GIS Application to Aquaculture and Fisheries Development Issue 332

Educational Outreach to School Students
Kāna, ʔinna, and ð ̣anna, and their Sisters
Mind Over Matter
SQU, Czech University to take up joint project
News Update
GIS Application to
Aquaculture and
Fisheries Development
Department of Public
Relations and Information
Sultan Qaboos University
Issue 332
View Point
Sustainable Transport
Effective and efficient transportation systems are vital to the prosperity of any
country because they link residents with employment, public services, shopping and social networks, and businesses to labour consumer, buyer, and supplier markets. As transportation facilities extend beyond local jurisdictions, it
is essential to include them in national development strategies. Transportation
is an investment tool that cities use to help achieve larger goals. Transportation
planners and engineers always focus on the efficient movement of people and
goods across the country.
Mohamed Salem Al Ghailani
Editorial Supervision
Santhosh Muthalath
Senior Editor
Sara Al Gheilani
Nasebah Al Muharrami
Ahlam Al Wahaibi
Design & Layout
Photography Dept., CET
Salim Al Sudairi
Transportation policy of a country is inevitably a social policy. The Sultanate is
seriously considering improving its transportation services. The introduction of
more city bus services in the capital Muscat is one of the steps in this direction.
SQU is also planning to support the society by conducting research in transportation sciences. Transportation projects should address the society as a whole.
Apart from delivering proper infrastructure to motorists, pedestrians’ issues
also should be addressed in transportation planning. Inclusion of sidewalks
and bicycle ways is significant in transportation planning. Sidewalks separated
from the roadway are the preferred accommodation for pedestrians. Sidewalks
provide many benefits including safety, mobility, and healthier communities.
In addition to reducing walking along roadway crashes, sidewalks reduce other
pedestrian crashes. Research has found that roadways without sidewalks are
more than twice as likely to have pedestrian crashes as sites with sidewalks
on both sides of the street. Providing sidewalks, widened paved shoulders, or
stabilized shoulders—particularly when providing access to public transit—can
increase the transportation options for individuals who may not be able to drive
a car.
Research indicates that people will walk for recreational purposes if a facility is
provided. Recreational walking is one of the easiest ways for people to get the
recommended allotment of physical exercise each day. Moderate exercise, such
as walking, contributes to both physical and mental well-being. Our body is designed for walking and 20 minute walking is essential for proper functioning of
many of our bodily systems. Transport systems that do not make daily walking
a pleasure for all citizens will tend to result in significant public costs.
Horizon invites contributions from SQU members of staff and faculty. Contributions in the form of
articles, news, travelogues, stories of unique and interesting experiences, encounters, etc., are welcome. Contributions may be edited for the sake of clarity and length. Please send your contributions
to preferably, as MSWord attachments. Authors will be suitably credited.
The views and opinions expressed in the articles published in this newsletter are those of the authors
and are not to be construed as the official views of the publication. Horizon is published three times a
month by the Department of Public Relations and Information, Sultan Qaboos University, P.O. Box 50,
P.C. 123, Muscat, Sultanate of Oman.
Phone: +968 24141045
10 February 2016
Fax: +968 24413 391
News Update
SQU, Czech University to
take up joint project
A delegation from Czech Technical University (CTU) visited Sultan
Qaboos University and discussed ways for establishing cooperation
between the two institutions. The Czech delegation consisted of Prof.
Dr. Ing. Miroslav Svitek, Dean, Faculty of Transportation Sciences,
Czech Technical University, Ivo Vanek, Councilor for Municipal District Prague 4, and Siddhartha Barua. Prof. Khalifa Saif Al Jabri, Head
of Department of Civil & Architectural Engineering, College of Engineering, and Dr. Ghazai Ar Rawas, Assistant Professor, Department to
of Civil & Architectural Engineering represented SQU.
The discussion mainly focused on collaborating on a joint project in the
field of transportation sciences. This idea was proposed by Prof. Dr.
Ing. Miroslav Svitek, who is heading this department at Czech Technical University. Talking on the same idea, and taking things further,
Prof. Khalifa mentioned about the excellent highway system present
in the Sultanate while having a large number of road accident cases
associated with it every year. He further continued by saying that the
matter has been taken up by the State Council and other bodies and
they are factors that lead to road accidents. Prof. Khalifa also proposed
to establish student and faculty exchange between the two institutions,
and offered exchange of faculty during sabbatical leave as well. The
delegates from CTU invited SQU officials to participate in Smart Cities Symposium Prague 2016 that is taking place in May and is organized by CTU, Faculty of Transportation Sciences in cooperation with
the Euro American Association on Telematics and Information System.
