Orientation Days held at GUtech

“I hope to achieve a high GPA. I want to develop myself,” said a student

HALBAN The Orientation Days for new students and academic staff were held on campus today morning. Dr. Hussain Al Salmi, Deputy-Rector for Administration and Finances welcomed a large number of Foundation Year students. Foundation Year students will study Academic English, Mathematics and IT throughout one year before they move on to one of the BSc or BEng programmes. “We want to educate you to the best possible. We will teach you but you will be responsible for your education,” said Prof. Dr. Armin Eberlein, Vice-Rector for Academic Affairs at GUtech while adding that the next years will fly by, and the student will still remember this first day at the university. During the induction for students the International Office introduced their services. Aysha Farooq, a GUtech alumni who works at the International Office mentioned that the German language is very important for the students and will help them to persue their studies in Germany including at RWTH Aachen University. The Department of Student Affairs highlighted their services to the students, such as non-academic counselling, clubs and associations, career guidance, social events and accomodation services. In addition, the Department of Registration and Student Affairs introduced the student portal with all its services. “The secret in education lies in respecting the students,” said Fouzia Williams, English lecturer at GUtech during an academic introduction for new teaching staff, which was held on the side-lines of the student orientation days.

Wajd Al Mantheri is one of the new students, she will study International Business and Service Management (IBSM) at GUtech. Wajd went to high school in Kuala Lumpur, where she also studied Management and Business for one year. “At that time I felt that I like business, it is my major. I have selected GUtech because of the International Business programme. I hope to achieve a high GPA. I really want to develop myself, especially in communications. I wish to discover new things and develop tourism in Oman in future, for example cable cars in mountain areas,” she said.

A number of international students and graduates from RWTH Aachen University started their internships or studies at GUtech today morning. Among them is Mariana, an IAESTE exchange student from Mexico, where she has been studying Petroleum Engineering. Mariana will conduct a six months internship in the Department of Process Engineering at GUtech.

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

The African Leadership Academy visited GUtech

HALBAN To learn more about higher education, a delegation of representatives from the African Leadership Academy (ALA) including one of its founding members, Chris Bradford, visited GUtech along with a Conservative Member of the European Parliament for Yorkshire and the Humber, Amjad Bashir, last week. The Rector of GUtech, Prof. Dr.-Ing. Michael Modigell welcomed, the delegation and provided an overview of the history of the institution before they discussed potential for cooperation. ALA is a residential, secondary institution located in the outskirts of Johannesburg, South Africa. The academy is dedicated to high school students, between 16 to 19 years from South Africa and the rest of the world, with alumni from 45 countries.

“Team Work is like a Football Game”

HALBAN Improving collective efforts within a team can lead institutions to higher performances of their staff members and an overall better customer service. With a workshop on teamwork, the annual Professional Development Days (PDD) for all GUtech staff members continued on Tuesday. “Team work is not an individual activity. Successful teams fuel the accomplishment of strategic goals. When we work together we can achieve much more than individually. It’ s like a football game,” said Thomas Hellebrandt from the Laboratory for Machine Tools and Production Engineering (WZL) at RWTH Aachen University while adding that it is important to have a team leader, to coach or guide through the entire team work. “A chairman controls the team moves according to the team’s objectives and develops ways to work together.” Thomas Hellebrandt and his colleague Tobias Adam have been leading the two-day workshop for GUtech staff members.

Norms and guidelines should be established for the entire team building process. “Presenting problems in a way that promotes mutual discussions and a problem solving as well as trust in each other and being open-minded in other opinions are essential tools for successful working teams,” said Tobias Adam. In each team there are different roles that can change within the process, such as the information giver, the information seeker, the initiator, the opinion giver, the elaborator, the clarifier, the consensus seeker and the standard setter. Depending on the involvement and effectiveness of a team there are different concepts used such ‘the high performance team’, ‘the work group’, ‘the pseudo team’ or ‘the potential team’.

