research centre indian ocean Research Centre Indian Ocean affiliated to Muttrah, Oman Goa, India Zanzibar, Tanzania

RIO Research Centre Indian Ocean

General Introduction

The geographic region of the Indian Ocean has greatest importance for the development of civilizations of mankind. Within its fringes we see the development of the earliest three civilizations of the third millennium BC, the ones of the Euphrates- Tigris, the Nile and the Indus Valley Civilization. All three developed their own, independent writings, their own religions and their different “states”.

The Research Centre Indian Ocean has been established at GUtech, the German University of Technology in the Sultanate of Oman, as one of the major hubs of the Indian Ocean inter region. The Research Centre has been founded by the late Prof. Michael Jansen and it is managed by a “Task Force”. This steering committee consists presently of Prof. Ercan Agirbas (GUtech), Prof. Heba Aziz (GUtech, UNESCO Chair), Prof. Wilfried Bauer (GUtech), Prof. Bernard Heim, Prof. Alexander Kader, Joachim Düster (Oman Research Centre), Prof. Karsten Ley (hochschule 21 Buxtehude), Prof. Burkhard Schnepel (Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg), Prof. Stefan Schreiner (University of Tübingen) and Georgios Toubekis (RWTH Aachen, Fraunhofer Institute). The Research Centre Indian Ocean includes the German Research Center Mohenjo-Daro and its Archive. It intends to continue research undertaken by RWTH Aachen University of Technology and by the Aachen Center for Documentation and Conservation (ACDC), which, partly in cooperation with UNESCO, has been concentrating mainly on projects in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Central Asia and Oman itself.

The geographic and strategic position of Oman assigns RIO for a research centre for the region of the Indian Ocean and the Himalayas as one larger cultural unit.

Latest since the fourth millennium Oman was connected with Mesopotamia and the Indus Valley by sea route which, itself, was connected by land routes to Afghanistan and Central Asia. Later Omani sailors were amongst the first to set up a permanent shipping connection with China through the Strait of Malacca. During the European colonial period it remained an important factor within the inter-region, especially with its properties in Zanzibar and West-Africa.

Today, again, its strategic position makes it a focal point within the Indian Ocean.

It is the desire of this Centre to serve as a hub for scientific work within the region of the Indian Ocean. Presently five core areas of research, namely Heritage, Natural Sciences, Humanities, Anthropology and Economics, have been identified while being closely interrelated with each other and connected to the different departments of GUtech.  

A major aim of RIO is to serve as a communication platform and to gather relevant strategic data in the region of the Indian Ocean. The Indian Ocean area today contains more than 50% of the world’s population. The research in this area shall also contribute to a wider understanding of current events and policy making. It is closely connected to its partners, the Institute for Muslim Civilizations of the AGA Khan International University in London and CIVIS, the Centre for Indus Valley International Studies at the University of Jamshoro, Sindh Pakistan.

At the same time, the Research Centre is part of an interdisciplinary platform which includes the History of Science Center (HSC), the Oman Hydrogen Centre (OHC) and the Building Technologies and Standardization Centre (BTSC), all of them located at the German University of Technology.


Recent Events



Inventory of Cultural Property Sindh
The Inventory of Cultural Property in the Province of Sindh, 2015 is a 4 Volume Publication listing all historical sites in the province of Sindh, Pakistan.

Historic Settlements of Oman
The research project “Historic Settlements of Oman” is an ongoing project that aims to create an electronic database and record systematically the settlemental history of Oman. 

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