Al Akhawayn University in Ifrane - Spotlights


AUI Faculty Publish on Smart Agriculture in a Q1-Tier Journal


AUI Faculty Dr. Riduan Abid and his Ph.D. student Bouali Ettaibi recently published a paper on Smart Agriculture in the IEEE Access Journal: an open-access and Q1-Tier (Best Quartile) journal. The paper is entitled "Renewable Energy Integration into Cloud & IoT-based Smart Agriculture," and is available for "Early Access" area on IEEE Xplore. The work is led by AUI and jointly co-supervised with collaborators from the University of Houston, the Faculty of Sciences and Technology Errachidia, and the Arava Institute for Environmental Studies. 


The goal of this research was to use Smart Agriculture (SA) to help solve the urgent problem of water scarcity. Dr. Abid and Ettaibi thought of a way to measure and control water usage in a group of crops using Information and Communication Technology (ICT) - in particular, using a cloud-based IoT (Internet of Things) system to monitor and regulate the water usage. This proved to be more effective than traditional irrigation systems, which may overwater crops or only irrigate again after the crops have been lacking water. By using this SA system,  only the necessary amount of water (no more or less) was used, as the IoT system measured the humidity of the soil and suggested the best times for irrigating the crops. This both 1) helped use water more wisely, and 2) encouraged healthier crops (not to mention that solar energy was also used for the computer systems). In addition, this research is open-access, and one goal is to encourage small and medium farmers to use similar cost-effective systems, especially in sub-Saharan countries. 


More details can be found at:

Dr. Muhammad Ikram Publishes Paper on Green Growth and Sustainable Development in Environmental Science and Pollution Research Journal

Dr. Muhammad Ikram, assistant professor at the AUI School of Business Administration (SBA), has published an article titled “Green growth and sustainable development: dynamic linkage between technological innovation, ISO 14001, and environmental challenges.” The article has been published in the prestigious, leading Environmental Science and Pollution Research Journal, which is indexed in SCI & Scopus, having a 4.223 impact factor. 

The topic of green growth is pervasive in attaining sustainable development in a country. This paper has explored the dynamic linkage between technological innovation, EMS (seen as a green form of organizational innovation), environmental challenges (namely, energy consumption and population growth), and green growth in the developing country context by using a novel, advanced mathematical GRA modeling approach.  

The government must support renewable energy sources and reduce taxes to help industries transition from conventional to alternative energy sources. When we examine the relationship between EMS and green growth, the results show a significant relationship between EMS, CO2, and renewable energy. EMS helps reduce CO2 and GHG emissions. The research findings provide critical policy suggestions that may help address the environmental challenges by promoting green growth development in developing countries. 

More details about the article can be found at:

Dr. Djallil Lounnas Contributes Chapter on Jihadism in North Africa-Sahel in Unpacking the Challenge of Jihadism in North Africa

Dr. Djallil Lounnas, Associate Professor of International Studies at the AUI School of Humanities and Social Sciences, recently contributed a chapter titled "The Shifting Landscape of Jihadism in North Africa-Sahel: From AQIM to JNIM" in the book titled Unpacking the Challenge of Jihadism in North Africa. The text as a whole is a study focusing on jihadi groups in North Africa and their connections at the regional level. Dr. Lounnas's contribution focuses on the shift in the epicenter of radical violence from North Africa in 1990's-2000's to the Sahel in the last few years, and on current relations between the radical movement between the two geographic areas. 

Dr. Lounnas discusses key historical events and how they were significant in shaping relations between different Jihadist groups. He identifies Sahelian Jihadism having roots in the 1990s, with the early Algerian Groupe Islamic Arme (GIA). Dr. Lounnas analyzes the way in which the successor of Abdelmalek Droukdal, emir of AQIM was appointed, and how the little importance given to it belittled AQIM and redirected attention to JNIM, for example. He also examines the historical kidnapping of 32 Western tourists in Algeria and the evolution of trafficking exploits between the different alliances - being involved in weapons, then human, and even drug trafficking - showing how Jihadist activities in the region developed and changed over time. 

New Role of Dr. Muhammad Ikram as Section Editor of “Bioeconomy of Sustainability” in MDPI journal, Sustainability (SSCI/3.251)

 Dr. Muhammad Ikram, assistant professor at the AUI School of Business Administration (SBA), has been appointed Section Editor of the newly-launched section, 'Bioeconomy of Sustainability', in the MDPI journal, Sustainability. 

Dr. Muhammad is organizing a special issue that may be of interest to you. We cordially invite you to submit a manuscript for consideration and possible publication in the upcoming Special Issue on “Green Technologies towards Cleaner Production and Sustainable Development”, to be published in Sustainability. 

We welcome your submissions and proposals, so please feel free to reach out to Dr. Muhammad Ikram ( This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. ) to unleash your #sustainability ideas! Not to mention, Sustainability MDPI is now ranked as the Top 3 high-impact journals in #GoogleScholar 

More details on the MDPI Sustainability journal can be found at: 


AUI Faculty Member's Book Included on Times Literary Supplement's Best Books of 2021 List

The Times Literary Supplementone of the English-speaking world's two foremost literary magazines, publishes an annual list of book recommendations compiled by their contributors. The list this year, "The Best Books of the Year 2021", which was published on 26 November 2021, featured a book edited by AUI assistant professor in history, Derek L. Elliott, The Voyages and Manifesto of William Fergusson, a Surgeon of the East India Company 1731-1739 (Routledge for Hakluyt Society, 2021), remarking on its "instructive entertainment". The book was recommended by leading world historian and TLS contributor, Professor Felipe Fernandez-Armesto. 

More details can be found at: