The Research Council (TRC) signed yesterday (on Tuesday) the pilot projects contracts of the Institute of the Advanced Technology Integration (IATI) with the Helmholtz Association of German Research Centres at the main building of TRC in Athaiba.
Signed by HE Dr. Hilal bin Ali Al Hinai, Secretary General of TRC, and by Prof. Dr. Peter Herzig, the Vice President of the Helmholtz Association of German Research Centres, IATI’s three pilot projects that would be developed over the next three years are Continous Hybrid Cooling Using Geothermal and Solar Heat Sources and Underground Syorage Systems, Submarine Groundwater Discharge, and IATI Wastewater pilot project.
According to HE Dr. Hilal bin Ali Al Hinai, Secretary General of TRC, the signing of IATI’s pilot projects contracts will have a leading role in enhancing the establishment of scientific competence centers of the institute, as well as, supervising the various research activities.
Omani Capacity Building
HE Dr. Hilal Al Hinai stressed on the importance of this scientific cooperation, which is part of the strategic vision set for IATI. “TRC is working on creating and strengthening the partnership among the industry and business sector, and the academic sector with the aim of targeting the development of research into marketable products and with the aim of finding applicable solutions built on research and innovation. The Institute will also work on creating research environment that enables experts from various fields to find innovative techniques and solutions that address the Sultanate’s concerned issues and challenges,” he said.
Prof. Dr. Herzig said that the role of Helmholtz Association in the development of IATI pilot projects would involve technology development, and capacity building where they will be PhD and Master Degree students from Oman in Germany.
“We are really hoping to establish a long lasting and fruitful cooperation with our colleagues here in Oman,” he said.
Helmholtz Support to IATI Project
Prof. Dr. Peter Herzig, the Vice President of the Helmholtz Association of German Research Centres, said, “Helmholtz Association of German Research Centers works at the interface of basic research and applied research. We are happy to support the idea of the Institute of the Advanced Technology Integration here in Oman,” he said.
“We hope that together with our colleagues here at The Research Council of Oman and at the University we would be developing those projects in the next three years,” Prof. Dr. Herzig.
“Helmholtz has 18 research institutions in Germany and we hope to be able to involve more than the four institutions that would be involved in the projects,” he added.
Encouraging Research Environment
From his side, Dr. Saif bin Abdullah Al Haddabi, Assistant Secretary-General for Research and Programs at TRC, said, “The hallmark of the institute is that it contributes towards the establishment of a culture of innovation and entrepreneurship in the research and scientific activities. In addition, it will stimulate conducting applied research in the sectors of high priority, which lead to the development of a new technologies that serve the market needs and offer innovative solutions of economic impact. IATI will create stimulating research environment for experts, researchers and academics for conducting applied research at the sectors of priority for economic development in the Sultanate which will eventually contribute to finding practical challenges solutions for the facing these sectors and in a sustainable manner.”
Importance of Water and Energy related Research Projects
It is worth mentioning that the strategic plan of the institute is based on important themes such as water, renewable energies, and oil and gas in collaboration with the German the Helmholtz Association of German Research Centres.
Water research projects are important due to the current and future challenges facing this resource because of the growing water needs to keep up with the comprehensive development witnessed in the Sultanate across all social, economic and tourism areas. The project aims at tracking the movement of water as well as controlling environmental factors and pollution in the marine environment. It also aims at water treatment using the techniques of decentralization units for designing, and manufacturing of water treatment units at residential areas that are away from the central sewage systems through taking advantage of non-conventional water resources.
With regard to the field of renewable energy, the renewable energy project aims to take advantage of solar and thermal energies of the core of the earth that could be a source of energy or of storing energy in order to be optimally utilized in the production of electricity and the adaptation processes for reducing the use of fossil fuel and thereby reducing the emission of greenhouse gases. The projects also aim at building the Omani capacities in terms of rehabilitation, training and working with their counterparts of the German experts in research projects inside and outside the Sultanate or at research centers in Germany.
It is worth mentioning that TRC Board in its second meeting on March, 2014, approved the results of the study on setting up IATI that was carried out by the Helmholtz Association of German Research Centres.