The participation may help Oman to connect with Prague at large.
Director of Sun Moon
Center Received
Prof. Dr. Ismail Won Sam Lee, Director of Sun Moon Center for Islamic
Studies at Sun Moon University, South Korea, visited SQU to explore
collaboration with SQU in the area of Islamic and Arabic studies. Prof.
Won Sam Lee was received by officials from the International Cooperation Office at SQU, academicians from Islamic Sciences and Arabic
studies departments.
The director from Sun Moon showed keen interest in promoting Islam
(as a new religion) in Korea keeping in view the population of Muslims
existing in the county (around 20,000) in comparison to 50 million Koreans. He said that Sun Moon University would like to collaborate in
the area of Islamic and Arabic studies for student exchange program.
Dr. Sulaiman Al Shuaili, Head of Islamic Sciences Department, College
of Education, brought in light the special program designed for foreign
students to get familiar with Omani Islamic Culture. Another course
he mentioned for students to opt while studying at SQU was Islamic
Economics. Dr. Mohammed Jamal, Arabic studies department, College
of Arts & Social Sciences, mentioned that the department is in the final
stage of launching diploma program for non-Arabic speakers.
The two sides agreed on receiving students from Sun Moon University
to study Arabic and Islamic Sciences at SQU for a semester as “listeners”. This is to take place in fall 2016. They also agreed on coming up
with a general agreement to be signed between the two institutions in
order to cover the areas of student and academic exchange programs.
SQU, Macquarie University to Boost Ties
A delegation from Macquarie University, Australia visited Sultan Qaboos University recently and held discussions with senior academicians about strengthening the ties between the two universities in
different fields. The Macquarie delegation included Dr. Paul Schreier,
Chief Operating Officer, Prof. Gilles Guillemin from the Faculty of
Medicine and Health Sciences, Prof. Phil Taylor from the Faculty of
Science & Engineering, and Mrs. Michele Robinson, Associate Director
for International Relations.
The delegation held discussions with Prof. Omar Al Rawas, Dean of
the College of Medicine & Health Sciences, Hon. Dr. Rashid Abdullah Al-Yahyai, Dean of the College of Agricultural & Marine Sciences, and Dr. Shahid Al Balushi, Expert-International Relations, and
Dr. Mohamed Essa, Associate Professor in Food Science & Nutrition
at the College of Agricultural & Marine Sciences at SQU. The discussions focused on ways to strengthen academic and research ties
between the two institutions. The two sides reviewed future strategies for boosting the cooperation by promoting student and faculty
exchanges and collaborative research in various fields including nutrition, food science, crop protection, economics, and medicine and
health sciences.
Currently, the two universities have research partnerships in human
nutrition and behavioural medicine. This was materialized through
collaborative research initiatives in nutrition and cognitive disorders between Dr. Mohamed Essa and Prof. Samir Al Adawi from
SQU and Prof. Gilles Guillemin from Macquarie University. Macquarie University is consistently ranked in the top two per cent of
universities in the world and within the top 10 in Australia.
10 February 2016
GIS Application to Aquaculture
and Fisheries Development
The Musandam Peninsula, located in northeastern
Arabian crustal plate, is surrounded by areas of active
earth crustal movement. The geology of the Peninsula
is dominated by shelf carbonates of the Hajar Super
Group. The deformation of the eastern part of the Arabian Plate commenced in the Late Cretaceous and mid
Tertiary. The Musandam Peninsula is on the leading
edge of the Arabian Plate which is being pushed under the Euroasian Plate and forming the Zagros Mountains in Iran and the Makran Mountains in Iran and
Pakistan. The present picturesque and rugged coastline
with numerous khawrs (fjords) has been shaped by the
sinking of the Peninsula and the rushing of the sea to
fill to the created valleys. However, the higher elevation mountains remain above the water.
Commercial and research applications to aquaculture development in the Sultanate of Oman are still in their early stages. Nevertheless, the potential of aquaculture
to contribute immensely to the economy and food security of the country cannot
be underestimated. The Sultanate is blessed with diverse and long coastline that
could be very productive for commercial and small scale aquaculture industry. Site
selection for a successful long-term aquaculture project entails the analysis of the
optimum biophysical parameters as well as socio-economic characteristics at the
area of interest.
For the first in the Sultanate, the Directorate of Aquaculture Development, Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries Wealth, in collaboration with the Remote Sensing
and GIS Center, Sultan Qaboos University, are conducting a development project
using Geographical Information System (GIS) for aquaculture and fisheries development in the Musandam Governorate. The 30-month duration project, which is
funded by the Agriculture and Fisheries Development Fund, commenced in September 2014 and will be completed in 2017. The principal objective of the project is
to develop spatial planning tools to support the ecosystem approach—considering
bio-physical and socio-economic factors, suitability of cultured species, scale of
operations and farming technologies employed—to aquaculture and fisheries development in the Musandam Governorate. The specific objectives are to: (1) design
suitable site selection processes for sustainable aquaculture development in the
Governorate by using GIS and related technologies as tools to assess and analyze
the key industry-related environment factors, i.e. environment and water quality,
land availability and usage, infrastructure available, markets, etc.; (2) define and
analyze key bio-physical and socio-economic datasets for aquaculture and fisheries development, including site suitability, production capability (carrying capacity) and business potential; and (3) define and evaluate adaptive and collaborative
strategies with local fishing industry and/or other industries in the region. GIS
analysis has emerged as invaluable technology for ecosystem analysis, evaluation
and monitoring. The technique allows data manipulation using several analytical
functions as well as modeling, and continues to be an integral part of projects dealing with commercial fishing, aquaculture, and many others dealing with resource
assessment and management.
10 February 2016
Musandam Governorate consists of four wilayats
(Khasab, Bukha, Dibba Al Baya, and Madha) and covers an area of 1618 km2 with a coastal length of 600
km. Most of the towns and villages along the coast are
accessible only by boat. The current population according to data from the National Center for Statistics and
Information (NCSI) is 40,851. The annual precipitation
in Musandam varies from 150 to 200 mm with spring
accounting for 40% and winter 50%, respectively. The
mean cold temperatures vary from 10-12oC and the
warm summer temperatures from 30-35oC. The most
predominant wind in the Arabian Gulf is the northwesterly Shamal which occurs throughout the year.
The winds are slightly stronger from November-February (approximately 5 m per second) than from JuneSeptember (approximately 3 m per second). The coastal
circulation in the area is mainly due to the Arabian Gulf
water outflow at about 200 m depth and a salty outflow
from the Arabian Gulf at 100 m depth, including a surface flow from the Sea of Oman towards the Arabian
Dr. Andy Kwarteng, Director of the Remote Sensing
and GIS Center at SQU, said that the project entails water quality measurements at 105 selected monitoring
sites incorporating the major khawrs in Musandam as
well as part of the open seas along the northwest Sea
of Oman and southeast Arabian Gulf. “The water quality parameters consist of pressure (depth), chlorophyll,
turbidity, dissolved oxygen, pH, temperature and conductivity (which provides salinity). The main output
from the multi-criteria GIS-based analysis of site suitability for sustainable aquaculture development project in the Musandam Governorate will be to identify
the potential sites, possible options, main issues mitigation strategies and recommended scenarios. Developed models will be based on the potential farmed
species. In addition non-specie specific models will
be produced offering more flexibility in site selection,
which could be queried by user-defined limits placed
on various parameters of the model and location. The
project will form the basis for an ecosystem-based and
business-oriented approach in assessing and managing
coastal and inland aquaculture projects in the Musandam Governorate”, he said.
Mind Over Matter
Kāna, ʔinna, and ð ̣anna, and their Sisters:
What do they EXACTLY Do?
The Answer from Two Approaches
marians maintain that ‘kāna’ is fiʕl nāqiṣ, meaning incomplete, because it does not have a meaning (like ‘read’ and ‘write’), and so it
does not have an agent/fāʕil/doer, but rather a subject/ʔism, which is
why it does not have an object (mafʕūl bih), and so it does not assign a
structural Acc case, but rather a lexical one. Therefore, the view of the
modern case theory is more plausible since it distinguishes between
the Acc case assigned by verbs like ‘read’ and ‘write’, which is structural, and the Acc case assigned by copular verbs ‘ʔafʕāl nāqiṣah’, like
kāna, which is lexical.
