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QNRF makes three awards under NPRP-EP

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Texas A&M University at Qatar.

QNRF recently announced the award of three research proposals submitted to the sixth batch of its National Priorities Research Program – Exceptional Proposals (NPRP–EP) a mechanism offering additional resources beyond those available under the NPRP.

“I am proud to say that all three proposals awarded funding under the sixth batch of the NPRP-EP hold very high potential for knowledge advancement and innovation breakthrough, which warrants the extra investment being made by QNRF.” said Dr Abdul Sattar Al-Taie, Executive Director of QNRF.

The first, from Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC) is entitled ‘Sphingolipids in childhood asthma and obesity’ and is led by Dr Ibrahim Janahi, Head of Paediatric Pulmonology Section at HMC. His research will investigate the relationship between asthma and obesity amongst children in Qatar by studying novel therapies for these common diseases. It will effectively combine genomic and metabolomic technologies and not only provide knowledge for asthma pathogenesis in Qatar, but also for the wider region and could, ultimately, place Qatar at the forefront of modern research regarding asthma in children.

The next two awarded proposals are from Texas A&M University at Qatar (TAMUQ). Entitled ‘Synthesis of Novel and Sustainable Functionalized Linear and Cyclic Polymers via Olefin Metathesis’, the first will seek to develop novel and environmentally friendly ways in which to synthesise polymers that, like polyolefins, are currently produced on an immense scale by Qatar’s petro-chemical industry. Led by Professor Hassan Bazzi, Assistant Dean of Research and Graduate Studies, and Professor of Chemistry, at Texas A&M University at Qatar, in collaboration with Professor Robert Grubbs, a Nobel Laureate in chemistry, from the California Institute of Technology (Caltech), the project will aim to synthesise durable and environmentally friendly elastomers. The development of systems where active catalysts are separated and recycled could, for example, allow for the development of more environmentally friendly synthetic tires.

The second TAMUQ proposal to be awarded, ‘Design Of Novel Catalysts And Processes For Carbon Dioxide (CO2) Conversion From Micro To Macro Scale’ will seek to develop new catalysts and novel technologies aimed at scaling the conversion of CO2. It could have a significant impact on gas processing technology and CO2 conversion, not only in Qatar, but worldwide. Led by Dr Nimir El Bashir, Director of the Fuel Characterisation Lab and Associate Professor of Chemical Engineering at TAMUQ, the project, in collaboration with Total E&P Qatar, will involve building the infrastructure necessary to support large-scale catalyst synthesis in Qatar. Considering its extreme relevance to Qatar’s thriving natural gas-based energy and chemical industries, it also has the potential to advance Qatar’s reputation as a centre for energy-related R&D.

Commenting on how the mechanism for NPRP-EP submission differs from that of the NPRP - something that is often asked – Ms Noor Al-Merekhi, Program Manager, NPRP, said “Each awarded proposal will have undergone a rigorous three-stage evaluation, beginning with the initial research proposal vetting process performed by an expert panel within Qatar,” she said, “This will have been followed by a full scientific evaluation, conducted by seven, globally renowned, peer reviewers and ending with a programmatic review carried out by an expert panel in Qatar.” Researchers are invited to give a short presentation, in person, as part of the process.

For more information about the NPRP-EP visit qnrf.org

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