Research and Graduate Studies | American University of Sharjah

As a leading university in the region, AUS has built a strong reputation as a hub for research, scholarly and creative activities, and graduate studies.

Our faculty are active researchers, making breakthroughs and discoveries in areas that impact our society and our future, contributing to the body of scholarly knowledge.

In our highly regarded master’s and PhD programs, students have opportunities to conduct research alongside our world-class faculty as part of their coursework or through select graduate assistantships.

Research and graduate studies at AUS are under the management and oversight of the Provost and Chief Academic Officer. The Office of Research and Graduate Studies (ORGS), led by the Vice Provost for Research and Graduate Studies (VPRGS), is responsible for conducting all day-to-day operations related to research, technology transfer and graduate studies to provide support and guidance for our faculty engaging in research and for students in our master’s and PhD programs.

Use the links below to find out more.

Research Services

Research Services provides high-quality support to campus research, creative activity and outreach initiatives. The Research Services team helps to identify research opportunities and partnerships, facilitates the submission of sponsored projects, negotiates and executes research agreements, provides research education and communication, and assists faculty, staff and students in managing projects awarded by and to the university. In doing so, they maintain relevant policies, support research integrity and the ethical conduct of research, and promote university-wide interdisciplinary research collaboration for both basic and applied research aligned with the needs of the United Arab Emirates and the region. 

Policies and Procedures

AUS faculty and students can access all research-relevant policies and procedures using their AUS credentials to access the Policies and Procedures folder.

Internal Funding

AUS offers varying internal funding programs as a means to encourage and support AUS faculty and students in the facilitation of innovative and meaningful research.

Please click here to see all the current funding opportunities and materials.

External Funding

Once a funding source is identified, all proposals must be reviewed by Research Services to ensure compliance with both internal and external requirements. Research Services is here to assist with proposal submission, grants, contracts, subawards, and compliance with sponsored projects regulations and requirements.

Please email [email protected] for further information.

Institutional Review Board (IRB)

The AUS Institutional Review Board (IRB) invites AUS faculty, students and staff interested in conducting research involving humans or using their data or biospecimens to review this site. The AUS IRB strives to help you make sure your research complies with applicable regulations, relevant ethical standards, and any legal and institutional requirements. Review the AUS Institutional Review Board Policy and AUS IRB Manual for answers to additional questions.

The use of human subjects in research is extremely important to the development of new knowledge in many areas. However, careful attention must be given to questions of ethics and human dignity whenever human subjects participate in research. All research involving human subjects must be formally reviewed and approved before any data are collected or human subjects are contacted.

Is your project “Human Subjects Research”?

Please check out the AUS Determination infographic to determine if your study qualifies as human subjects research. 

CITI Training Certification on Human Subject Research (HSR)

The content of this course is required for anyone involved in research studies with human subjects, or anyone who has responsibilities for setting policies and procedures with respect to such research, including Institutional Review Boards (IRBs).

This course is organized in two tracks for AUS community members: Biomedical (Biomed) and Social-Behavioral-Educational (SBE). AUS researchers need to finish either the Social-Behavioral-Educational Researchers Or Biomedical Researchers under the Human Subjects Research (HSR) course for the IRB application submission.  

Collaborative Institutional Training Initiative (CITI) training certification for this course is mandatory for all AUS researchers (PI and all Co-Is from AUS) in order to submit a successful IRB application/protocol to the AUS IRB.  A certificate is valid for three years, after which a refresher course certificate is required. The already approved protocols are NOT required to follow this certification.   

Link to CITI Program Website 

Please log in with the option “Log In Through My Organization” and select American University of Sharjah (AUS), using Single Sign On (SSO). The first time you log in, you will need to select the radio button “I don’t have a CITI Program account and I need to create one.” Then, click on “View Courses” and, then “Add a Course” to select HSR. A step-by-step guide is also available in iLearn.

IRB Application and Other Forms

**Note: Applications must use current IRB forms and templates.

Research is defined as “A systematic investigation, including research development, testing, and evaluation, designed to develop or contribute to generalizable knowledge” [45 CFR 46.102(l)].

Formal IRB review requires the researcher or RESPONSIBLE PRINCIPAL INVESTIGATOR (RPI) to submit a protocol application describing the research design and methodological approach to the proposed activity.

Please submit all IRB applications to [email protected].

Exempt, Expedited and Full Board Review

Once you have submitted an IRB Protocol, the review level of your protocol will be determined: exempt, expedited or full board review.


“Exempt” is exempt from further review and approval beyond the chair or his/her designee. It does not mean that your proposed research project is exempt from being reviewed.

  1. There are eight categories of research that meet exempt status: IRB Exempt Categories
  2. Can be carried out by the IRB Chair alone
  3. Status does not remove requirement for informed consent or Waiver of Consent request


“Expedited” is exempt from further review and approval beyond the chair or his/her designee and at least one additional member of the board.

  1. There are nine specific categories of research that meet expedited status: IRB Expedited Categories
  2. Can be carried out by the IRB Chair and one or more IRB members
  3. Expedited reviews are minimal risk to the subject, and continuing review may be required

Full-Board IRB Review 

An IRB Application with the following characteristics will require review and consideration by the full IRB Committee at a regularly scheduled meeting.

  1. More than minimal risk
  2. Concerns with confidentiality
  3. Potential conflicts of interest
  4. Complex and controversial issues or topics
  5. Protected subjects and/or vulnerable population
Deadlines and IRB Meeting Schedule

Please plan for two to four weeks for Exempt Review, and four to six weeks for Full Board Review.

AUS IRB may take a maximum of 2-4 weeks’ time for review for the Exempt category for all completed applications with necessary documents submitted. Kindly note that the applications reaching us in Summer will take much more time than the usual review period. Please plan accordingly.

If your application/protocol requires Expedited or Full Board review, this may take one to two months depending on the date you submit and the next scheduled IRB meeting. 

IRB applications are accepted on a rolling basis, but the deadline date for application submissions that may require full board approval is two weeks prior to the scheduled IRB monthly meeting.

The Spring 2024 meeting schedule and application submission deadlines are below. All meetings will be held in-person/ online.

IRB Meeting Schedule, Spring 2024

February 29, 2024

March 28, 2024

April 25, 2024

May 23, 2024

IRB Members

Chair, Human Subjects Review Officer
Dr. Reem Khalil
Associate Professor, Biology, Chemistry and Environmental Science
06 515 3713

Vice Chair
Dr. Mohamed Abdelgawad
Associate Professor, Mechanical Engineering
06 515 2965

IRB Coordinator
Vargheese Antony (Staff) 
[email protected] 
06 515 2198

Dr. Mariam al-Attar
Lecturer, Arabic and Translation Studies
06 515 2501

Dr. Roberto Castillo Melo
Assistant Professor, Architecture
06 515 2876

Dr. Malick Ndiaye
Associate Professor, Industrial Engineering
06 515 4929

Dr. Adrian Anthony Lopes
Associate Professor Economics
06 515 3054


Graduate Studies

Renowned as one of the premier institutions of higher learning in the Middle East, American University of Sharjah offers highly regarded master’s and PhD programs in a wide variety of disciplines. These accredited programs provide a distinct edge in a competitive work environment, help carve out a new career path or allow one to pursue the highest attainments in one’s chosen field.

Our 17 master’s degrees and five PhD programs offer students opportunities for research, graduate assistantships and flexible study arrangements, including part-time options and evening classes. Download our brochure here.

Graduate Admissions

To learn more about our admissions procedures, please click on the links below

Graduate Assistantship

We offer competitive graduate assistantships to both master’s and PhD students, allowing students to work alongside our world-class faculty. To find out about our graduate students assistantships and work-study opportunities, please click on the links below:

Graduate Policies and Procedures

AUS faculty and students can access all graduate studies policies and procedures using their AUS credentials to access the Policies and Procedures folder.

Graduate Student Association (GSA)

The Graduate Student Association (GSA) is a registered student-run association at AUS that represents the interests and concerns of graduate students. Through various activities and initiatives, such as meetings, networking events, sports, research discussion groups and more, the GSA enriches the lives of graduate students and advances their interests academically and socially. All graduate students are automatically members of the GSA for each semester in which they are enrolled. The GSA is managed by an elected group of students (GSA Board). For more information about the GSA, please contact [email protected].

Graduate Program Coordinators

For a list of all Graduate program coordinators please click here.

