Research projects at Sultan Qaboos University are broadly grouped under the following nine themes:
Environment and biology includes agriculture, fisheries, water and biodiversity fields of study. Important sub-themes are optimizing productivity of agriculture and fisheries, conservation of biological resources and fresh water, and environmental management, with emphasis on sustainable development. Climate change, desertification, disposal of oil-production, water, brine from desalination industries, pollution, earthquake monitoring, water resources management, protection of endangered species, and environmental restoration are also key issues. To address environmental problems, cross-disciplinary approaches are necessary, including agricultural and fisheries scientists, biologists, climatologists, hydrologists, ecologists, environmental engineers and economists, physical geographers, system analysts, and remote sensing specialists.
Energy focuses on the oil and gas industry in Oman. Emphasis is on improving our understanding of the location and nature of reserves, enhanced oil recovery and the development of alternate energy sources including solar and other renewable energy forms. Geosciences and mineral resources are also an important area of study.
Life and health sciences includes physiology, biotechnology, human nutrition and dietetics, medicine, nursing, and allied health sciences. Human health is the major sub-theme and there is great emphasis on clinical and applied research. Sub-themes include - but not limited to - genetics, clinical research, health informatics, epidemiology, psychology, genomics, occupational health, immunity and infection, oncology, pharmacology, metabolic disorders, and community health.
Humanities and social sciences covers culture, economy, business and management models, society, geography and law as well as history, archaeology, language and literature. Three major sub-themes are economy, cultures and society. Research in these areas is critical to an understanding of the economic, political, historical, educational, legal, social and global context within which Omani society operates.
Information and communication systems includes telecommunications, digital technology and innovation, computer science, e-commerce, electrical and computer engineering, physics, informatics and mathematics. Major sub-themes include computer engineering, computer science, information technology, management information systems, software engineering, communication and networking technology, embedded systems, electronics, instrumentation and control.
Fundamental research addresses the advance of knowledge in fundamental areas of science and humanities, including philosophy, linguistics, mathematics, statistics, econometrics, theoretical physics and geophysics, physical chemistry and mathematical biology/ecology. It is basically grounded on theoretical paradigms and fosters insight-inspired topics that do not have obvious or immediate application. Some of the sub-themes include fluid physics, high energy physics, mathematical analysis, discrete mathematical systems, differential equations and dynamical system, modeling, fractals, chaos and theory of computing.
Materials includes studies on the development, characteristics, structure and properties (physical and chemical) of natural and synthetic materials. Sub-themes include condensed matter physics, studies on nanomaterials, superconductors, metals, construction materials and electronic components.
Education considers educational psychology, early childhood education, language planning and policies, language acquisition, testing, accreditation and quality assurance, assessment and evaluation methods, educational technology, vocational guidance and counseling, special needs, human resources development and leadership. It also experiments with new pedagogies.
Industry includes industrial and engineering technology, food safety, security and processing and commercial aspects. Major sub-themes include soft aspects such as governance, financial markets, human resource management and e-commerce; and hard aspects such as construction, biotechnology and manufacturing.