Consultancy Policy

Technology Transfer Office Organises a Consultation Workshop on GUtech’s Consultancy Policy

GUtech’s Technology Transfer Office organised a consultation workshop to discuss GUtech’s consultancy policy recently.

GUtech’s consultancy policy aims at creating the right framework for faculty and staff to offer their expertise to external parties. The policy is aligned with GUtech strategic plan and encourages faculty and staff to pursue consultancy assignments in order to contribute to the University’s mission of serving society as a whole.

Dr Chris Moody, TTO director, run the consultation to clarify the current GUtech’s consultancy policy, unveil doubts over the permissible time for consultancy, and reach a consensus over consultancy pricing and sharing. “It is a common practice in academia to find faculty and staff are approach to provide technical and creative expertise, to devise solutions for industrial problems, to be called upon for expert feedback in courts, to provide expert reports or to serve on government’s policy making task force.” Explained Moody.

Consultancy assignments are one of the lucrative activities that faculty and staff may choose to undertake during their tenure at GUtech. “offering the right incentives and a structured scheme for the permissible time to spend on externally-funded consultancies should create a conducive environment for sharing knowledge and opening up the door for working closely with the industry.” Stated Moody.

Besides teaching and research, GUtech aspires to develop business and community relations and increase income from non-academic sources.

Consultancy can also help to develop research collaborations and maintain relationships with the industry.

TTO is tasked with providing support to faculty and staff to carry out consultancy assignments that can be reasonably handled besides the regular duties. The support covers administrative aspects ranging from project pricing to contract negotiation.

 

 

Minister of MOHERI visits GUtech

Minister of Higher Education, Scientific Research and Innovation Visits German University of Technology in Oman

Prof. Dr. Rahma bint Ibrahim Al Mahrouqiya, Minister of Higher Education, Scientific Research and Innovation (MOHERI), visited the German University of Technology in Oman (GUtech) on 22 October.

Her Excellency was accompanied during the visit by HE Dr. Bakhit bin Ahmed Al Mahri, Undersecretary for Higher Education, HE Dr. Saif bin Abdullah Al-Haddabi, Undersecretary for Scientific Research, HE Dr. Mona Bint Salem Al Jardaniya, Undersecretary for Vocational Training, and a number of MOHERI officials.

The visit aimed at sharing the aspirations, vision, and plans of MOHERI for the higher education sector in the Sultanate. In addition, the visit focused on the expectations with regard to research outputs and innovations of universities in Oman.

Besides the University’s Rectorate members, His Excellency Abdullah bin Salem Al Salmi, member of the Board of Directors, and the Honourable Sheikh Dr. Alkhattab bin Ghaleb bin Ali Al Hinai, member of the University’s Board of Trustees welcomed her excellency and the accompanying team.

Dr. Hussain bin Sulaiman Al Salmi, Acting Rector of GUtech, presented an overview of the University’s achievements in the last twelve months and outlined the University’s efforts and incentives to boost research outputs by faculty and staff. Al Salmi diligently pointed to the goals of the recently established Technology Transfer Office at GUtech, and elaborated on the costly price of quality education.

Afterwards, Prof. Dr. Armin Eberlein, Deputy Rector for Academic Affairs, presented key issues encountered during the transition to online teaching as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. He then commended MOHERI for approving the cyber security bachelor programme. Afterwards, he touched on the students’ performance level in correlation to the level of English language requirement and other basic skills.

The visit also included a meeting with the University’s academic board and a presentation by Prof. Dr. Michael Modigell, Director of Oman Hydrogen Centre. Modigell gave an overview of the activities of the centre for the intensification of hydrogen uses in the Omani market where the centre will play an active role in the process of promoting and commercialising hydrogen.

Her Excellency stressed the importance of joint cooperation among private higher education institutions to bid for joint funding research grants. In addition, she advocated the importance of the university’s collaboration with the private sector to reach supportive partners and investors. Moreover,  She encouraged the university to benefit from research funding programmes in collaboration with other institutions.

The Minister stressed on the importance of achieving institutional accreditation locally and praised the University for obtaining international accreditation for all its Bachelor programmes, which makes GUtech an attractive destination for international students from different countries of the world.

The Minister asserted the importance of offering academic programmes that meet the fourth industrial revolution, the market needs and the national economic diversification plans.

HE also affirmed the importance of improving the quality of education in the Sultanate to be among the top 300 universities in the QS ranking. She emphasised the importance for universities to collaborate with MOHERI to achieve the integration between higher education, vocational training, research and innovation.

On meeting the student advisory council (SAC), she commended the members on their role and emphasised the importance of continuous communication between the student and the academic advisor. Members of SAC discussed with her excellency the academic challenges facing students with regard to getting practical experience in the logistics industry and the block courses format. Her Excellency advised students to continuously follow up on their academic progress via MOHERI platform.

Her Excellency also visited Finland Oman School (FOS) and the History of Science Centre (HSC), both institutions are owned and managed by Oman Educational Services (OES). GUtech, FOS, and HSC are among the different entities constituting the education eco-system situated at GUtech campus. Finland Oman School (FOS) draws on experiences and knowledge from the Finnish education system, which uses a Finnish research-based teaching approach and an innovative approach to teaching and learning for K-12 pupils.

 

 

 

IP policy workshop

GUtech’s Technology Transfer Office holds its first workshop on intellectual property policy

GUtech’s Technology Transfer Office (TTO) held a workshop on ‎intellectual property (IP) recently. The workshop was ‎facilitated by Dr Chris Moody, Director of GUtech Technology Transfer Office, for GUtech faculty members.

The goal of the workshop was to refine GUtech policy and its procedures, to encourage the maximum level of knowledge transfer, IP protection and commercialisation of technologies with a clear timeline enabling students and faculty researchers to publish their works.

The workshop focused on reviewing the current GUtech IP policy and its general framework, defining the aspects for its implementation, and creating a common understanding of GUtech’s priorities regarding research.

Dr Moody initiated the workshop with a discussion about the most important intellectual property rights and the general legal rights conferred by patents, design rights, copyrights, trademarks, database rights, and trade secrets.

Participants had the opportunity to express their views on the patentability and commecialisation of research outcomes, and to discuss the structure for sharing the benefits from commercialised IP.

The workshop was part of the TTO ‎activities, which aims at developing GUtech’s IP policy, expanding the outreach of faculty members for funding opportunities, ‎developing research capabilities, and helping students and faculty members engage in commercialised IP activities.

GUtech’s TTO is the outcome of a recent collaboration between GUtech and the International Emerging Technology Company (ETCO). GUtech’s TTO is led by key international advisors tasked to set out the framework for connecting GUtech researchers with industry partners for novel technologies, and to clearly define key policies in areas of ownership of intellectual property, transfer of rights, and other arrangements of key importance for the formation of spin-offs and the commecialisation of innovative ideas.

GUtech welcomes new students via virtual orientation sessions

GUtech campus is typically abuzz this time of the year, but new students are experiencing the university life differently this time. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the department of Student Affairs has re-created the orientation experience virtually via MS TEAMS for the academic year 2020/202 to provide proper induction and ensure a smooth academic journey at the college. The virtual orientation programme had included virtual components showcasing the different services the University provides, allowing over 370 online participants to get acquainted with the services available on campus.

After welcoming the participants to the virtual orientation sessions, GUtech Acting Rector, Dr Hussain Al Salmi, provided a recap on the precautionary measures the University is observing for the health and safety of students and staff and highlighted the availability of all necessary information on the University website, social media platforms, besides the introductory email sent earlier to all students explaining the plans devised by the University to navigate the current situation.

Head of Student Affairs department, Nawal Jawad led the virtual orientation by providing an overview of the services offered by the different departments. “We want to make sure that every student knows we are here for them.” Jawad assured participants. Students got then the opportunity to an extended questions and answers session addressing all their concerns.

Addressing the concerns of new students over the teaching formats, Al Salmi explained: “in September we are required to conduct teaching online only. Starting from October, three teaching formats will be applied from face-to-face, and virtual teaching to online classes which don’t require real-time session meetings.” “Exams will be conducted both online and on campus.” He added.

The virtual orientation allowed participants who are enrolled to embark on the foundation programme to learn about its structure and its different levels and to pose a range of questions, from changing the programme of study, academic advising, student advisory council, and student clubs, to accommodation and eateries options on campus.

 

OES and Eduten Collaborate to Bring AI-Supported Gamification Mathematics to Oman

Oman Educational Services signs exclusivity agreement with Eduten to bring Finland’s no 1 AI-supported mathematics digital learning platform to Oman

Oman Education Services (OES, LLC) has signed an exclusivity agreement with Eduten, a Finnish company with more than 15 years of proven expertise in gamification-based mathematics learning, to bring Eduten Playground into the Finland Oman School (FOS), the GUbridge Foundation Programme of the German University of Technology in Oman (GUtech) and beyond.

The virtual signing ceremony took place yesterday, Wednesday 9 September, between Dr Hussain Al Salmi, the Chief Executive Officer of OES, and Henri Muurimaa, the Chief Executive Officer of Eduten joining from Turku, Finland; along with the virtual presence of Makke Leppänen, Eduten’s Head of Partnership joining from Helsinki, Ahmed Al Salmi, OES General Manager, and Terhi Merenski, FOS principal.

Eduten, a spin-off of the globally ranked top 1% University of Turku, is behind Eduten Playground for primary and secondary students. Eduten Playground is supported by artificial intelligence and offers a library of more than 200,000 high-quality pedagogical online mathematics practice tasks for students aged 6-15 years.

Commenting on the exclusivity agreement with Eduten, OES CEO, Al Salmi said: “Recognising the significant role of the digital education in boosting pupils’ learning and believing in the importance of equipping our students with the Fourth Industrial Revolution skills, our agreement with Eduten goes hand in hand with our vision to providing quality education to the people of Oman and to empowering our students, in FOS and GUtech, to learn mathematics through Eduten Playground, Finland’s no 1 motivational digital learning platform that encourages autonomous learning.” “Math performance in Oman has been a challenge and we believe that Eduten Playground, when deployed properly, can improve Omani students’ Math results.” He added.

The platform complements FOS approach of pedagogical differentiation and offers teachers opportunities for setting up highly individual learning pathways for students and generating detailed learning analytics for each student.
From his side, Eduten CEO, Henri Muurimaa, stated: “With this venture, Oman will be joining the growing list of countries benefiting from the extensive research and proven effectiveness in digital mathematics learning while simultaneously helping us to achieve our ultimate mission of offering students worldwide the opportunity to reach their academic potential.” “OES is a perfect partner for us and together with OES we are ready to expand in Oman for modernising the teaching methods and for transforming the learning journey for higher results among FOS students and many other schools in Oman.” He concluded.

Capitalising on the expertise of Eduten and leveraging FOS growing reputation, the agreement appoints OES as the exclusive distributor in Oman and paves the ground for undertaking research that will expand the digital platform to address other regional needs in Arabic and Arabic related subjects.

Oman Educational Services (OES) is a 100% Omani-owned limited liability company, established in 2006. In the past 14 years, OES has ventured into different projects with a core interest in education – The German University of Technology (GUtech) in 2007, History of Science Centre in 2017, and Finland Oman School in 2018 – allowing OES to be established as a leading educational ecosystem in Oman.

Eduten Ltd is a spin-off from University of Turku that provides Finland’s most popular digital learning platform Eduten Playground to educational institutions around the world. Eduten Playground has proved its worth as a scientifically validated mathematics platform since 2011 by more than 450,000 users in Finland 40+ other countries, including Hong Kong, Sweden, the United Kingdom, Australia, United States, United Arab Emirates, various countries in Europe, Asia and Latin America, and now Oman.

GUtech and PhazeRo bring in real-world artificial intelligence skills into the classroom and beyond

The German University of Technology in Oman (GUtech) signed on Tuesday 8 September a cooperation agreement with PhazeRo at GUtech campus to offer artificial intelligence, AI, courses to equip GUtech students with much needed AI skills and to bridge the gap between AI theory and real-world AI applications through project-based learning with real industry challenges.

Dr Hussain Al Salmi, GUtech’s Acting Rector, and Mr Masood Al Rawahi, PhazeRo Executive Director, signed the agreement, in the presence of Dr Nabil Al Sahli, Dean of the Engineering and Computer Science faculty at GUtech.

PhazeRo is a specialist consultancy and future-oriented technology education group, building the region’s largest engineering team out of local software talent. PhazeRo handles digital consulting, software development, talent onboarding, and continuous improvement for corporate clients so they can get back to focusing on their core business.

Al Salmi announced that the signing of the agreement establishes a solid partnership ground with PhazeRo, as it will contribute to bring in real-world AI applications to the classroom. He added that GUtech spares no effort to provide students with the right practical skills they need to be ready for the job market. “collaborating with PhazeRo to infuse our curriculum with hands-on learning opportunities is an example,” he said, before adding that GUtech always seeks to bring in the industry into the learning process of students.

