The United Arab Emirates University (UAEU) and Sultan Qaboos University (SQU) agreed to fund four new joint research projects during academic year 2013/2014. The projects were selected from 25 such projects submitted to a research competition. The research committee agreed to implement 22 projects across the two universities: 12 have already been completed and their findings published; while 10 are still in progress.
This cooperation is part of a strategic and scientific partnership between the two universities which began in 2003. It is directly connected to the needs of both Emirati and Omani societies. This partnership includes cooperation across various academic subjects, student activities and an exchange of expertise between the two universities.
Researchers presented orally on the 10 current research projects at the 18th meeting of the joint Scientific Council. This meeting was held at the UAEU campus on 29th of May, 2014. The council discussed the issues faced by researchers and reviewed the latest research proposals. All in all there were 12 new research proposals to be considered for funding in the coming year.
The first of the four new projects selected was entitled – A study on the problems of resistance to pesticides, and their remaining effects in the vegetable crops of Oman and the UAE – the solution to this problem being rapid molecular detection techniques and by better educating farmers. This project addresses the development of rapid techniques for detecting resistance to pesticides, the development of a similar technique for detecting residual pesticides and the introduction of a screening model to assess the contamination of soil and water. This project also incorporated the development of technology that can detect molecular pesticide resistance, as well as raising farmers’ awareness about the risks posed by the resistance of pests to chemical pesticides.
The second study chosen was called – A molecular study of the treatment of breast cancer with a mixture of camel’s milk and urine – this focused on alternative medical practices, such as treatment of breast cancer with a mixture of camel’s milk and urine. In the Middle East and other countries this is considered as an alternative treatment for cancer. The study shows that this mixture is capable of preventing the development of cancer cells.
The third project specialized in the science of molecular analysis and was put forward under the title – Molecular diagnostics of metabolic diseases among the citizens of UAE and Oman. This study aims to diagnose metabolic diseases (i.e. genetic diseases) accurately, and develop prevention strategies. These diseases are found predominantly among the citizens of the UAE and Oman due to high rates of marriage between relatives.
The fourth project was – The establishment of water balance in the area between the UAE and Oman, particularly Al Ain and Al Buraimi, using stable isotopes and radioisotopes – its aim is to use isotopic analysis to build a model for shared water basins between the two locations and to channel the runoff of surface water and rainwater directly into dams, water basins and aquifers.
Dr. Ali Rashid Al Noaimi, UAEU Vice Chancellor, said that these grants are due to the wise leadership of both countries who encourage cooperation in academic fields and support scientific research in order to continue to move both countries forward. He also emphasized the leading role of the university and its scientific capabilities as part of its role as a leading national educational institution: one that is keen to collaborate with other universities in the region.
His Excellency, Dr. Ali Bin Saud Al-Bimani, Vice Chancellor of SQU, welcomed these initiatives from the joint committee and clarified that research funding should be directed to serve the most pressing needs of the two countries, especially in the fields of healthcare and food security. He added that SQU and UAEU have followed this premise since the inception of the joint commission.
Professor Reyadh Al Mehaideb, the Deputy Vice Chancellor for Research & Graduate Studies, said that that the research collaboration program between the two universities aims to increase the amount of joint research and to exploit mutual scientific resources. It also harnesses the expertise of both faculties so that they can discuss issues of common interest while jointly researching these one to three year projects. The joint committee supported six research projects during the previous year (2012-2013) that are being implemented in the faculties of medicine, health sciences, science and engineering. There is also an annual competition for the best research proposals organized alternately by the departments for scientific research at each university: these proposals are then also evaluated externally to choose the best one in an open and transparent manner
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