Transnational Institutions of Higher Education and Their Contribution to the National Innovation System: The Case of the German University of Technology in Oman

Part of the Global Germany in Transnational Dialogues book series (GGTD)


Participation in transnational-university founding, as discussed for the case of the Sultanate of Oman, is a relatively recent national policy-making strategy to encourage ‘permanent innovation’ through an institutional mechanism. In their efforts, institutional entrepreneurs benefit from the spread of global models for higher education and revised conceptions of the national innovation system. A transnational space for higher education, such as Oman’s newly built private sector of universities and colleges, allows actors from many countries to further their own respective goal of global competitiveness. Being anchored in the national innovation policy for country development, the university projects’ potential success factor is derived from a number of national, transnational, and regional conditions for emergence. This chapter argues that globalization scholars focus narrowly on the transnational phenomenon, neglecting the analysis of opportunities for national actors. The chapter analyzes the win-win strategy for the case of the German University of Technology in Oman and other sector members of the transnational field—a field in which the German-partnered university, providing a specific model for advanced technical education and research emulated under very different country conditions, must compete. It reflects on the ways the state is embedded in trans-border processes, offering ideas for more research on the worldwide circulation of institutional models and their engagement by national states and elites.



The author acknowledges a travel stipend issued by the University of Speyer’s DAAD-PROMOS fund and family-side financial support by Prof. Dr. Jörg Vogel (Würzburg) for life in the field. The author is thankful for insights shared by Prof. Dr. Michael Jansen (founding member of GUtech) and Prof. Dr. Michael Modigell (current Rector of GUtech), as well as several members of the Al-Salmi family, the owners and co-directors of GUtech.