Graduate Events

To find out more about graduate events, please click here.

Research Centers

AUS is committed to push the boundaries of knowledge through research.  Aligning with the university's dedication to research excellence, our research centers are driving transformative and innovative solutions across various disciplines.

Our three Research Centers include:

  • Materials Research Center
  • Energy, Water and Sustainable Environment Research Center
  • Center for Entrepreneurship, Innovation and Sustainable Development

Technology Transfer

Technology transfer is the process of transferring technology from the owner to another organization with the end goal of translation of inventions into novel products or services for the betterment of society. AUS' technology transfer office (TTO) is part of the ORGS and works with the faculty, staff and students to assist them in the commercialization process. The TTO focuses on promoting AUS innovations to both benefit the public and stimulate economic growth, and serves as a dedicated resource for streamlining collaboration with industry. AUS has a strong collaboration with the Sharjah Research Technology and Innovation Park (SRTIP), developing innovative solutions in areas such as 3D printing, conductive concrete, advanced materials and more.
Please contact [email protected] for questions or inquiries.


Intellectual Property

Intellectual property (IP) can be defined as an intangible asset developed through creations from the human intellect. The most common examples of IP are patents, know-how, copyright and trademark. The Technology Transfer Office supports the AUS goal of commercialization by identifying appropriate IP and protecting it through dedicated channels. The TTO does this by assessing inventions from the inventors, considering the commercial potential and protecting IP through patents and other forms. In addition to this, the team also advises on the IP and commercial strategy.

Please click here for the Intellectual Property Disclosure Form (IPDF).


Each innovation has its own unique path to impact. AUS is here to support innovators at different stages in the commercialization process by advising on the IP and commercial strategy. In close collaboration with the 

Sharjah Research Technology and Innovation Park (SRTIP), AUS seeks to facilitate the commercialization of new discoveries and innovations resulting from scientific research.

CITI Courses and Certification

AUS is offering six courses from the Collaborative Institutional Training Initiative (CITI) Program to our faculty, students and staff free of cost. These online courses can be completed in a self-paced manner. Once a course has been completed with a passing grade, the learners can download the certificate online through their accounts. A certificate is valid for three years and a recertification or refresher course is required after three years. Descriptions of the courses are provided below.

To enroll in a course, please go to the CITI website, select the option “Log In Through My Organization” and then select American University of Sharjah (AUS); we are using Single Sign On (SSO). For the first sign in, select the radio button for “I don’t have a CITI Program account and I need to create one” to “View courses” and then “Add a course” to choose your courses. A step-by-step guide for logging in and enrolling is available in the iLearn Community under the Research Services. For any queries, please contact [email protected].

Course Descriptions


Responsible Conduct of Research (RCR)

This course covers the core norms, principles, regulations and rules governing the practice of research. RCR consists of a basic course, refresher course, communicating research findings course and facilitator guides. While particular emphasis is given to the educational needs of graduate students and postdoctoral researchers, the RCR series is suitable for any person involved in research, ranging from upper-level undergraduates to established faculty and other professionals.

Essentials of Grant Proposal Development

This course aims to give an understanding of grants, how to find them, and how to create and submit a proposal. The content is organized with in-depth instruction that includes videos, exercises, resources, and examples.

Research Study Design

This course provides learners with an introduction to research study design, a detailed overview of scientific inquiry, examples of various research designs, a discussion of data management methods, an introduction to statistical analysis, and sound approaches to optimize the reproducibility of research results.

Human Subject Research (HSR)

This course is organized in two tracks for AUS community members: Biomedical (Biomed) and Social-Behavioral-Educational (SBE). The content of this course is required for anyone involved in research studies with human subjects, or anyone who has responsibilities for setting policies and procedures with respect to such research, including Institutional Review Boards (IRBs). CITI training certification for this course is mandatory for all AUS researchers (PI and all Co-Is from AUS) in order to submit a successful IRB application/protocol to the AUS IRB. Beginning with the Fall 2023 semester, the IRB requires a certificate from all AUS-affiliated researchers for the HSR course administered by Collaborative Institutional Training Initiative (CITI). A certificate is valid for three years, after which a refresher course certificate is required.

Conflicts of Interest (COI)

The COI Basic course is designed to satisfy training requirements associated with the US Public Health Service (PHS) regulations on financial conflicts of interest. There is also a COI Refresher course that offers retraining on key concepts and rules relating to these regulations. These courses are intended for investigators who receive funding from a PHS agency, including the National Institutes of Health (NIH), or who are required by their organization to be familiar with the PHS financial conflicts of interest regulations.

Technology Transfer

This course provides a comprehensive overview of university technology transfer and commercialization processes, including partnering with a technology transfer office (TTO), protecting intellectual property (IP), establishing appropriate agreements, and licensing to or starting a new company. Through this course, learners will feel ready to collaborate with their TTOs as knowledgeable and equal partners in advancing the development and commercialization of their discoveries.

Collaboration and Impact

Faculty Research

AUS faculty are leading and contributing to research that has benefit to the societies in which we all live. The research achievements of AUS faculty cross many disciplines, contributing to advances in emerging fields, and influencing other research projects across the world. Read on to learn more about the research being pursued by AUS faculty. 

To learn more about our faculty and their research expertise and achievements, visit our faculty hub.

Endowed Chairs and Professorships

To find out more about our Endowed Chairs and Professorships, please click here.

Research Output

AUS is proud of its research and creative accomplishments and success, and the lasting impact of the researchers at AUS. The following are some of the various tools and databases by which research output is identified:


To find out how AUS-led research is making an impact download the newsletter.



Meet the Team

Vice Provost for Research and Graduate Studies

Dr. Mohamed El Tarhuni

Mohamed El-Tarhuni is the Vice Provost for Research and Graduate Studies and a Professor of Electrical Engineering at AUS. He has held several academic administration positions at AUS, including the Vice Provost for Graduate Studies (2017–2021), Associate Dean for Graduate Affairs in the College of Engineering (2014–2017) and Head of the Department of Electrical Engineering (2006–2014). He joined AUS in 2000 as an assistant professor of electrical engineering. Prior to his time at AUS, Dr. El-Tarhuni was a member of technical staff at Nortel Networks Wireless Technology Labs in  Ottawa, Canada (1997–2000). 

Dr. El-Tarhuni received his PhD in Electrical Engineering from Carleton University in Ottawa, Canada, in 1997. He received his BS and MS degrees in electrical engineering from the University of Benghazi, Libya in 1986, and 1990, respectively. His teaching and research interests are in the area of wireless and digital communications. He has more than 100 published articles and two issued US patents. He has served as a founding member, general chair or technical chair for several conferences, such as the International Conference of Modeling, Simulation and Applied Optimization (IMSAO) and the International Conference on Communications, Signal Processing, and Their Applications (ICCSPA). He is a senior member of the IEEE. 

Assistant to the VPRGS

Irise Villamora

Irise Villamora has more than 10 years of professional experience in both technical and analytical accounting and office management. Prior to joining AUS, Irise has gained knowledge and extensive experience in the fields of property management, contracting, import and export, and healthcare. She earned a bachelor's degree in accountancy specializing in financial management and reporting, accounts payable/receivable, billings and inventory monitoring. She brings international experience in both accounting and administration from the Philippines, Singapore and United Arab Emirates.

Director of Research Services

Ingrid Liekens

Ingrid Liekens is a Belgian national who has been in UAE since 1997.

Prior to joining the Office of Research and Graduate Studies, she worked as a Senior Specialist Research Grants at Zayed University for nine years. Liekens was also part of the startup team for the UAE’s National Research Foundation in 2008. She has been an active participant and presenter at international research administration conferences.

In 2022, Liekens was the co-Chair for the Science Summit held in New York in conjunction with the United Nations General Assembly, and she is reprising that role in 2023.

She has a broad experience in international organizations and the private sector, both in her native Belgium and the UAE.

Liekens is a fierce advocate for all issues related to longevity and the many impacts this has on society.

She loves communication and has a love for languages in general. She has a master’s degree in translation (French and Spanish). Her mother tongue is Dutch, but she also finds her way around in English, German and some Lebanese Arabic. Currently she is studying Italian.

Graduate Studies Coordinator

Yosr Mohammadnoor

Yosr Mohammadnoor has a broad range of professional experience over the span of her career, having worked in key Abu Dhabi government-affiliated organizations such as The Higher Colleges of Technology, Masdar and most recently The National Health Insurance Company­—Daman.