Dr. Rashid Al-Balushi
Assistant Professor of Linguistics
Department of English Language & Literature
The traditional theory of case (‫ )نظرية الصيغ الصرفية لألسماء‬recognizes two
types of case, one received from other words, and one obtained from no
words (by ʔibtidāʔ, or by default). The modern theory of case, on the
other hand, recognizes several types of case, of which three are relevant
to Standard Arabic (SA). These are structural case, which is assigned by
verbs to subjects (fāʕil) and objects (mafʕūl bih) only, and lexical case,
which is assigned by particles (ʔadawāt/ħurūf, like ʔinna) and verbs like
kāna and ð ̣anna to topics (mubtadaʔ) and predicates (xabar) only, as well
as default case, which topics and predicates appear with in the absence of
lexical case assigners, as in (1).
1. ʔal-walad-u
the-boy-Nom hardworking-Nom
‘The boy is hardworking.’
Here, both the traditional and modern theories assume that ‘ʔal-walad-u’,
which is a topic (mubtadaʔ), and ‘mujtahid-un’, which is a predicate (xabar), receive Nom case (marfūʕ) by default (ʔibtidāʔ). Both approaches
are reasonable because the noun and adjective in (1) are not preceded by
case assigners, which is the condition for the application of the default case
Thus the difference between structural case and lexical case is that the
former is assigned to ‘arguments’ (subjects and objects of verbs like ‘eat’
and ‘write’), whereas the latter is assigned to ‘non-arguments’ (nouns that
are neither subjects nor objects). Using the following examples, this article
reviews how the traditional and modern approaches view the cases assigned by these three elements, kāna, ʔinna, and ð ̣anna, and shows that the
modern view is more plausible. We use ‘Nom case’ to refer to ‘marfūʕ’ and
‘Acc case’ to refer to ‘manṣūb’.
2. kāna l-walad-u
the-boy-Nom hardworking-Acc
‘The boy was hardworking.’
The traditional theory maintains that ‘l-walad-u’ in (2) is the ʔism of ‘kāna’
and that it receives Nom case from ‘kāna’, and that ‘mujtahid-an’ is the
xabar (predicate) of ‘kāna’ and so receives Acc case (manṣūb) from it.
By contrast, the modern case theory states that ‘l-walad-u’ is the subject
(not agent/doer) of ‘kāna’ and receives structural Nom case from it, but
that ‘mujtahid-an’ is the xabar of ‘l-walad-u’ and receives lexical Acc case
from ‘kāna’; ‘mujtahid-an’ is not the xabar of ‘kāna’ because it does not
inform about ‘kāna’, but about the subject, ‘l-walad-u’. Traditional gram-
3. ʔinna
certainly the-boy-Acc hardworking-Nom
‘Certainly, the boy is hardworking.’
The traditional case theory maintains that ‘l-walad-a’ in (3) is the ʔism
of ‘ʔinna’ and receives Acc case from it, and that ‘mujtahid-un’ is the
xabar of ‘ʔinna’ and receives Nom case from it. By contrast, the modern theory assumes that ‘l-walad-a’ is a topic (mubtadaʔ) and that it
receives lexical Acc case from ‘ʔinna’, and that ‘mujtahid-un’ is the
xabar of ‘l-walad-a’, not of ‘ʔinna’, and that it does not receive case
from ‘ʔinna’; ‘mujtahid-un’ receives default Nom case, that is, Nom
by ʔibtidāʔ since it is not preceded by a word qualified to assign it any
kind of case. This is because, as maintained in the traditional grammar
of Arabic, ‘ʔinna’ and its sisters, like the other particles (ʔadawāt),
and unlike verbs (ʔafʕāl), can assign case to one element only, which
makes the view based on the modern theory of case more plausible.
4. ð ̣anna
believed the-teacher-Nom the-boy-Acc hardworking-Acc
‘The teacher believed the boy to be hardworking.’
