Oman’s Public Establishment for Industrial Estates (PEIE) has signed an agreement with Sultan Qaboos University (SQU) for the establishment of a research chair on industrial estates and free zones.
Through this agreement, PEIE and SQU seek to stimulate scientific research in the field of industrial estates and free zones, which play a role in the sultanate’s economic development, said a statement.
The agreement was signed by Hilal bin Hamad Al Hasani, chief executive officer of PEIE, and Dr Rahma bint Ibrahim Al Mahrooqi, deputy vice chancellor for Postgraduate Studies and Research at SQU, it said.
The vision of this research chair is to assist in capacity building in areas related to industrial estates and free zones through stimulating scientific research in areas that represent vital industrial needs that have not yet been developed.
The mission that will be adopted by the chair lies in the provision of high quality research and studies in the field of industrial estates and free zones through applied research, academic events and awareness research activities that contribute directly to the Sultanate’s economic and social development, it added.
Hilal Al Hasani stressed the importance of this research chair and emphasised that more research should be carried out to highlight the impact of industrial estates and free zones and their contribution to the national economy in the sultanate.
He said: “Such research should include sub-research areas such as statistics of foreign investors, the total investment in these areas compared to other economic sectors, and their ability to create jobs and contribute to Omanisation, among other topics.”
“In fact, the establishment of this research chair comes as a confirmation of the continuing interest of the sultanate’s government and its recognition of the potential advantages offered by the industrial estates and the free zones,” he added.
Al Hasani added that the Ninth Five-Year Plan (2016-2020) highlights a number of vital projects in the manufacturing, transport, logistics, tourism, fisheries and mining sectors. “These projects have been identified to act as a way to help the Sultanate achieve economic diversification,” he pointed out.
Al Mahrooqi said: “It is very important to strengthen the relationship between academia and the industry. The chair will help in twinning the efforts of PEIE with those of SQU so that research is used as a guide for industrial sustainable development.”
“Therefore, the chair will stimulate research and other forms of academic activity in areas related to industrial estates and free zones, which are of great importance to Oman, not only because these have often been overlooked in academic circles, but also because manufacturing, logistics, and trade – all of which intricately linked to the success of industrial estates and free zones – are of strategic importance for the Sultanate’s continued social and economic development,” she said.
“It is for these reasons that SQU and PEIE have joined together in establishing this research chair, in the knowledge that its instigation will allow us to gain a much clearer and better informed picture of the opportunities and challenges associated with the industrial estates and free zones within Oman and to devise solutions to challenges and recommend ways of grasping and capturing new opportunities,” she added.
The research chair aims at conducting quality research and studies that provide insights and solutions which are contextual, focused, and tailored towards the challenges faced by the industrial estates and free zones in Oman.
The chair also aspires at developing and supporting applied research related to the industrial estates and free zones in Oman, and helping guide policymakers, business leaders, decision makers and other stakeholders in making informed decisions about industrial estates and free zones to foster contribution to social and economic development.
Moreover, the research chair seeks to prepare Omani researchers and experts to perform organised research and creative work in areas related to strategies, sectoral performance, diversification, employment, productivity, environmental impact, among others.
The chair also aims at supervising graduates and preparing Omani researchers and experts to carry out creative and systematic works in areas related to industrial estates and free zones, and contributing to the development of human capital related to industrial estates and free zones by organising workshops and other specialised training courses and event.
Additionally, the chair shall support and enhance the university’s position in the fields of industrial estates and free zones locally, regionally and internationally through arranging local seminars and international seminars and conferences, and will support students and professors of Sultan Qaboos University in acquiring knowledge and skills in areas related to industrial estates and free zones.
The initiative also endeavours to help fulfil national development plans as they relate to industry and trade as outlined in Oman’s development strategies and the Five-Year Development Plan (2016-2020), it stated. – TradeArabia News Service
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