  1. Abdel-Jawad, H.R., and A.S. Abu Radwan. 2011. The Status of English in Institutions of Higher Education in Oman: Sultan Qaboos University as a Model. In Global English and Arabic: Issues of Language, Culture, and Identity, ed. A. Al-Issa and L.S. Dahan, 123–151. Bern: Peter Lang AG, Internationaler Verlag der Wissenschaften.Google Scholar
  2. Akkreditierungsrat. [no date available] Interview mit Susanne Kammüller, DAAD. 11 p.Google Scholar
  3. Al-Barwani, T.A., and T.S. Albeely. 2007. The Omani Family Strengths and Challenges Marriage & Family Review. Marriage & Family Review 41: 119–142.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Al-Barwani, T.A., D.W. Chapman, and H. Ameen. 2009. Strategic Brain Drain: Implications for Higher Education in Oman. Higher Education Policy 22: 415–432.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Al-Lamki, S. M. 2000. Omanization: A Three Tier Strategic Framework for Human Resource Management and Training in the Sultanate of Oman. Journal of Comparative International Management.Google Scholar
  6. Al-Lamki, S.M. 2002. Higher education in the Sultanate of Oman: The challenge of access, equity and privatization. Journal of Higher Education Policy and Management 24: 75–86.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Al Bandary, M.S. 2005. Meeting the Challenges: The Development of Quality Assurance in Oman’s Colleges of Education Higher Education. The International Journal of Higher Education and Educational Planning 50: 181–195.Google Scholar
  8. Altbach, P.G., and J. Salmi. 2011. The Road to Academic Excellence the Making of World-Class Research Universities. Washington, DC: The World Bank.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Arocena, R., J. Sutz, and B. Goransson. 2013. Knowledge policies and universities in developing countries: Inclusive development and the developmental university. Technology in Society.Google Scholar
  10. Barrett B (2017) Globalization and Change in Higher Education: The Political Economy Of Policy Reform in Europe. Palgrave Macmillan.Google Scholar
  11. Basch, L.G., N.G. Schiller, and C. Szanton Blanc. 2006. Nations Unbound: Transnational Projects, Postcolonial Predicaments, and Deterritorialized Nation-States. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  12. Carroll, M., S. Razvi, T. Goodliffe, and F. AlHabsi. 2009. Progress in Developing a National Quality Management System for Higher Education in Oman. Quality in Higher Education 15: 17–27.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Cattaneo, O., G. Gereffi, and C. Staritz (eds.). 2012. Global Value Chains in a Postcrisis World: A Development Perspective. Washington, DC: World Bank.Google Scholar
  14. De Cesari, C., and A. Rigney. 2016. Transnational Memory Circulation, Articulation, Scales. Walter de G, Co KG.Google Scholar
  15. De Swaan, A. 2013. Words of the World: the Global Language System. Hoboken: Wiley.Google Scholar
  16. Dirlik, A. 2016. Global Modernity: Modernity in the Age of Global Capitalism. New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  17. Donn, G., and S. Issan. 2007. Higher Education in Transition: Gender and Change in the Sultanate of Oman. Scottish Educational Review 39: 173–185.Google Scholar
  18. Erman E, and A. Uhlin. 2010. Legitimacy Beyond the State? Re-examining the Democratic Credentials of Transnational Actors. Palgrave Macmillan.Google Scholar
  19. Etzkowitz, H., and L.A. Leydesdorff. 1997. Universities and the Global Knowledge Economy: A Triple Helix of University-Industry-Government Relations. London, New York: Pinter.Google Scholar
  20. Findlow, S. 2005. International Networking In the United Arab Emirates Higher Education System: Global-Local Tensions. Compare: A Journal of Comparative and International Education 35: 285–302.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Findlow, S., and A.L. Hayes. 2016. Transnational Academic Capitalism in the Arab Gulf: Balancing Global and Local, and Public and Private, Capitals. British Journal of Sociology of Education 37: 110–128.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Fromm, N. 2017. Zur Transnationalisierung von Hochschulbildung: Eine empirische Studie zur Interaktion hochschulpolitischer Akteure beim Aufbau bilateraler Hochschulen im Ausland. Baden-Baden: Nomos.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Fromm, N., and R. Ramin. 2014. Zur Entstehung der Türkisch-Deutschen Universität in Istanbul: politische Rahmenbedingungen und rechtliche Voraussetzungen. Wissenschaftsrecht 47: 60–90.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Halibas, A.S., R. Ocier Sibayan, and R.L. Rodriguez Maata. 2017. The Penta Helix Model of Innovation in Oman: An HEI Perspective. Interdisciplinary Journal of Information Knowledge, and Management 12: 159–174.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Hout, W. 1993. Capitalism and the Third World: Development, Dependence and the World System. E. Elgar: Aldershot, Hants, England; Brookfield: Vt.Google Scholar
