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The College of Business and Economics Presents its Water Research Agenda

The College of Business and Economics (CBE) organized a Water Research Forum at AUK in collaboration with Kuwait Institute for Scientific Research (KISR) to highlight CBE's water research agenda undertaken by faculty members Dr. Mark Speece, Dr. Mohsen Bagnied and Dr. Ali Aljamal. The agenda comes as part of the College's efforts in pursuing AACSB accreditation, which encourages research of impact and relevance to the local community.

Following the welcome notes of AUK President, Professor Nizar Hamzeh, the Forum featured presentations by Dr. Mark Speece and Dr. Ali Aljamal who highlighted the research agenda and discussed findings of ongoing research. Delegates from KISR also attended the Forum, among whom were Ms. Eiman Al-Awadhi, KISR's Director of Commercialization Division, in addition to Ali Al-Odwani, and Ahmad Al-Saffar from KISR's Water Research Center.

According to Dr. Aljamal, most projects in the agenda are tied to issues which can have some water policy impact. Part of the agenda is a project to estimate willingness to pay (WTP) for water among Kuwaiti households. Its objective is to assess WTP under different pricing, subsidy and water shortage awareness schemes. A follow-up study aimed to gain better understanding of perception of water subsidy among Kuwaiti households, "The results have shown that Kuwaitis, for the most part, perceive subsidy as a matter of fairness; and not necessarily as a means of defraying cost of water. This "unique" perception could very well complicate efforts to roll back heavy subsidy, improve efficiency and promote sustainable water use," said Dr. Aljamal.

Business and economics students have participated in different phases of the studies. Students enrolled in Environmental and Resource Economics (ECON 363) helped with the data collection process, while marketing students developed marketing plans for KISR's bottled water.

In addition to enriching the CBE accreditation portfolio, the research agenda also serves multiple objectives, including generating useful data for government stakeholders concerned with water issues, providing students with opportunities for experiential learning, use of research results as classroom material, and integration across different disciplines.

The College's collaboration with KISR has started earlier last year and included multiple activities, including a visit by Eng. Al-Odwani last October, as a guest speaker in Dr. Mark Speece's class, MRKT 413; and a recent field trip of AUK students to an experimental water treatment facility run by KISR Water Research Center.

Released by the Office of Public Affairs on the 15th May 2016

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