The Research Council (TRC) organized the National Symposium for the National Strategy for Research and Development (NSRD) 2040 on Sunday (December 15) at Oman Convention & Exhibition Centre.
NSRD 2040, which is conducted with a participatory approach and led by TRC teams, in collaboration with government, private and academic institutions, aims to prepare an integrated national strategy for research and development that is informed by the global experience and is responsive to local needs, align research priorities with Oman Vision 2040 and other national strategies in order to enhance the role of R&D in addressing current and emerging challenges. This new strategy also aims to develop an implementation plan that facilitates institutional integration, participation and efficiency, and continue the efforts regarding raising awareness of the R&D culture and its importance in the transformation towards the knowledge-based economy.
A varied range of nearly 500 participants from the various government and private institutions attended this important National Symposium that finalized the draft of NSRD 2040, which is expected to be the roadmap for research and development activities and scenario in the Sultanate of Oman for the years from 2020 to 2040.
International experts from the former International Advisory Board of TRC and an international expert from the Senate of Pakistan delivered their insights in the Symposium.
This National Symposium, which was held under the patronage of HE Dr. Rawya Al Busaidiya, Minister of Higher Education, was preceded by the first national workshop on April 28-29, which was attended by 239 participants, and the second one on September 24, which was attended by 665 participants.
This National Symposium on NSRD 2040 addressed the goals of preparing an integrated national strategy for research and development that is informed by the global expertise and is responsive to local needs, aligning research priorities with Oman Vision 2040 and other national strategies in order to enhance the role of R&D in addressing current and emerging challenges and also develop an implementation plan that facilitates institutional integration, participation and efficiency, and lastly continuing the efforts regarding raising awareness of the R&D culture and its importance in the transformation towards the knowledge-based economy.
Delivering the opening remarks of the symposium, HE Dr. Hilal bin Ali Al Hinai, Secretary General of TRC, said, “Until 2018, The Research Council, in collaboration with the private sector, has spent more than 91 million Omani Rials on research and innovative programs, which benefited the academic and government sectors.”
According to Dr. Jamilla bint Ali Al Hinai, the Project Director for the NSRD 2040 who briefed the symposium’s audience on the preparation stages and objectives of NRSD 2040,
The procedural steps for analysing the current scenario were based on evaluating scientific research activities and programs, comparing and analyzing the performance indicators of scientific research and development and identifying the gaps with the highest ranked 20 countries.
Eight international models selected were analyzed and reviewed while preparing the strategy. Regionally, the strategy analyzed the models of Qatar and Saudi Arabia, while South Korea and Singapore were the Asian while preparing the strategy. The strategy also considered the experiences of the UK, Germany and Norway as European models, while from North America, the strategy benefited from the Canadaian model experience.
Delivering the keynote address of the strategy’s international experts on ‘Developing an R&D Strategy and Research Agenda’, Prof. Geraldine Richmond, Presidential Chair in Science and Professor of Chemistry at the University of Oregon in the USA, and a former member of the International Advisory Board (IAB) of TRC, said, “To address the scientific and technical challenges of the future of work and productivity, interdisciplinary science and engineering research and associated education needed to understand new technologies and enable the creation of technologies that people can use to enrich their lives in the future world of work.”
According to Dr. Musadik Malik, Member of the Senate of Pakistan, a former Federal Minister for Water and Power and a former Advisor to the Prime Minister for Energy, who delivered keynote address on the role of scientific research and innovation in the transformation towards the knowledge-based economy, Oman’s future prosperity depends upon the R&D framework that jumps the innovation curve through creativity and productivity.
The symposium ended with a panel discussion titled ‘The National Research and Development Strategy 2040: Pathways to Achieve Goals’, moderated by Prof. Dr. Burkhard Rauhut, Rector of RWTH Aachen University and a former member of the IAB of TRC.
Commenting on his participation at the Symposium, Dr. Qasim Al Mamari, Assistant Dean for Academic Affairs and Scientific Research at College of Applied Sciences-Sohar, said, “The importance of this strategy is very great because research is an integral part of what we do as academics in higher education institutes whether for faculty members who strive to put their research output outside there and bring their names for themselves or for our student who we try our best to instill this culture and these skills of doing research because this is an integral part of what we do as academics. I’m very happy to see that the strategy has followed a scientific way of developing in the last few months.”
“I have been part of this process. I have attended many of the forums that preceded this one and I am pretty sure that the operational plans for this strategy plan are going to go ahead very smoothly,” Dr. Qasim said.
Dr. Zakiyya Nasser Al Busaidi, Lecturer at Nizwa College of Technology, stressed on the importance of the focus on the having the proper environment for research and development.
“The National Strategy for Research and Development (NSRD) 2040 is vital for all Omani institutions and not just academic institutions. If the strategy is carried out successfully, Oman will rise as a society. The strategy will be able to provide support and a research environment that will be beneficial to the academic sector,” she added.