  26. Issan, S.A.Y. 2010. Preparing for the Women of the Future: Literacy and Development in the Sultanate of Oman. Hawwa 8: 120–153.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Knight, J. 2005. Borderless, Offshore, Transnational and Cross-Border Education: Definition and Data Dilemmas. London: Observatory on Borderless Higher Education.Google Scholar
  28. Koschatzky, K. 2014. New Forms of Regional Interaction Between Universities and Industry Evidence From Germany. Karlsruhe: Fraunhofer ISI.Google Scholar
  29. Kruss, G., S. McGrath, I.-H. Petersen, and M. Gastrow. 2015. Higher Education and Economic Development: The Importance of Building Technological Capabilities. International Journal of Educational Development 43: 22–31.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Lidstone, D. 2009. The Making of KAUST: the Vision Behind Saudi Arabia’s Science University. Middle East Economic Digest, London.Google Scholar
  31. Lundvall, B.-Å. 2010. National Systems of Innovation Toward A Theory of Innovation and Interactive Learning. London, New York, NY: Anthem.Google Scholar
  32. Mansouier, A. 2013. Planning for Economic Diversification in Oman. Oman Economic Association.
  33. Mellahi, K., and S.M. Al-Hinai. 2000. Local Workers in Gulf Co-operation Countries: Assets or Liabilities? Middle Eastern Studies 36: 177–190.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Meyer, J.W., and B. Rowan. 1991. Institutionalized Organizations: Formal Structure as Myth and Ceremony, eds. Walter W. Powell, and Paul J. DiMaggio. New Institutionalism in Organizational Analysis.Google Scholar
  35. Muborakshoeva, M. 2013. Islam and Higher Education: Concepts, Challenges and Opportunities. Milton Park, Abingdon, Oxon, New York, N.Y: Routledge.Google Scholar
  36. Nelson, R.R. 1993. National Innovation Systems A Comparative Analysis. New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  37. Nelson, R.R. 2005. The Limits of Market Organization. Russell Sage Foundation.Google Scholar
  38. Nickl, B., I. Herrschner, and E.M. Goździak. 2018. Introduction: Global Germany in Transnational Dialogues with Australia. In German-Australian Encounters and Cultural Transfers: Global Dynamics in Transnational Lands, eds. B. Nickl, I. Herrschner, E. M. Goździak, xiii–xvii. Singapore: Springer.Google Scholar
  39. Olds, K. 2007. Global Assemblage: Singapore, Foreign Universities, and the Construction of a Global Education Hub. World Development 35: 959–975.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Oman Academic Accreditation Agency (Report 006). 2011. Report of an Audit of Sultan Qaboos. HEI Quality Audit Report. Audit Report Number 006. Al-Khuwair, Sultanate of Oman.Google Scholar
  41. Oman Academic Accreditation Agency (Report 022). 2011. Report of an Audit of the Oman Tourism College. HEI Quality Audit Report. Audit Report Number 022. Al-Khuwair, Sultanate of Oman.Google Scholar
  42. Oman Academic Accreditation Agency (Report 036). 2013. Report of an Audit of the German University of Technology in Oman (GUtech). HEI Quality Audit Report. Audit Report Number 036. Al-Khuwair, Sultanate of Oman.Google Scholar
  43. Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. 1997. National Innovation Systems. Paris: OECD Publications.Google Scholar
  44. Reckwitz, A. 2017. The Invention of Creativity: Modern Society and the Culture of the New. Cambridge: Polity Press.Google Scholar
  45. Smith, L., Aa.-R.M. Abu `Ammuh. 2013. Higher Education in Saudi Arabia: Achievements, Challenges and Opportunities. New York, Dordrecht: Springer.Google Scholar
  46. Sung, J. 2006. Explaining the Economic Success of Singapore: The Developmental Worker as the Missing Link. Cheltenham: Edward Elgar.Google Scholar
  47. Turner, R.S. 2008. Neo-liberal Ideology: History, Concepts and Policies. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press.Google Scholar
  48. United Nations Conference on Trade and Development. 2014. Science, Technology and Innovation Policy Review. Oman, United Nations, New York.Google Scholar
  49. Vertovec, S. 2010. Transnationalism. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  50. Vogel, A. 2014. Telling the History of GUtech: Proposal for a powerful Institutional Advancement Tool. Unpublished working paper available from the author. Muscat, Oman: GUtech.Google Scholar
  51. Vogel, A. 2019. Hush-hush, the Germans are Coming!—Review of Fromm, Nadine. 2017. Zur Transnationalisierung von Hochschulbildung: Eine empirische Studie zur Interaktion hochschulpolitischer Akteure beim Aufbau bilateraler Hochschulen im Ausland, 1. Auflage. Baden-Baden: Nomos Verlagsgesellschaft. In: Das Hochschulwesen 4+5: 150–152Google Scholar
  52. Vogel, A., and W. Kaghan. 2001. Bureaucrats, Brokers and the Entrepreneurial University. Organization 8: 358–364.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Wildavsky, B. 2010. The Great Brain Race: How Global Universities are Reshaping the World. Princeton: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
  54. Wimmer, A., and N.G. Schiller. 2002. Methodological Nationalism and Beyond: Nation-State Building, Migration and the Social Sciences. Global Networks 2: 301–334.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Humboldt UniversityBerlinGermany

Personalised recommendations