational background, students have several entry points into the BSc programme. Holders of a General Secondary Education Diploma of the Sultanate of Oman will be requested to complete GUtech’s Foundation Programme first.

For more details please check out the GUtech website www.gutech.edu.om https://www.gutech.edu.om/academic/business-economics/sustainable-tourism-and-regional-development/


Book on Historic Settlements in Oman launched

Historic Settlements of Oman’ – A new book covering 50 historic, heritage settlements in Oman has been published recently in cooperation with the German University of Technology in Oman (GUtech) and the Research Center Indian Ocean (RIO), based at GUtech.  On Tuesday the book was handed over by Prof. Dr. Michael Modigell, Rector of GUtech to H.E. Ambassador Kenneth K. M. Liao, Head of the Taipei Economic & Cultural office in Muscat. The Taipei Economic & Cultural Office also sponsored the research project. “With the aim to raise awareness about the rich historical culture and the architectural heritage of Oman and to further strengthen Oman-Taiwan cultural exchange and cooperation, my government is pleased to sponsor the publication of the book ‘Historical Settlements of Oman’” said H.E. Kenneth K. M. Liao.

“We are grateful for all the financial support we have received for this project. We are planning to continue the project and set up a database for around 800 old settlements. Such a large number of settlements with historic remains can be counted in Oman,” said Prof. Dr. Michael Jansen, Director of RIO and former Founding Rector of GUtech. Prof. Jansen initiated the book many years ago from a large data bank project. The research data for the book was collected by several young Omani architects, mostly GUtech alumni of the Department of Urban Planning and Architectural Design. “The research in Oman and the book project was realized in close cooperation with the architectural company Höhler & Partner, with the architect Muhammad Al Salmi as the co-editor of the book. The data of this cultural data bank will help to further improve the development of urban centers in settlements in which historic architecture and remains should be further integrated into the modern city structure,” said Prof Jansen.


Tourism & Logistics: The Future of Oman

BARKA The Faculty of Business and Economics  at the German University of Technology in Oman (GUtech) recently organised the faculty day recently. “BE day (stands for Business and Economics ) is held to bring together students, academics, staff and industry members, to share our news and get updates about recent development in our areas of interest. We are also keen to introduce our new programme International Business and Service Management that we will start in the next academic year in September” said Prof. Dr. Heba Aziz, Head of the STRD Department. She added that the new programme will equip the students with a general business skills while focusing on the tourism industry so they will study aviation and airlines management, port and cruise management etc.


The event was attended by leading industry members in both fields of tourism and logistics. Corporations like Omran, The Ritz Carlton Hotel, and leading logistics companies showed their commitment to developing Omani Youth. “Logistics and tourism are the future of Oman. Companies who invest in both fields will be highly competitive,” said Warith al Kharousi, Executive Director of  AL Safwa Group & Partners,  Chairman for Imagine Technologies Oman and the Oman Logistics & Supply Chain Association & Charter Institute of Logistics & Transport (CILT UK ) – Oman Chapter.

“I am still passionate about my work like the first day,” said Katrin Herz, General Manager of Al Bustan Ritz Carlton Hotel  adding that tourism offers many career opportunities. Al Bustan Palace is always have plenty of opportunities for Omani Youth who would like to join this career. Sulayma Al Jahdhami  a Sustainable Tourism and Regional Development (STRD) student expressed great interest in her studies.  “ I tremendously enjoyed my internship that lasted almost for one month at the HR Department of Al Bustan Palace Ritz Carlton Hotel.


Prof. Dr. Heba Aziz confirmed that all graduates from the tourism department have found jobs in leading tourism organisations both in government and private sector GUtech graduate Fathiya Al Kindi joined Muriya Tourism Development two months ago. She is part of the Corporate Social Responsibility team . “I am currently working to extend to tourism benefits to the local communities where Muriya operates. “The new programme is the new baby of GUtech and has been founded to collect under one roof the academic programmes and research activities in the fields of Business and Service Management” said Prof. Dr. Oliver Lorz, Inaugural Dean of the Faculty of Business and Economics at GUtech and Head of the Chair of International Economics at RWTH Aachen University. Registration has started.

Student Award Ceremony

GUtech students were awarded for their campus involvement, community service, and Sports competitions. Ahmed Mohammad Hassan al Yahmadi, Director of private sports in the Ministry of Sports Affairs was the Guest of Honor.

Awards categories  for the Academic Year 2014-2015 are:

Student Council Members, Students winning Sports Competitions , Student Volunteers, International and Local competition Winners, Best and the Brightest, Best Club and Staff Volunteers.