University of Science and Technology of Fujairah (USTF) places strong emphasis on research and scholarly activities of faculty, staff and students. In fact, research is one of the main criteria for recruitment and promotion of faculty members. Goal 2 of USTF Strategic Plan 2018-2023 reflects the importance of research to USTF community. As a new proactive University, USTF aligns its research efforts with the UAE Vision 2021 in addressing global problems of national impacts. USTF has established the Office of Sustainability as a component of its organization structure in order to face global challenges such as increasing population and depletion of natural resources.
Commitment to USTF Research Goals
The following are some of the actions taken by the University towards realizing research goals and objectives of USTF Strategic Plan 2018-2023:
- Participating in National Research Activities: In cooperation with the UAE Telecommunication Regulatory Authority (TRA), the University organized the UAE Data for Happiness Hackathon Competition - Fujairah Brand in February 2018, and a research team from the University won the First Place in the competition on the UAE level.
- Providing Internal Research Funds: The University funded nine research projects in the academic year 2017-2018. The principal investigators (PIs) of research teams have already submitted progress reports on their research projects and are scheduled to submit the final reports of their research projects in September 2018.
- Encouraging Faculty Publications: The University supports participation in conferences on national, regional and international levels and pay travel allowances, tickets and conference participation fees. USTF also encourages scientific publication in journals and magazines with high impact factors.
- Establishing USTF Council for Graduate Studies and Research (CGSR): The University has established the CGSR at the beginning of the academic year 2017-2018 to handle processing and follow-up research projects submitted for internal funding. The council also organizes the annual students’ research conference, training seminars and workshops.
Research Initiatives for the Next Academic Year
The University research initiatives for the academic year 2018-2019 are in line with the UAE Vision 2021 and focuses on sustainability, artificial intelligence, smart cities and automation. USTF encourages faculty and students to concentrate on these themes in their research efforts and graduation projects.
- The colleges of Pharmacy and Health Sciences and Dentistry, along with other researchers in engineering, environment, IT and social sciences, can cooperate in joint research projects addressing sustainable human health and in the UAE and the Gulf region.
- The depleting conventional energy sources such as oil and natural gas and emerging renewable energy sources such as solar energy has lead the UAE government to move from oil-based economy to knowledge-based economy and to host IRENA (International Renewable Energy Agency) in the Capital City Abu Dhabi. In harmony with these national efforts, the College of Engineering at USTF has started offering a new concentration in electrical engineering; power and renewable energy. Both areas lie in the core of sustainability of energy sources in the UAE and Gulf Region. USTF considers this theme of research one of its research priorities during the next academic year.
- In line with the UAE Innovation Strategy 2014 and the CAA in UAE requirement, USTF is teaching innovation and entrepreneurship as a University requirement course to all students who have successfully completed 60 credit hours. The method of teaching the course is unconventional and trains students on materializing their innovative ideas into real-world projects. USTF believes that research in innovation supports sustainability anSustainabilityd promotes the culture of creative thinking among individuals of USTF community.
Artificial Intelligence, Smart Cities and Automation
- Objective 6.3 of Goal 6 of USTF Strategic Plan 2018-2023 can be realized by reducing energy and water consumption, installing the latest communication and information technologies in University buildings and use of computerized maintenance management system. These three action are examples of research themes in the artificial intelligence.
- Application of artificial intelligence approach in conjunction with the use of alternative energy sources can lead to reduction in the on-campus energy and water use. Automatic shutdown of lights in vacant lecture halls, lab or any other university facility can roduce energy consumption. On the other hand, the use of treated wastewater for landscaping can ease pressure on more expensive more expensive water sources. Results of research in energy and water resources are not only beneficial for resources management at USTF but can set examples of best practices on national and regional levels.
- Providing USTF facilities with the latest communication and information technologies will require high initial capital investment, but will certainly reduce costs on the long term. Installing videoconference facilities facilitates meeting with other institution and reduce time, efforts and travel expenses. Smart room, labs and clinics increase teaching and learning efficiency and reduce cost. Research and feasibility studies can lead to improvement of university facilities and infrastructure.
- Integration of smart devices in facilities, homes, institutions and services improve the quality of life and provide sustainable, smart solution to the challenges facing human. The holistic, innovative and smart approaches in management of USTF facilities, including placing of work orders, for moving, spraying and cleaning can be facilitated through application of artificial intelligence techniques. Automation of reporting and usage of a computerized maintenance management system improves efficiency of USTF campus services.
The USTF new research strategy clearly defined the research targets, timelines, and key performance indicators for the coming five years (2018-2023). One of the goals of DGSR is annual assessment of the effectiveness of its initiatives and support to achieve the objectives of the research strategy. The Office of Institutional Planning and Effectiveness (OIPE) shall also carry out its annual assessment of the effectiveness of University’s research strategy.