Traditional grammarians maintain that ‘l-muʕallim-u’ is the subject
of ‘ð ̣anna’, and so it receives Nom case from it, and that ‘l-walad-a’
and ‘mujtahid-an’ are the two objects of ‘ð ̣anna’, and that they receive Acc case from it. By contrast, the modern theory assumes that
‘l-muʕallim-u’, which is the subject of ‘ð ̣anna’, receives structural
Nom case from it, and that the other argument (object) of ‘ð ̣anna’ is
the nominal sentence (jumlah ʔismiyyah, ‘l-walad-a mujtahid-an’)
that follows the subject and is composed of a topic, ‘l-walad-a’, and a
predicate, ‘mujtahid-an’, and that it is this sentence that receives the
structural Acc case from ‘ð ̣anna’. Both nouns, ‘l-walad-a’ and ‘mujtahid-an’, receive lexical Acc case from ‘ð ̣anna’ since neither is an
argument (or true object) of ‘ð ̣anna’; ‘mujtahid-an’ is even a predicate
(xabar). Therefore, the modern view is more superior since what ‘the
teacher’ believed is neither ‘l-walad-a’ nor ‘mujtahid-an’, but rather
the idea (or sentence) that ‘the boy’ is ‘hardworking’.
This is clear in (5), where the argument/object of ‘ð ̣anna’ is a full sentence (ʔanna l-walad-a mujtahid-un) that receives the structural Acc
case assigned by ‘ð ̣anna’. The fact that the predicate ‘mujtahid-un’ has
Nom, not Acc case, shows that ‘ð ̣anna’ does not assign lexical case in
(5), for reasons beyond this article. What happens is that ‘ʔanna’ assigns lexical Acc to the topic ‘l-walad-a’, and the predicate ‘mujtahidun’ receives Nom case by default.
5. ð ̣anna
ʔanna l-walad-a
believed the-teacher-Nom that the-boy-Acc hardworking-Nom
‘The teacher believed that the boy is hardworking.’
Needless to say that what has been said about kāna, ʔinna, and ð ̣anna,
also applies to their respective sisters, and that these are not the only
two approaches to these facts.
10 February 2016
News Round Up
Research Gives Insight into MAR
work in Al-Ansab wetlands, Samail lower catchment area, Jemma
site in Oman and Wadi Azarqa in Jordan. “The studies proved that
managed aquifer recharge using treated wastewater helps to suck
more fresh water from the aquifers, prevent salt water intrusion
into the aquifers by setting a hydraulic barrier. The main achievement of the work is that we could develop analytical solutions and
better understanding of the mound dynamics and dimensions of
the slanted aquifer bed that would help in effective recharge of the
aquifers”, he said. Dr. Al Maktoomi further said that their experiments in Al Batinah region proved that managed aquifer could
improve quality of coastal aquifers. The bad quality of the existing aquifers affected by salt-water intrusion from the sea can be
cured through managed aquifer recharge in a time span of 15 to
20 years”, he added.
The SQU Water Research Centre, in association with the Department of Soils, Water & Agricultural Engineering (SWAE) of the
College of Agricultural & Marine Sciences (CAMS) organized a
three day workshop on “Reuse of treated wastewater: managed
aquifer recharge and direct use in farming activities” recently.
This workshop marked the conclusion of a research project titled
“managed aquifer recharge using treated wastewater in different geological settings of MENA countries” funded by USAID
(United States Agency for International Development). Dr. Ali
Khamis Suliman Al-Maktoomi from Sultan Qaboos University is
the principal investigator of this research project, supported by
researchers from the University of Jordan and the University of
Nebraska Lincoln. Through this project, the researchers investigated the usability of managed aquifer recharge (MAR) using
treated wastewater in different geological settings in the Middle
East and North Africa (MENA).
Dr. Al-Maktoomi said that during the last one and a half years of
the researchers from the three universities conducted joint field-
This research project has resulted in 11 conference papers and abstracts. Two papers have been published in reputed international
journals. Two papers are under review; three are under preparation. Dr. Al Maktoomi opined that the project paved way for research collaboration with international partners, ministries, private organizations and NGOs in Oman and in the MENA region.
“Depending on availability of funds, we are planning more research on managed aquifer recharge in Oman and other countries
in the region.
The workshop was held under the patronage of Hon. Dr. Rashid
Abdullah Al Yahyaee, Dean of the College of Agricultural & Marine Sciences. Dr. Osman Abdalla, Director of the Water Research
Centre at SQU, in his address, gave an overview of this internationally funded research project, stressing on the involvement of
SQU in it. Representing Oman Water Society, Dr. Mohammed Al
Abri from the TRC Chair in Nanotechnology at SQU, spoke about
the potential uses of reuse of treated wastewater in Oman from a
social perspective.
CIRC Hosts Lecture on Internet Governance
Internet Governance is one of the hottest topics debated today. What
makes the debate so unique is that it revolves around a “Borderless Innovation” that has no geography, no boundaries, and literally, anyone can contribute to its development either with content or
with protocols. Fahd Batayneh said that Internet Governance issues
are of high importance, and they are all interrelated in the form of
a closed loop. “The Internet connects all communities around the
world, makes this world look like a small village, and it has made
our lives easier. But it is also the Internet that has forced us – as communities – to devise new legislations and practices to coexist with”.
In coordination with the Telecommunication Regulatory Authority (TRA), the Communication and Information Research Center
at SQU, organized a lecture on “Internet Governance”, presented
by Fahd Batayneh, Stakeholder Engagement Coordinator, Middle East, Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers
(ICANN). The 2-hour interactive lecture on Internet Governance
covered the history of the Internet and Internet Governance, its
definition, its stakeholder groups, key pillars, ICANN and the
IANA, and the Digital Economy.
10 February 2016
Fahd Batayneh said that countries depend on e-commerce in their
day-to-day activities. “However, without the Internet, this commodity is of no use. In order to encourage e-commerce, special regulations must be devised in the form of IPR. In addition, secure e-commerce transaction is a necessity to push this commodity forward;
non-secure e-commerce systems and transactions would lose the
trust of communities. In order to push Internet Governance debates
forward, everyone involved must voice their concerns and needs,
whether as individuals or as communities. Most of this will depend
on voluntary work and passionate devotion. The initiation must
start from our local communities, yet benefiting from the experiences of others”, he said in his lecture.
Educational Outreach to
School Students
The Department of Pathology of the College of Medicine &
Health Sciences at SQU has initiated an educational outreach
program aimed at giving school students an insight into the
physician’s profession, the tools to diagnose disease accurately and an introduction to the applied aspects of technology in clinical practice. School students from leading schools
in Muscat, including Aseela Bint Qaid Al-Busaidi, Dorat AlKhaleej School, Tabrak private school, Indian School Ghubra
and Muscat International School have visited the Pathology
museum and the Electron Microscope Unit of the Pathology
department throughout the year. The latest visit took place on
23 Nov 2015.
Dr. Ritu Lakhtakia, Head of the Dept. of Pathology said that
the two to three hour visits have been a great success in oneon-one interaction, disseminating public health messages
through demonstration of diseased organs and in guiding
future career choices. “The Electron microscope unit adds
value to the student’s knowledge integrating physics and biology. Students are provided handouts to supplement the onsite learning. The feedback from students and accompanying
teachers has provided the impetus to bring more students to
the College and continually update and improve the quality
of the educational experience. A dedicated group of faculty
and biomedical scientists of the Department of Pathology volunteer their time to inculcate a spirit of scientific enquiry in a
budding generation”, she said.
The College of Medicine & Health Sciences at SQU delivers
an undergraduate curriculum for doctors and biomedical scientists in-the-making which instills a strong research foundation. The Department of Pathology has used this opportunity
to take up a series of faculty-mentored student research projects that focus on breast cancer. Breast cancer is the leading
cancer among women globally and the commonest cancer in
women in Oman. However, the pattern of cancer in the region
and in Oman has distinct differences from the West - notably
affecting younger women, with more aggressive disease and
genetic background that determines clinical outcomes and
impacts the family and society. Cancer management teams
are, therefore, studying this phenomenon to chart prevention,
early detection and management strategies. Early research-initiation provides a golden opportunity to seed cancer awareness among future clinical practitioners. Dr. Ritu said that the students pursuing this field of study under mentorship of Pathology faculty at SQU have explored
different biological characteristics on biopsy material that
may provide some answers to characterize tumors with higher potential to spread or recur. “The faculty-student research
interactions provide the background against which these
young professionals are sensitized to the disease burden of
breast cancer in the country. It will help build future doctors,
researchers and health educators who will form the backbone
of the cancer care delivery in Oman”, she added.
10 February 2016
Straight Talk
SQU Aspires to Greatness
Prof. Jeffrey D. Fisher
Jeffrey D. Fisher is the Director, Center for Health, Intervention, and Prevention (InCHIP)Board of Trustees
Distinguished Professor of Psychology at the University of Connecticut (UConn). He has published extensively on factors associated with HIV risk behavior
and has done conceptual and empirical work in the
area of increasing HIV preventive behavior. He has designed, implemented, and evaluated several effective
HIV risk behavior change interventions in multiple
populations. Jeffrey D. Fisher recently visited Sultan
Qaboos University (SQU) to discuss the potential for
collaborations between InCHIP researchers and SQU
researchers interested in jointly designing a diabetes
prevention and treatment intervention to address the
serious diabetes problem in Oman.
The Center for Health, Intervention and Prevention (CHIP) has
received University support since 2001 to serve as a multidisciplinary center for the study of health behavior and health behavior change. As such, CHIP has served as a nexus for collaborations in health behavior and health behavior change across
UConn departments, schools, colleges and campuses. Although
CHIP began with a focus on HIV/ AIDS prevention and intervention, the Center has expanded its reach to include research
collaborations in more than a dozen other pressing health domains. Some of CHIP’s current areas of strength in addition to
HIV/ AIDS include diabetes, obesity, cancer, and e-health/mhealth. CHIP has been awarded more than $120 million in total
external funding since 2001, including more than $55 million in
active research funding.
UConn’s administration recently approved CHIP to become a
new cross-campus health research institute. As the new Institute
for Collaboration on Health, Intervention, and Policy, InCHIP
essentially will be a center of centers, UConn’s hub for interdisciplinary research collaborations and boundary spanning activities between affiliated centers focused on health, health behavior
change, and health policy across all UConn campuses.
While past CHIP boundary spanning efforts have connected
researchers in different departments and campuses for specific
research projects, InCHIP Initiatives also will focus on creating
major collaborations at the level of centers, a first at UConn. InCHIP Initiatives will help UConn to realize its health and wellness academic aspirations, to grow its research portfolio significantly, to increase collaborations between UConn and UConn
Health, and to enhance the University’s national and international reputation and its research portfolio as a leader in health
and health behavior change research.
Centers that already have become a part of InCHIP include the
Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity, BioCHIP and the
Center for Public Health and Health Policy. More Centers at
UConn are expected to become a part of InCHIP in the next year.
Horizon: Could you elaborate on the purpose of your visit to
Sultan Qaboos University?
Fisher: My visit to SQU was aimed at discussing the potential
for collaborations between InCHIP researchers and SQU researchers interested in jointly designing a diabetes prevention
and treatment intervention to address the serious diabetes problem in Oman. The goal would be to develop an intervention that
takes into account the culture, diet, and religions of the people of
Oman, to test it for efficacy, and then to disseminate it widely so
it can help to address the diabetes problem in Oman.
Horizon: Could you say a few words about your organization?
Fisher: University of Connecticut (UConn) ranks among
the top 25 public universities in the United States, according to the 2016 U.S. News and World Report. More
than 30,000 undergraduate and graduate students are
enrolled at UConn. Recent major, forward-looking initiatives at UConn include Next Generation Connecticut, a
$1.7 billion investment by the State of Connecticut over
the next decade to expand UConn’s faculty, enroll more
students and develop new and enhance existing facilities
and equipment for STEM (science, technology, engineering and math) research and teaching, including in biological sciences, and the location of Jackson Laboratory’s $1.1
billion genomic medicine laboratory at UConn Health as
part of BioScience Connecticut.
10 February 2016
Horizon: Could you list the outcome of your meetings with SQU
officials and researchers?
Fisher: The Assistant Vice Chancellor for International Cooperation at SQU has assured us that she would nominate stakeholders to participate on the joint research endeavor. Behavioral Science and Nursing researchers from SQU will be among
those collaborating on the project, but there may be more related
health disciplines participating as well. The goal would be to
first collaborate on the design and implementation of a diabetes prevention and treatment intervention. Plans could include
taking a similarly collaborative approach to the design of more
health behavior and health behavior change interventions addressing Oman’s most pressing health needs.
Horizon: What is your impression about SQU?
Fisher: I was impressed by the hospitality of SQU’s leaders, the
university’s emphasis on collaboration. It is clear that SQU aspires to greatness.