Her work has primarily been in the fields of project and portfolio management, as well as strategy and planning, with a focus on creating a project management culture within her recent organization.

She also has a proven successful record in managing large-scale higher education aptitude assessments and initiatives in collaboration with the Ministry of Higher Education of Abu Dhabi.

Mohammadnoor holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration from Ajman University of Science and Technology, UAE, as well as a master’s degree in international management from the University of Phoenix, USA.


Technology Transfer Officer

Dr. Vaibhav Sharma

Vaibhav Sharma was born and brought up in the UAE and moved to the UK to pursue his higher studies. He completed his PhD from University College London in the field of tissue engineering, developing a skin replacement class II medical device for dermal injuries. The product was patented and to commercialize the product, Dr. Sharma assisted the team to set up a start-up called Smart Matrix Ltd. He was heavily involved in the technology transfer aspect of the start-up and the product is now in phase II clinical trials. He then moved to Imperial College London as an executive and started working for the technology transfer team, where he was supporting the commercialization of medtech inventions arising from all the engineering departments. His role involved performing the initial IP assessment by defining the novelty of the technology, understanding the commercial landscape and formulating commercialization strategies via licensing or start-up route. He was handling a portfolio of close to 100 new disclosures and 25 active disclosures.

Senior Grant Management Specialist

Sanda Bob

Sanda Bob joined AUS in 2009 and in 2011 became Assistant to the Vice Provost for Research and Graduate Studies. She joined the Office of the Chief Research Officer in 2017. She performs various functions as a lead administrator for all things pre-award, post-award, compliance and reporting on internal and external research grants. She holds a bachelor’s degree in management from Babes-Bolyai University, Cluj, Romania.

Grant Management Specialist

Vargheese Antony

Vargheese Antony came to AUS from Azim Premji University in Bangalore, India, where he was a senior Resource Person for Institutional Review Board (IRB) and research administration since 2014. His career began as a schoolteacher in Uttar Pradesh in 2003 before moving to research management. He holds a master’s in educational planning and administration (2007) specializing in higher education from Jamia Millia Islamia, New Delhi, India; a post graduate diploma in child rights (2010) from Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Mumbai, India; and a bachelor’s in both economics (1996) and education (2003) from Mahatma Gandhi University, Kerala, India. He is also a certified education lecturer by the University Grants Commission of India since 2013. He is an awardee of the 2000 Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award for Young People.

Post Award Grant Specialists

Majed Alghfeli

Majed Alghfeli, an AUS alumnus, has returned to his alma mater as a staff member following a successful finance career at BNP Paribas CIB. During his seven years there, he held various positions, including Account Officer and Senior Financial Reporting Analyst, gaining extensive experience in the corporate world. Passionate about sustainability and artificial intelligence, he has earned a Data Science Professional Certificate from IBM and completed the prestigious McKinsey Forward Program to further his knowledge in these areas. Alongside his professional pursuits, he finds creative fulfillment in photography. With his unique combination of financial expertise, technical skills and commitment to continuous learning, he is poised to make a significant impact in his career and contribute to the advancement of the UAE.

Akshera Rai

Akshera Rai, a seasoned research administration professional, has brought her expertise in pre-award, post-award, IRB and grant management to AUS. With a master's degree in global business and a bachelor's in information technology, she has held various roles at AUS, including Post-Award Grants Specialist and Accounts Payable Accountant. Prior to joining AUS, she spent over five years at Georgetown University in Qatar, where she served as a Grants and Compliance Officer and Outreach and Business Development Coordinator. Her experience also includes stints at as a Marketing Intern and HCL Infosystems Ltd as Account Executive. With her diverse skill set spanning business development, analysis and intelligence, coupled with her passion for research administration, she is well-positioned to make a lasting impact in her field and contribute to the growth of higher education in the UAE.

Contact Us


We look forward to assisting you further! 

You can reach us at: 

Research Services
                  Tel +971 6 515 4474
               [email protected]

                  Graduate Studies
                  Tel +971 6 515 4721
                  [email protected]

                  Technology Transfer
                  Tel +971 6515 2216
                  [email protected]


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