The Block Funding Program (BFP) is a national research program adopted by The Research Council (TRC) in the Sultanate of Oman. BFP allocates small-to-medium size research grants to support short-term and mid-term research projects in areas defined by researchers from academic and research institutions in Oman and serve the national research priority areas as well as TRC priority themes. Dr. Suad Al-Kindi, the coordinator of the Research and Consultancy Committee (RCC) and the TRC Focal Point (FP) explained the significance of such funding scheme for all institutions in the country including HCT.
She encouraged all staff to seize the exceptional opportunity of the program which can open more opportunities for research projects at the college both for students, graduate students and staff.
The orientation was well-attended from almost all college departments in addition to some students. Dr Suad started the event with online interactive pre-assessment to find out what background information the staff may already have related to HCT research policy, research activities, national research awards received by HCT staff and students, research challenges and available research funding opportunities from TRC. The interaction was lively with strong responses from most audiences.
The BFP is open for applicants to all staff in two calls: 2018 and 2019 and to students in 2019. Both calls have a submission deadline on the 1st of April 2019. It was explained that for call 2018, the fund has been released to the college following a grant agreement between the college and the TRC. For this call, the college is calling for proposals to compete among college departments for the available fund. However, for call 2019 onwards, funding decision by TRC for the college is highly dependent on the college performance of call 2018 and perhaps to a lesser extent of call 2019. Hence, the college is expected to demonstrate managerial research competencies that are essential in academic institution.
The orientation involved a seven-minute demo for the electronic submission of research proposals via the TRC electronic system, Research Information Management System (RIMS), which will be available to all HCT users.
The orientation was closed by online interactive feedback session which comprises questions from majority of the participants. The FP is to answer all participants queries. All attendees will be provided with BFP materials which will be available for them through HCT website.
In total the orientation was successful and Dr. Suad expressed her deep gratitude for all attendees for their useful discussion and suggestions.