The major goals of different team building activities were getting to know each other, improving the communication flow, using synergies between team members and increasing the motivation. “With the accomplishment of a successful project, the joint team efforts should be celebrated,” said Tobias Adam. Today’s team-building workshop will be followed by a research management workshop for the academia to be held tomorrow at GUtech. A presentation on improving research performances was conducted by Elsevier yesterday. Elsevier is a global leader for science and business information analytics, based in the Netherlands. Elsevier publishes a large share of scientific articles worldwide with a high impact factor. Their so-called ‘Scopus’ database facilitates the search for authors of academic papers and their affiliations as well as finding the right journal for publishing the scientific research. The main aim of the week-long workshops is also to welcome new academic and administrative staff members at GUtech and to enhance the overall research and teaching environment at the university.

© GUtech/ Text and Photo: Dr. Manuela Gutberlet

Professional Development Days held at GUtech

The annual Professional Development Days (PDD) were launched at GUtech yesterday. The main aim is to welcome new academic and administrative staff members at GUtech and to improve the overall research and teaching environment. The one-week programme includes presentations by the Rectorate on new activities and strategic approaches to research including research funding as well as an introduction to a new student information system, workshops on teamwork, research project management and intercultural communication. On Tuesday a presentation on improving research performances was given by Elsevier, a global leader for science and business information analytics, based in the Netherlands. Elsevier publishes a large share of articles worldwide with a high impact factor. Their Scopus database facilitates the search for authors, scientific papers and affiliations as well as finding the right journal for publishing scientific research. Several workshops of the PDD are held in cooperation with the Mechanical Engineering Department of GUtech’s partner-university in Germany, RWTH Aachen University.

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

Tourism and the Digital Transformation Forum on 26 September

In celebration of the World Tourism Day 2018, the Faculty of Business and Economics at GUtech in collaboration with the Ministry of Tourism in Oman will hold a forum on “Tourism and the Digital Transformation” on the 26th of September at the Kempinski Hotel Muscat, between 6 – 8.30 pm, followed by dinner. “The event is sponsored by the Kempinski Hotel and Shell Oman to whom we are very grateful. The forum will present testimonials on how the tourism sector worldwide has been shaped by the Fourth Industrial Revolution. A leading panel of international and national experts will be discussing their recent initiatives in heritage, hospitality, tourism development, marketing and quality assurance in an interactive and concise forum,” said Prof. Dr. Heba Aziz, Head of the Department of Logistics, Tourism and Service Management at GUtech.

Technologies are emerging, disrupting and affecting our lives in ways that indicate we are at the beginning of a Fourth Industrial Revolution, a new era in which digitalization builds and impacts societies in new and often unanticipated ways. It is worthwhile considering exactly what kind of shifts we are experiencing and how we can ensure, collectively and individually, that this revolution creates benefits for all. Tourism was one of the first sectors to digitalize business processes on a global scale, bringing flight and hotel booking online to become a digital pioneer. As information and communications technology (ICT) became a global phenomenon, tourism was a consistent early adopter of new technologies and platforms. Digitalization of the tourism sector influenced business and consumer alike and required a complete paradigm shift in the sector. Disintermediation meaning the gradual disappearance of the travel agencies and the move of the tourism sector into a business to consumer model. This might have led to loss of business on one hand, but has on the other created many others. Another interesting development is in the area of the power of the consumer, the wisdom of the crowd has now replaced quality assurance agencies, consumer is no longer interested in how many stars the hotel have but rather on the quantity and quality of reviews on tripadvisor.

This year’s World Tourism Day (WTD) will help to put the opportunities provided to tourism, by technological advances including big data, artificial intelligence and digital platforms, on the map of sustainable development. The World Tourism Organization (UNWTO) sees digital advances and innovation as part of the solution to the challenge of marrying continued growth with a more sustainable and responsible tourism sector.

“Harnessing innovation and digital advances provides tourism with opportunities to improve inclusiveness, local community empowerment and efficient resource management, amongst other objectives within the wider sustainable development agenda”, said UNWTO Secretary-General Zurab Pololikashvili in his message for the World Tourism Day 2018.

The programme of International Business and Service Management (IBSM) is one of GUtech’s fastest growing programme of studies. The programme of study focuses on the tourism sector from an international and national perspective. More information on the forum can be found on the GUtech website.

(c) GUtech/ Department of Logistics, Tourism and Service Management

Parlamentarian of the German Bundestag visited GUtech

HALBAN A member of the German Parliament (Bundestag), MP, Mr Roderich Kiesewetter from the Christian Democratic Party (CDU) visited the German University of Technology (GUtech) last week. The delegation who was on a two day visit to the Sultanate was accompanied by H.E. Thomas Schneider, the Ambassador of the Federal Republic of Germany in Oman.

Mr Kiesewetter is a representative of foreign affairs for the CDU/CSU-Caucus. He has been a member of the German Bundestag since 2009. In the Bundestag he serves as member of the Committee on Foreign Affairs and substitute member of the Defence Committee. Mr Kiesewetter is a former General Staff Officer of the Bundeswehr (Federal Armed Forces). Since November 2014 he is chairman of the CDU’s federal specialised committee on foreign, security, development and human rights policy.

The Rectorate of GUtech welcomed the guests at the university. Prof. Dr. Ing. Michael Modigell introduced Mr Kiesewetter to the development of the university in the past eleven years, since its establishment. Prof. Dr. Heba Aziz, Head of the Department of Logistics, Tourism & Service Management, Faculty of Business and Economics, spoke about her department and the importance of tourism development according to the government’s vision to promote sustainable tourism. Prof. Heba Aziz also stressed on GUtech’s close cooperation with different German Universities of Applied Sciences in Stralsund and in Munich. Currently, around 60 % of the Non-GCC incoming tourists are German-speaking tourists. Oman will be the partner-country of the International Tourism Fair ITB 2020, which is held annually in Berlin (Germany).

In addition, the parliamentarian and his accompanying delegation visited the GUtech EcoHaus. Mr Kiesewetter was briefed by Prof. Dr. Hind Barghash, Head of Environmental Engineering at GUtech and four female graduates of Environmental Engineering about the energy efficiency of the building. The students recently completed their BEng thesis on renewable energies. Mr Kiesewetter showed a strong interest in the student’s research and he asked them about possibilities for internships and start-ups in Environmental Engineering.

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


The New Academic Year will start on 30 September

HALBAN The new academic winter semester 2018/19 will start on Sunday, 30th September at the GUtech. Over 2,000 students will start their next semester, including a large number of Omani and international students, who are expected to begin their studies in the GUtech Bachelor Programmes and in the Pre-University Programme, GUbridge. The Orientation Days for new students of the Pre-University programme and the Bachelor programmes will be held on Thursday, 27 September.

“I remember my own academic career. The start of the university studies is closely linked to a new chapter in life. We are looking forward to welcoming a new batch of students as well as new academic staff members and interns that will join us from all over the world. GUtech fosters intercultural exchange. We believe we can all learn and grow from each other’s cultures and perspectives. We expect all students to work hard. We wish to push them out of their everyday comfort zone to increase their knowledge. In terms of social life, the university offers many activities from sports to theatre and media clubs,” said Prof. Dr. Ing. Michael Modigell, Rector at GUtech.

Prior to the Orientation Days for students, the annual Professional Development Days (PD days) for administrative and academic staff members and for interns will be held. The PD days are conducted in order enhance the professional knowledge and soft skills. Regarding the infrastructure, the university has been growing continuously throughout the past ten years. “This year we will inaugurate a new building with lecture halls and architecture studios as well as an accommodation building for approximately 450 students,” said Prof. Dr. Ing. Michael Modigell.

GUtech is affiliated with RWTH Aachen University (Germany), one of the leading universities of Technology in Oman. The university offers various full-time BSc and BEng programmes in Environmental Engineering, Process Engineering, Mechanical Engineering as well as in Applied Geosciences, Urban Planning and Architectural Design, Logistics, International Business and Service Management and Computer Sciences. All programmes are taught in English. The university will launch Master programmes in the summer semester.

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.


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