Al Akhawayn University in Ifrane - Spotlights


Dr. Muhammad Ikram publishes paper on Sustainability Innovation and firm competitiveness in Sustainable Production and Consumption Journal

Dr. Muhammad Ikram, assistant professor at the AUI School of Business Administration (SBA), has published an article titled “Do sustainability innovation and firm competitiveness help improve firm performance? Evidence from the SME sector in Vietnam.” The article has been published in the prestigious, leading Sustainable Production and Consumption Journal, which is indexed in SSCIandScopuswhich has an impact factor of 5.032.  

This study unfolds the nexus between sustainability innovation and firm performance of small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) by exploring the mediating role of firm competitiveness in the context of an emerging market. This study adopts a systematic literature review approach, which demonstrated that this relationship is not explored in-depth in current literature. This is especially critical for emerging economies, as current literature shows a lack of empirical research in this topic. 

This study contributes to the current literature and provides several implications. First, it provides an extension to the current literature on sustainability innovations and firm performance by integrating firm competitiveness as a mediator for this relationship. Second, this study offers insights into the mechanism of how innovations are associated with improving performance dimensions and how firm competitiveness mediates this relationship. Third, to the best of our knowledge, this study is first among its kind that develops the integrated framework of sustainability innovations, firm competitiveness, and firm performance dimensions in a single research model, whereby firm competitiveness plays a mediating role. Fourth, this study provides theoretical and managerial implications that are of significance to business practitioners, managers, and policymakers to address the aforementioned issues. Finally, this study suggests avenues for future research on sustainability innovation to further enrich the literature. 

More details about the article on can be found at: 

Dr. Derek Elliot Elected a Fellow of the British Royal Historical Society

Dr. Derek Elliott, Assistant Professor in History at Al Akhawayn University, was recently elected as a fellow of the Royal Historical Society for his original contributions to historical scholarship. Founded in 1868, the RHS is the foremost society in Britain for professional historians to advance the scholarly study of the past. The Society is involved in publishing, organizing academic events and research training, they award grants and career support, as well as prizes and awards, and have their own research library and archive (the Royal Historical Society Library, located in London). Fellowship is based on nomination and an external peer-review process by senior academics in the field. Dr. Elliott is the first historian at AUI to be elected to RHS fellowship. 

More details about the Royal Historical Society can be found at: 

Honors Trip to Casablanca

This past weekend, students from the Honors Program accompanied by the Honors Program Coordinator, Rossitsa Varadinova Borkowski, went on a trip to Casablanca with 3 educational tours guided by Dr. Eric Ross. The trip was done under the umbrella theme of this semester’s Honors Seminar, Life Spaces. 

Students were able to visit different urban projects and architectural sites in Casablanca dating from precolonial, colonial, and postcolonial periods. Areas such as Ville Nouvelle, Sidi Belyout, the Medina, Temara, and Habous are the neighborhoods where students learned about urban housing projects and policies from a critical perspective, whether they were designed for the Moroccan working class in recent years and for Moroccans during colonial times on one hand, or for the French Protectorate administration and tourists, on the other. 

In the same interdisciplinary approach that governs the Honors program, this trip has given students the opportunity to be critical tourists that wander around, observing with historical, sociological, urbanistic, and political lenses.  

If you want to stay up-to-date with the Honors Program, follow us on Instagram @aui_honors. 

Paper co-authored by AUI Ph.D. student Safae Bourhnane and faculty is published in MDPI Applied Sciences


Ph.D. student and faculty member Ms. Safae Bourhnane and Dr. Mohamed Riduan Abid, from the AUI School of Science and Engineering, recently published a paper titled "Cluster of Single-Board Computers at the Edge for Smart Grids" in the journal MDPI Applied Sciences. The paper has a JCR (Journal Citation Reports) Impact Factor of 2.67. The paper was accepted for publication on the 15th of November, 2021, and published on the 19th of November.  The piece was a collaboration with Khalid Zinedine from the Faculty of Sciences at Mohammed V University of Rabat; Najib Elkamoun, from the Faculty of Sciences El Jadida at Chouaib Doukkali University; and Driss Benhaddou, from the School of Engineering and Technology at the University of Houston. The study was funded by a US-NAS/USAID grant. 


The paper reports on an experiment conducted by the authors on the benefits of using single-board computers (SBCs) for smart grids. Electric grids are the network that allow for electricity to be provided over a region of land. A smart grid, on the other hand, has the advantage that it collects data on the user and is able to integrate renewable energy. Therefore, smart grids allow users to know more about their own consumption between them and the service. The authors considered using the simpler SBCs because, among their many benefits, they do not have space for other components to be added, so it causes less bugs – therefore, their use is more straightforward. Edge computing refers to storing data outside a centralized location, such as directly where the data is generated, making it more time-efficient in sending information from one place to another. In an attempt to determine the most efficient method, the authors used SBCs such as Raspberry Pi 3 Model B, Raspberry Pi 3 Model B+, and Odroid C2, but since they have limited computing ability, they realized that clustering them in a Pi Stack at the edge resulted in higher computing power.  


More details about the paper can be found a 

Dr. Muhammad Ikram publishes paper on Optimization of Logistics Cost in SAGE Open Journal

Dr. Muhammad Ikram, assistant professor at the AUI School of Business Administration (SBA), has published an article titled “Developing a Framework for the Optimization Processes of Logistics Costs: A Hurwitz Criterion Approach.” The article has been published in the prestigious, leading SAGE Open Journal, which is indexed in SSCI & Scopus.

This article focuses on an optimized logistics cost model; the authors developed a comprehensive, logistic framework to optimize the supply chains and logistics processes. Most of the proposed methods can offer optimization processes either from maximizing winnings or for risks. This article describes a newly developed synthetic Hurwitz criterion, its generalization for mixed strategies, and how it enables the logistics manager to make decisions taking into account both the winnings and risks of the decisions made in processes of chain supply and logistics (such as the logistics of products, when decisions must be taken more than once and regularly). Finally, this study develops a criterion that provides the optimal strategy to solve decision-making problems for gains and risks in the logistic department.  

This study provides theoretical and practical implications. It contributes to the enrichment of logistic cost, especially developing a new approach to provide the optimal solution. From a practical perspective, this study suggests valuable guidelines for managers, policy, and decision-makers to understand the logistic cost and performance. One conclusion the authors arrived at is that lowering the logistics costs of delivering products encourages increased sales and trade, which offers the opportunity to explore new markers at national and international levels. Reducing logistics costs helps improve the efficiency of the supply chain and related functions such as infrastructures, services, procedures, and regulations. This study also assists policymakers prepare better-informed policies, as reading the article helps understand the main drivers of logistics cost and how cost reduction affects the logistics sector in the economy.

More details about the article on can be found at: