GUtech and RWTH Aachen University renew their academic affiliation agreement

HALBAN The academic affiliation agreement between GUtech and its German partner-university, RWTH Aachen University, was renewed during the Board of Governor’s (BoG) meeting that was held  at RWTH Aachen University, in the city of Aachen (Germany) end of June. The meeting was chaired by the current Rector of RWTH Aachen University, Prof. Dr.-Ing. Ernst Schmachtenberg. “We are very glad that we have renewed the contract for another five years with our German partner-university RWTH Aachen University. The collaborative agreement will support all our activities in research and teaching as well as the overall knowledge-transfer between Germany and the Sultanate of Oman,” said Prof. Dr.-Ing. Michael Modigell, Rector of GUtech.

Two new board members representing the Omani Academia, H.E. Sheikh Dr. Al Khattab Al Hinai and Dr. Bader Al Kharusi, were welcomed to the board meeting. In addition, the BoG agreed to establish the position of a Deputy Rector for Research and Innovation at GUtech in the coming months.

The BoG meeting at RWTH Aachen University was the last meeting chaired by Prof. Dr.-Ing. Ernst Schmachtenberg, who will retire this month. On this occasion, H.E. Sheikh Abdulla Salim Al Salmi, Representative of Oman Educational Services LLC (OES) presented a gift to the Rector and thanked him for all his support during the past four years.

Initially, OES and RWTH Aachen University signed the first affiliation agreement  when GUtech was established in Muscatin 2006. The university opened its doors in September 2007 when 60 students started their studies at GUtech. In summer 2018, nearly 2,000 students were studying in the Foundation Year Programme as well as in various BSc and BEng programmes such as Applied Geosciences, Urban Planning and Architectural Design, Computer Sciences, International Business and Service Management, Logistics, Mechanical Engineering, Process Engineering and Environmental Engineering.

(c) Text: GUtech/ Dr. Manuela Gutberlet; Photo: RWTH Aachen University

 

 

The OmaniExpo showcased innovative student research projects conducted abroad

HALBAN The OmaniExpo showcasing research projects in Engineering, Economics, Health and Environment as well as in Natural Sciences and in Mathematics was held at the German University of Technology in Oman (GUtech) yesterday evening. All research projects were conducted by Omani students who are studying abroad. The one day exhibition included a large number of research posters and a competition for the best three research projects. The initiative was organized by the Computer Science Club of GUtech and the Blockchain Club in Oman. The exhibition was held at Sultan Qaboos University in 2016.

Al Munther Al Musalhi is one of the founding members of the exhibition and a committee member of the OmaniExpo 2018. Al Munther studied Mechanical Engineering at Oregon State University. “Through this event we wish to promote the Omani youth, while connecting the students and their innovative ideas with the Omani community,” he said. The exhibition showcased 12 engineering projects, 7 projects on health and environment, 7 projects on Maths and Sciences and two projects on economics. “Our criteria for the competition are the benefits of the research for the community in Oman and the novelty of the student research project,” said Al Munther. His fellow committee members of the OmaniExpo 2018 are Mazin Al Fanna, Ahmed Al Manji, Hassan Al Balushi, Said Al Jabri, Yusra Al Sawaii and Al-Khatab Al Busaidi.

“I am delighted to speak to many Omani students studying abroad who are showcasing their research during this special exhibition. I think the event will encourage students at school to excel in their studies and to register at a university of their choice in order to pursue their dreams. The group of alumnis from Oregon State University has worked more than one year on organizing this event. We are very grateful for GUtech’s support in hosting this exhibition,” said Dr. Talal Mohammed Al-Balushi, Cultural Attaché at the Embassy of the Sultanate of Oman in Washington (USA) during the exhibition.

Zumurda Ahmed Al Rawahi studied Material Science and Engineering at the University of Washington (USA). She presented her BSc research on a new material used in the production of biomedical implants. She hopes to promote the manufacturing of these implants here in Oman. She is currently working on publishing her findings along with her professors in an American biomedical journal.

Zalikha Al-Marzouqi is a PhD student at the University of Manchester (UK). In her research in health sciences she focuses on the perception of Omani women on breastfeeding and the support they get from the society at large. “The aim was to gain an in-depth understanding of exclusive breastfeeding of Omani women and to enhance our understanding of the reality of breastfeeding from the perspective of their family members and health care professionals in Oman,” explained Zalikha. For her research she conducted 61 interviews and 15 clinical observations in the past years. According to the World Health Organization is breastfeeding is an important factor in promoting a child’s health and it should be done for around two years. “Most women adapt themselves to the society. According to my study the majority of the Omani women stopped breastfeeding their babies already after 4 months,” she said.

The organizing committee of the OmaniExpo 2018 is planning to launch more such events in future.

© GUtech/ Text and Photo: Dr. Manuela Gutberlet

First SAP Next-Gen Innovation Lab in Oman launched at GUtech

HALBAN To foster the links between the academia and the industry, the first of its kind SAP Next-Gen-Lab in Oman was inaugurated at the German University of Technology in Oman (GUtech) in cooperation with SAP, one of the leading enterprise software corporations yesterday afternoon. The laboratory was launched by members of the Rectorate of GUtech and the SAP Country General Manager, Mr. Waheed Al Hamaid and in the presence of a number of representatives from the industry in Oman and from the German Embassy. “There are currently around 100 SAP Next-Gen Labs worldwide. These special laboratories provide students with knowledge and skills for a digital future. They also connect the SAP ecosystem of customers and partners with students to work on SAP Next-Gen projects and events to connect companies recruiting next generation leaders with students and graduates who have digital transformation knowledge and skills and to showcase their start-ups with corporates seeking to create innovative solutions,” said Waheed Al Hamaid.

“We are very honored to introduce the first SAP Next-Gen-Lab here at GUtech. We wish to create a special space where our Computer Sciences, Engineering, Geosciences, International Business and Logistics students can interact with companies worldwide and work with them on industry-related challenges, for example in the Logistics sector. This laboratory is a co-creation between the academia, students and the industry. It is a working space built on design-thinking principles to stimulate and encourage innovative thinking, collaboration and knowledge-sharing,” said Dr. Hussain Al Salmi, Vice-Rector for Administration and Finances at GUtech. The SAP Next-Gen Lab connects customers to academic ‘thought leaders’ and researchers, students, start-ups, business accelerators, tech community partners, venture firms, futurists and SAP experts. “This unique cooperation will also help build innovations linked to the 17 UN Global Goals for Sustainable Development,” said Heiderose Moossen, Manager Training and Smart Solutions Center (TSSC) at GUtech who initiated the setting up of the Next-Gen Lab at GUtech. Similar SAP Labs already exist on the Arabian Peninsula in Saudi Arabia, at Prince Sultan University, at King Abdulaziz University and in the UAE.

“We are very delighted to welcome GUtech to our SAP Next-Gen Labs global network, which is specifically structured to encourage close collaboration between academia and industry,” said Wissam Kadi, SAP Next-Gen Director in MENA while adding: “The combination between GUtech academic programmes and SAP’s solutions and breakthrough technologies will open up new learning opportunities for students to develop their future-ready tech skills.” Using the SAP Leonardo platform, a digital innovation system, the university will foster a digitally educated, next generation talent pool with skills in both enterprise systems and digital innovation, with analytics, machine learning, blockchain technology and other expertise.

Universities which open an SAP Next-Gen Lab get the opportunities to open new channels to share ‘thought leadership’ and collaborate with other ‘thought leaders’ in the academia and in the industry on the technologies and innovation methodologies driving the future digital transformation of all industries.

SAP started in 1972, when five entrepreneurs in Germany had a vision for the business potential of technology. Starting with one customer and only a few employees, SAP set out on a path that would not only transform the world of information technology, but also forever alter the way companies do business. SAP empowers people and organisations to work together more efficiently and use business insight more effectively to stay ahead of the competition. SAP is operating in various industry sectors, such as energy and natural resources, public services, consumer industries, consumer industries, financial services as well as in discrete industries such as the automobile industry.

Caption:

Group photo during the opening of the SAP Next-Gen-Lab, inaugurated at the German University of Technology in Oman (GUtech) in cooperation with SAP.

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

Solar Photovolatic Course Held at GUtech

A Solar Photovoltaic (PV) Course was held at the German University of Technology in Oman (GUtech) last week. Over 20-participants from industry, SMEs and academia attended the 5 day course. The course was conducted for the third time at GUtech by Shams Global Solutions (SGS) in partnership with Solar Energy International (SEI). Throughout the week of training, participants got a solid understanding of various components of solar PV systems, including system components, design, installation and maintenance of these systems. Oman’s Distribution Code Review Panel (DCRP) officially certifies the course in support of individuals who want to become licensed Junior or Senior Solar Experts. The development of the course, along with the hands-on outdoor training facility located at GUtech, has been sponsored by BP Oman.

(c) Text and Photo: GUtech/Dr. Manuela Gutberlet and Shams Global Solutions

Geoscientist Prof Gösta Hoffmann received a Teaching Award of the University Bonn

BONN Prof Dr. Gösta Hoffmann, who is teaching and researching at GUtech, was awarded with the Rectorate’s Teaching Award 2018 of the University Bonn recently. With this award the management of the University and the Faculty of Mathematics, Geosciences and Natural Sciences of the University Bonn recognizes Prof Gösta’s strength in teaching. “Prof. Gösta Hoffmann successfully combines theory and practise in his teaching. His classes are very popular and are focused on applying the theory during excursions and the student’s overall learning experience in the field. The award was given according to student’s evaluations and a student survey from the faculty,” said Prof. Dr. Thomas Bartolomäus, member of the Faculty of Natural Sciences during the award ceremony held at the university. “The field excursions are very popular among our students and they help to educate the next generation of Geoscientists. They highly qualify them to think out-of-the box and for their future work in the industry or in the academia,” said Prof. Gösta. 

Initially, Prof. Gösta Hoffmann studied Geosciences at the University of Greifswald (Germany) where he completed his PhD in 2004. In 2008 he and his wife Dr. Anne Zacke moved to Muscat, where they were among the first faculty members in the Department of Applied Geosciences at GUtech. Since 2008 Prof Gösta is teaching at GUtech and conducting research on tsunami hazards in Oman. In October 2015 he was awarded with the National Research Award by the Research Council (TRC). Prof. Gösta is teaching courses on geohazards along with excursions. In the past three years he has been conducting field excursions through Oman with students from different universities and research institutes in Germany. In 2016 Prof. Gösta completed his habilitation at RWTH Aachen University, GUtech’s German partner-university and he became the Head of the Working Group for General Geosciences / Environmental Geosciences at the Steinmann Institute of the University Bonn.

The Annual Rectorate’s Teaching Award is given to those professors of various faculties who apply innovative teaching techniques and who receive high evaluations from their students.

 

Caption: Prof. Dr. Gösta Hoffmann during the Award Ceremony along with Katrin Holm-Mueller, Vice-Rector for Academic Affairs of the University Bonn.

(c) Text: GUtech/ Dr. Manuela Gutberlet; Photo: provided by the University Bonn/Prof. Goesta Hoffmann

Students volonteered during the UNESCO World Heritage Meeting in Bahrain

HALBAN The Faculty of Business and Economics at GUtech has recently formed a student club entitled Oman Sustainable Tourism Club (OSTC). The department of Logistics, Tourism and Service Management is planning for the official launch of the club to take place on 27 September, on the occasion of the World Tourism Day. “The club members who are now around 20 have been very active and enthusiastic about the various activities and initiatives they plan to carry out. So far the students have designed their own website, a communication campaign with a logo, I am so proud of them,” said Prof. Dr. Heba Aziz, Head of the Faculty of Business and Economics. 

In addition, some members of the student club have volunteered in the 42nd Session of the UNESCO World Heritage held in Bahrain, between the 24 June and the 4 July. The students had the opportunity to witness the inscription of Qalhat as a World Heritage Site with lots of joy and happiness and they celebrated this great achievement.

The World Heritage Committee gathers representatives from over 100 countries concerning the Protection of the World Cultural and Natural Heritage elected by the General Assembly of States Parties to the Convention. “This event is a major international UNESCO conference with over 1000 delegates participating to decide on the listing of cultural heritage sites on the World Heritage list. It is a wonderful experience for the students to be exposed to such major important events,” said Prof. Dr. Heba Aziz. During the conference the GUtech students worked as part of an international body of students volunteers. The students showed interest in being part of such event in the future in order to be able to represent the Sultanate of Oman and GUtech.

GUSummer Academy for teens to be held on campus

HALBAN GUtech will hold a two week Summer Academy for teens on its campus in Halban between the 22 July and 2 August. The GUSummer Academy will be held in Arabic. Its programme is designed for students aged between 14 – 17 years, with the aim to support students to be responsible for their daily tasks and to become independent thinkers. Since it was launched for the first time in 2015, the summer programme has been one of the most successful summer schools in Oman. Different workshops such as English, German, Business, IT, Photography, Arts, Health and Safety, Car Maintenance and Sports promise to prepare and inspire the young students for their next school years and for life. In addition, leisure activities such as a leisure hunting safari will be conducted outside the campus. Overall, this special summer programme focuses on enhancing the student’s educational and personal growth.

For more details and registration, please visit http://summeracademy.gutech.edu.om or check out GUtech on social media: gu_summer_academy.

(c) Text & Photo: GUtech/ PR and Student Affairs Department

 

GUtech students to participate in a special German Language and Culture Course at RWTH Aachen University

MUSCAT A group of 15 GUtech students and two supervisors will participate in a special language and culture course to be held at GUtech’s German partner-university RWTH Aachen University in August. Since 2009, the annual 3 week study-trip has been conducted in cooperation with RWTH Aachen University and the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD). DAAD has been funding the study trip every year. The main aim of this special course is to introduce the students to life in Germany and to the different faculties at RWTH Aachen University.

“Studying the German language was not so difficult, only in the beginning,” said Murooj Al Busaidi, 3rd year student in BSc Computer Sciences who has studied German for three semesters. She is looking forward to applying the language and experiencing the country soon. Like most of the other GUtech students, Murooj will be traveling for the first time to Germany and to Europe. “I like to learn more about Europe and especially about Germany. I am planning to do my Master’s there,” said Huda Al Jahwari, BSc Logistics student. “Aachen is a student city and the university has many different departments including a well-known Logistics Department,” explained Huda. Mustafa Mohammed is studying Mechanical Engineering in the 3year at GUtech. He has been receiving a study scholarship from the Egyptian and Omani governments. “RWTH Aachen University is one of the leading universities in Europe. I am very happy to get the opportunity to attend this special language course and to get to know the university. I am planning to study my Master’s in Germany,” said Mustafa. GUtech offers German language classes for beginners for all BSc or BEng students.

For the language course the students had to submit a letter of motivation and other documents. The selected candidates were then interviewed by the selection committee. “This year we had an increased number of applicants. More than 100 students from all academic programmes applied for only 15 seats. One of the requirements was that they had studied one or two semesters German,” said Claudia Schmidt, Representative of the DAAD and German Lecturer at GUtech. For most of the students it is their first trip to Germany. Students from the departments of Applied Geosciences, Engineering, International Business and Service Management, Computer Sciences will attend the course. GUtech promotes study and research exchange especially with RWTH Aachen University and with other universities in Europe.

Caption: Group photo with the GUtech students who will participate in the Language and Culture Course at RWTH Aachen University as well as their two supervisors, Claudia Schmidt from the DAAD (first row) and Felixa Wingen from the International Office at GUtech.

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

GUtech hosts a delegation from Nagoya University

HALBAN To enhance its internationalization the German University of Technology in Oman (GUtech) has hosted three high-ranking representatives of Nagoya University (Japan) on its campus in Halban. Dr. Yoshihito Watanabe, Trustee and Vice-President for International Planning and Public Relations as well as Prof. Dr. Eng. Nakamura Hikaru of the Department of Civil Engineering and Takako Sakaki, Head of the International Student Exchange Section and the International Affairs Department visited GUtech during the past two days. They were welcomed by the Rectorate of GUtech and the Heads of all academic departments as well as the International Office. “We wish to cooperate with our Japanese colleagues in the scientific fields of Engineering, Architecture, Computer Sciences and Geosciences and promote a regular bilateral student and academic exchange,” said Prof. Dr. Michael Modigell, Rector of GUtech. In a second step GUtech representatives are planning to visit their Japanese counterparts in the coming months at Nagoya University.

Six Nobel laureates who were awarded in Physics and in Chemistry since 2008 have been conducting their research at Nagoya University. The visit to GUtech was initiated by a visit of Prof. Dr. Hiroshi Amano, the Nobel Prize Winner in Physics in 2014 to GUtech in January this year. At that time Prof Amano gave a public lecture on his research journey and LED lights at GUtech.

Nagoya University currently has 16,438 students including around 3,000 international students, most of them from Asia but as well from Europe. Initially, Nagoya University was founded in 1871 as a temporary hospital and as a medical school. In 1949 Nagoya University was established and in 2018 the university became a designated National University. Nagoya is located around 1.5 hours by train from Tokyo. With 2.2 million inhabitants Nagoya is the 3rd largest city in Japan. The university has strong links with international companies such as Mitsubishi Heavy Industry. More than 100 international companies are located close by the university in Nagoya.

Nagoya University offers six international undergraduate and 11 post-graduate study programmes. In addition, during summer the university offers a 6 week programme on the Latest Technology and Tasks in Automobile Engineering for BSc and MSc Engineering students.

In recent years the university has created a number of new research labs and development centers for open innovation, such as the “Institute for Advanced Research” or the “Institute for Innovation for Future Society”, for practical research. Through research at the “Mobility Innovation Center” at Nagoya University researchers plan to empower an increasingly ageing society through advanced mobility support such as autonomous cars or walking assistance robots. Further research centers are the “Green Mobility Research Institute” (GREMO) and the Disaster Mitigation Research Center (DMRC). Moreover, Nagoya University has been expanding the scope of employment possibilities for female researchers. Consequently, the university was selected as the only Japanese university to be among 10 universities worldwide to support the “UN HeForShe Camapaign”.

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

 

 

Panel discussion on the prospects of vocational training in the Sultanate of Oman

As part of an integrated approach to expand its educational activities, Oman Educational Services (OES) has ventured with the German BFW, Berufsförderungswerk Kerpen (BFW NRW) to introduce an Apprenticeship Technical Training in Oman.

OES is the owner company of the German University of Technology in Oman (GUtech), the Finland-Oman School (FOS), the History of Science Centre (HSC), the Training and Smart Solutions Centre (TSSC), among others.

The Apprenticeship Technical Training in Oman will builds on certain aspects of the German Vocational Technical Training and will cater for young Omanis who would choose to follow a technical vocational path.

This project was presented during a workshop organised by OES on Tuesday 22 May at Grand Hyatt Muscat, in the presence of the German Ambassador to Oman, H.E. Mr. Thomas Schneider and representatives from governmental and private organizations. During the workshop, invited stakeholders discussed the opportunities and the challenges relating to the implementation of the Apprenticeship Technical Training in Oman.

H.E. Mr. Thomas Schneider, German Ambassador to Oman, pointed in his speech that “the Apprenticeship Technical Trainings are widely embedded in the German education system and labour market, where the training institutes and the private sector collaborate on providing vocational training solutions to school leavers and on-the-job employees to upgrade their skills”.

The first edition of the Apprenticeship Technical Training will be launched in August, with a focus on IT skills. It is targeted at young Omani school leavers, University and College drop outs, aspiring to build up a technical career in IT required for the development of various sectors.

Dr. Julio Saavedra, the Keynote Speaker from TTU noted that the focus on IT trainings is a pre-requisite for Oman to catch up with the 4th Industrial Revolution. He explained that “4IR is based on a confluence of technologies maturing at the same time”. Technologies are becoming entrenched in our society, through robotics, artificial intelligence, automation, augmented and virtual reality, 3D printing, Internet of Things, etc. Julio Saavedra concluded that “4IR requires a spectrum of technical IT skills which can only be developed through hands-on practical training in an operational environment”.  

The Apprenticeship Technical Training in IT, as devised in the German context, offers apprentices a combination of structured classroom training with job familiarization allowing them to practice the technical and soft skills in a real life setting. Mr. Björn Müller, Manager in BFW NRW advanced: “this approach can be replicated in the context of Oman too, with the help of the private sector”.

The Apprenticeship Technical Training in Oman by OES-BFW is envisaged to be structured over 3 years. The training will offer apprentices classroom learning alternated with weekly scheduled time in host companies. Thus, preparing apprentices to become autonomous IT technicians by the end of the training.

The success of the project will rely on the commitment of the private sector and the host companies that would choose to tie up with an apprentice during the duration of the training. Apprentices should be selected by host companies based on their future recruitment needs and plans to contribute in Omaninzation and ICV development.

“The success of such initiative requires a long-term relationship between the apprentices and enterprises” highlighted Heiderose Moose, Manager of Vocational Training in TSSC.

During the workshop, a series of challenges were discussed by the invitees. “There is a stigma attached to vocational study, people think of it as the alternative option if you don’t get the right marks to get into university” and “I don’t think young Omani are fully clear on what vocational training entails as the majority expect to work in offices.” Another voice postulated “the education system in Oman has to bridge the divide between academic and vocational study”.

OES and BFW NRW are all set to launch the project which should translate into more versatile IT technicians/specialists with a more all-round set of skills.