Muscat – The winners of the 8th National Research Award and the 5th Upgrade programme were announced at the eighth edition of the Annual Research Forum that took place on Wednesday at the Kempinski Hotel Muscat.
Organised by the Ministry of Higher Education, Research and Innovation (MoHERI), the forum was held under the patronage of H E Dr Said bin Mohammed al Saqri, Minister of Economy, and in attendance of H E Dr Rahma bint Ibrahim al Mahrooqi, Minister of Higher Education, Research and Innovation, and a number of innovators, academics and research winners.
The Annual Research Forum opened with a welcoming speech by H E Dr Rahma who stressed the importance of the National Research Award in alignment with the goals of Oman Vision 2040 as it seeks to raise the quality of research and knowledge output at the national level.
Following her speech, 13 winning research projects out of the 243 projects submitted this year for the National Research Award (NRA), were announced. The awards are divided in to the best published research led by a PhD holder or equivalent (senior specialist or higher in the medical field) category and the best published research led by a young researcher (non-PhD holder) category.
Under the PhD category, ‘A Centralised Cloud Services Repository (CCSR) Framework for Optimal Cloud Service Advertisement Discovery from Heterogenous Web Portals’ by Dr Asma al Kalbani from the University of Technology and Applied Sciences Ibri, won in the Information and Communication Technologies sector.
In the Energy and Industry sector, the award went to ‘Exploring the potential of solar, tidal, and wind energy resources in Oman using an integrated climatic-socioeconomic approach’ by Dr Mohamed Hereher from Sultan Qaboos University (SQU), while in the Health and Social Services sector, the award went to ‘Randomized controlled open label trial on the use of favipiravir combined with inhaled interferon beta-1b in hospitalized patients with moderate to severe COVID-19 pneumonia’ by Dr Faryal Ali Khamis (Ministry of Health).
As for the Education and Human Resources sector, ‘Organizational pride as an antecedent of employee creativity in the petrochemical industry’ by Dr Omar Durrah from Dhofar University was awarded for his project.
Two teams won in the Cultural, Social and Basic Sciences sector; ‘Management strategies for supply risk dependencies: empirical evidence from the gulf region’ by Dr Zainab al Balushi (SQU) and ‘Mapping road traffic crash hotspots using GIS-based methods: A case study of Muscat Governorate in the Sultanate of Oman’ by Dr Amira al Aamri (MoHERI).
Lastly, in the Environmental and Biological Resources sector, the award went to ‘Investigating the efficiency of greenhouse production in Oman: A two-stage approach based on Data Envelopment Analysis and double bootstrapping’ by Dr Nawal al Mezeini.
Under the Young Researcher’s category, ‘Detection and Trust Evaluation of the SGN Malicious node’ by Faisal al Yahmadi from Military Technological College took the award in the Information and Communication Technologies sector.
In the Energy and Industry sector, the award went to ‘Simultaneous Energy and Environment-based Optimization and Retrofit of TEG Dehydration Process: An Industrial Case Study’ by Dr Zainab al Ani (SQU), while ‘A Competitive Nature-derived Multilayered Scaffold based on Chitosan and Alginate, for Full-thickness Wound Healing’ by Saeid Vakilian (University of Nizwa) took the award in the Health and Social Services sector.
For the Education and Human Resources sector, the award went to ‘The Situation of Entrepreneurship Education and Future Technology in Omani Schools’ by Yasir al Shuhumi from the Ministry of Education. ‘A novel and selective multi-emission chemiluminescence system for the quantification of deltamethrin in food samples’ by Iman al Yahyai (SQU) took the award in the Cultural, Social and Basic Sciences sector, while ‘Operational modifications of a full-scale experimental vertical flow constructed wetland with effluent recirculation to optimise total nitrogen removal’ by Buthaina al Wahaibi (Oman Wastewater Services Company SAOC) was awarded in the Environmental and Biological Resources sector.
In addition to announcing the winners of the NRA, the forum also announced the three winning teams of the 5th edition of Upgrade programme, a programme that transforms the best graduation projects in the 4th Industrial Revolution technologies into successful ICT startups to bring socio-economic benefit to Oman.
Upgrade is a collaborative partnership between the Ministry of Higher Education, Research and Innovation, Omantel, Oman Technology Fund (OTF), the Ministry of Culture, Sports and Youth, Sas Center of the Ministry of Technology and Communications, and the Authority for SME Development.
The winning projects of this year’s Upgrade program were awarded to ‘Industrial IoT for Operational Efficiency Improvement’ by Ahmed al Ghadani (National University of Science and Technology), ‘Development of AI based Arabic Natural Language Processing of sentiment analysis application software for national security and planning’ by Ali al Harthi and Safiya al Harthi (Middle East College), and ‘Thermal Infra-Red Imaging Assessment of Solar PV Modules’ by Al Qaisar al Aamri, Majid al Omairi and Sultan al Shabibi (SQU).
Eng Aladdin Baitfadhil, Vice President Consumer Business Unit at Omantel, said, “Entrepreneurship constitutes one of the most important areas of focus for government efforts aimed at creating job opportunities and self-employment for Omani youth. For this purpose, Upgrade seeks to benefit from graduation projects in the areas of the 4th Industrial Revolution in various universities and colleges, which seeks to find innovative solutions to the challenges and problems we face in our daily lives and turn them into innovative entrepreneurial projects by providing the required funding for the winning projects and incubating the projects in Omantel Innovation Labs, as well as providing the necessary guidance, training in addition to other services.”
The forum also witnessed a signing of a cooperation agreement for Oman Innovate Platform, which is a unified digital platform that transforms ideas into direct and indirect profits through the integration of efforts and the establishment of an effective digital environment that contributes to building a knowledge-based society and economy. The signing was between the founding parties which included the Ministry of Higher Education, Research and Innovation, Omantel, Petroleum Development Oman (PDO), Oman Information Technology and Communications Group of Oman Investment Authority, the Public Establishment for Industrial Estates (Madayn) and the Authority for SME Development.