GUtech is finalising all requirements to launch the Cyber Security and Artificial Intelligence programmes, he stated. “It is extremely important to bring in the practical aspects of AI into our Computer Science curriculum and beyond.”

Through the expertise of PhazeRo, GUtech students will get to explore the real-life applications of AI in different sectors. Al Rawahi “We believe that high-performing tech talent is at the heart of a thriving innovation ecosystem. Our mission is to accelerate the development of the next generation of software engineers and data scientists to realise the ambitious goals laid out in Vision 2040. To achieve this, deep integration between industry and academia is necessary. We are excited to co-create a programme, with the GUtech, that infuses our industry experience with a rigorous academic curriculum that is very practical in nature.”

In the pilot stage, PhazeRo will deliver introductory AI courses to third year Computer Science students in September 2020. Al Sahli explained that “With the AI boom, it was necessary for GUtech to find an industrial partner who can support our vision in forming local AI experts.”

He continued: “PhazeRo is a young and very promising Omani company which we think can connect GUtech to the AI market and support us in improving our academic programmes by offering the opportunity to our students to practice AI concepts in real-world applications. We will start this partnership as soon as this month with a course that PhazeRo will offer to our third year CS students. This course will focus on machine learning and will give students the opportunity to plan and execute real machine learning projects to solve real-world problems.”

The collaboration with PhazeRo will also benefit students who will be joining the recently approved GUtech’s Bachelor of Artificial Intelligence programme. Upon launching the programme, PhazeRo will be engaged to deliver specialised courses.

The collaboration also aims at extending AI courses and trainings to passionate professionals seeking to upskill their technical knowledge in machine learning and AI applications.

The signing ceremony was held at GUtech campus in the presence of Mr Talal Al Nabulsi, responsible for training at GUtech’s training unit (TSSC), and Ms Reem Al Taei, the Business Development Executive at PhazeRo.

Virtual Internships at RWTH Aachen University for GUtech Students

Virtual internships at RWTH Aachen University for GUtech students

Virtual internships are the norm this year as the global pandemic has affected countless plans including internships. Amid these unprecedented times, RWTH Aachen University and the German University of Technology in Oman (GUtech) are forging new paths in cooperation to help students get real-life practice. Virtual internships under the supervision of experts from RWTH Aachen University allow students to continue learning and gain valuable experiences. “We are happy to find solutions in these difficult times” said Prof. Dr. Ute Habel, Vice-Rector for International Affairs at RWTH Aachen University. “This is a way to raise awareness about each other and to find new ways to collaborate digitally in these extraordinary times.”

While students are staying home over the summer break and employers in Oman have limited options of hosting student interns, they can use this time to continue learning. GUtech Bachelor students in Applied Geosciences, Computer Science International Business and Service Management, Logistics, and Mechanical Engineering are hosted as interns in various faculties at RWTH Aachen University. During their internships, students are working to find solutions for concrete scientific problems in their fields of study.

In addition to the valuable technical and scientific experience, students also gain intercultural skills. They are matched with “Online-Buddies” from RWTH Aachen University to support them during the experience and facilitate personal exchange on the student level.

 

 

“Students explore creative ways of expressing their ideas” – UPAD Professor about online assignments

The academic departments at the German University of Technology in Oman (GUtech) have been adjusting their regular assignments and thesis projects to online teaching. The Department of Urban Planning and Architectural Design (UPAD) has been conducting Bachelor thesis projects recently. Associate Professor Alexander Kader of the UPAD Department speaks about his experience during online teaching in the past weeks.

“Our online teaching experience for the Bachelor thesis projects has been a steep learning curve. But on a brighter note, our current limitations also resulted in very positive outcomes. Students explored creative ways of expressing their ideas and displayed a good understanding of developing problem-solving strategies,” said Assoc. Professor Alexander.

A creative idea of some UPAD students was to make videos in which several design solutions were shown by building an abstract architectural model, which was constantly transformed into different versions during the video. The video was shown as an accelerated film so that the creation of all the versions were visible within 2 minutes.

Regular teaching at the UPAD Department consists of regular consultations and independent or group work. “Given that the thesis at our UPAD department does not involve any online lectures or classes, students’ performances depend very much on regular consultations and feedbacks received. While conducting consultations face to face involve pen, paper and several brainstorming sessions, doing this online has been a challenge,” said Assoc. Prof. Alexander. The department faced a couple of trial and error runs while conducting group consultations using an online teaching software. “Then we settled for sending out written/recorded feedbacks to each student after their submissions, with online communication over the Moodle Integrated Big Blue Button as well,” said Assoc. Professor Alexander.

“Given the different software requirements for the UPAD thesis projects, the lack of access to computer laboratories has been a challenge for our students. Moreover, the lack of being in a studio to work on a project meant for the students, to set-up their work desks at their homes.” The UPAD students now work individually and during their own timings, their own pace and within their comfort, while delivering the expected results in time.

“In my view, the lack of opportunities to present projects face to face to other students and to their professors resulted in very innovative video presentations, while a number of deadlines and tasks had to be adapted to online teaching and digital submissions. To accommodate these very special circumstances, a steep learning curve has prepared us very well for the future teaching which will integrate more blended learning than in the past,” said Assoc. Professor Alexander.

“I want every day to be a challenge” – A UPAD students shares his study experiences

 

HALBAN A 4th year student in Urban Planning and Architectural Design (UPAD), Abdullah Al Mandhari (pictured), has shared some of his experiences about his online studies and his on-going projects. Sometimes Abdullah has been studying while being surrounded by his nephews and niece. This highlights the challenges students face within their home-environments, in a region that is highly family-oriented.

Managing social life at home and online studies can be challenging at times. In his view, online classes have positive and negative aspects. “Currently most of the students stay in their comfort zones, at home. But I think there will be less quality in our final projects, the thesis. Unfortunately, most of us are too distracted most of the time. I am currently working on the time-frame of my final project. I have worked on that every single holidays in our semester breaks,” he said. Recently Abdullah has worked on architectural design projects such as a drive-through cinema. “I have some other goals to reach within this year. I will participate in the International Design Contest “Jump the Gap” which will be held this month.” Jump the Gap is a worldwide competition in designing innovative and sustainable bathrooms for the future, held by Roca and in collaboration with the Barcelona Design Centre.

To concentrate on his projects and assignments, Abdullah has been following a weekly schedule. “When I focus on my goals, I can reach them easily. I always schedule my week to do different things such as my assignments, physical workout, I also work in my online business and I learn new skills. I want every day to be a challenge, so that I can learn much more from life and enhance my personality. I like to share the positive energy and create a motivating study-environment at home. I think students can always remind each other to work together or compete with each other in order to reach each phase of their work. I think many students don’t know how to increase their self-motivation at home. I sometimes played an important role to increase their motivation,” said Abdullah. He has been advising some of his study-colleagues via zoom meetings. “As far I can see, all the projects went very well. But now after two months of online classes and towards the end of our semester, it seems that the energy levels have dropped. We need continuous motivation to work on our projects,” he said while adding that “as a social person, I always text and call the people who I love and care for. We also watch movies online or have joint videos calls. It is fun because we realize how good days make us stronger in life. We didn’t realize that when we lived the moment but we realize now during these times, when we stay at home. In future, I can see myself as a businessman working in different fields. Currently, I don’t have any plans to do a master’s degree, but maybe later on in international business.”

Caption: Abdullah Al Mandhari surrounded by his niece and nephews.

© GUtech: Photo provided by Abdullah Al Mandhari, Text by Dr. Manuela Gutberlet

Campus in Blue to Honour Frontline Professionals during the Covid-19 Pandemic

GUtech Lights its Buildings Blue in Honour of Health Professionals and Frontline Staff and Workers

GUtech Campus Glowing in Blue

GUtech campus glowing in blue to honour the efforts of all professionals keeping us safe and protected.

To honour health professionals and all frontline staff and workers who are confronting the Covid-19 virus in hospitals and health centres, GUtech lights up its buildings in blue each evening at dark for an indefinite period of time starting from tonight, 11 May 2020.

Illuminating buildings in blue lights, GUtech rectorate and community show appreciation and gratefulness for the dedication and sacrifice of all professionals and remind all of us to wash hands and keep social distancing.

“We are glowing our campus in blue which can be seen from far to send a message of hope to the community around us for a better tomorrow and to say thank you to health professionals and all others for their hard work.” The Acting Rector, Dr Hussain Al Salmi, stated in support of all those professionals who are keeping us protected during the pandemic.

(c) GUtech/ Text: Fatima El Madkouri; Photo provided by Infrastructure Department