Can you elaborate on EJAAD's developments and activities over the past years?
EJAAD was launched in 2018 with the shared vision of more than 60 stakeholders from industry, academia, and the government as a vehicle to fulfill the mandates and aspirations of the Oman Energy Industry-Academia R&D Protocol. It seeks to collaborate and support research and innovation and establish efficient R&D partnerships in pursuit of Oman's transition to a knowledge-based economy. The main goal is to narrow the gap between industry and academia whereby both sectors aim to solve existing challenges faced by industry. EJAAD started by focusing on the energy sector, though its activities have developed into other areas including water, digitalization, biotechnology, environmental protection, and logistics. Solutions for industrial challenges can be provided through EJAAD in the following ways: a) as a research idea whereby the researchers themselves identify a challenge and propose a solution; b) industry posts a challenge on the platform, and researchers submit their proposals; or c) in cases where local capacity is too limited to address a specific challenge, we encourage cooperation with another local entity to develop a proposed solution.
What actions need to be taken to boost Oman's efforts to reduce its reliance on hydrocarbons?
Mainly, greater clarity in policy and regulation would be welcome, in addition to the introduction of incentives. Actions in these areas would enable Oman to better encourage the reduction of CO2. Additionally, encouraging a reduction in hydrocarbon reliance by accepting the use of other energy forms that are not in and of themselves meant to be green as part of this transition can also be an important step in creating a hybrid system that helps move the country towards green energy. One can see several efforts taking place to help achieve this goal. The Ministry of Energy and Minerals can lead, guide, coordinate and align efforts at reducing the nation's reliance on hydrocarbons. Indeed, both R&D and innovation will play an important role in overcoming the challenges associated with this transition.