QNRF Newsletter Archive

Research contest showcases best undergraduate research

Sharmeen Ibrahim presenting an intelligent system for traffic light control at UREP Competition.
QNRF announced the winners of the third Undergraduate Research Experience Program (UREP) Competition at a ceremony in the Qatar Foundation Student Center on March 21st.

The prestigious annual event highlights the best research in UREP projects in Qatar, which students perform under the supervision of faculty members. This year the top eight projects were invited to compete for three top prizes in front of invited guests and dignitaries. These eight finalist projects represented 37 students and 14 mentors and spanned a range of subjects from the design of the intelligent traffic signals, urban planning and green building projects to the phenomenon of domestic violence and the creation of a complete guide to the nation's archaeological sites.

Student representatives from each project presented their work to the judging panel of distinguished scientists, chaired by Dohaland CEO Engr Issa al-Mohannadi. Other members of the judging panel included ICT Industry Development National Network Infrastructure Manager Engr Ahmed Salman Ali al-Sulaiti, Meeza Consulting Services Director Dr Jaouad Alkhaliki, Council of Ministers' General Secretariat for Development Planning Economist Dr Osama Noujoum and Shafallah Centre Managing Director Samira al-Qassimi.

The winners were judged on four criteria:

  • 25% Quality of work
  • 25% Relevance of data to the conclusions
  • 25% Clarity of presentation
  • 25% Quality of response to Q&A session
The eventual winners were Abdulhadi Al-Saei, Sanah Sadiq and Arnab Chowdhury for their work on the project "Down Syndrome in Qatar: A Survey of Public Perception and Educational Resources". They each won QR10,000 and their supervisor, Dr. Pablo Rodriguez del Pozo, of Weill Cornell Medical College in Qatar, was awarded QR15,000.

The work highlighted the need to spread awareness about children with Down syndrome to allow them to integrate more easily into society. The project found that 30 percent of women claimed to have read about Down Syndrome, whilst only 18 percent of men had.

Dr. Amer Al-Saadi, Advisor Research at Qatar Foundation and Dr. Abdul Sattar Al-Taie, Executive Director of QNRF, handed the prizes and the certificates to the winners.
Prize ceremony

Second place went to the project "Green Home: Sustainable energy management and home automation" and third place went to "An Intelligent Traffic Light Control System for Ambulance Use".

A list of the top three projects and the people involved:

First place:
Down Syndrome in Qatar: A Survey of Public Perception and Educational Resources
UREP Competition

The winning presentation at the UREP competition.
The winning presentation at the UREP competition.
  • Student Presenter: Abdulhadi Al-Saei
  • Other participating students: Sanah Sadiq, Arnab Chowdhury
  • Primary Faculty Member: Dr. Pablo Rodriguez del Pozo
  • Institution: Weill Cornell Medical College in Qatar


Anecdotal evidence suggests that the social attitude towards children with Down syndrome is frequently marked by ignorance towards the nature of the condition. Hence, this study was aimed to derive information about the society's perception of children with Down syndrome and the perception of the families of children with Down syndrome regarding social attitudes towards their children and possibilities of social integration of these children. To accomplish these aims, a public random survey was conducted on a 300-people sample to study the attitudes of the general public about children with Down syndrome. Additionally, a family survey was conducted among parents of children with Down syndrome, to obtain information about their perceptions of people's attitudes towards their children in Qatar in different settings. The results of the study were categorized based on age and gender. There were significant gender differences in the awareness about Down syndrome: For example 30% of women claimed having studied about DS, while the number was only 18% among men; 30% of women were aware of the incidence of DS compared to just 2% of men who knew the correct incidence. Regarding the social acceptance of children with Down syndrome, regrettably, 41%, 42% and 57% of participants in age groups 18-25, 26-40 and over 40 years responded that they would not encourage their kids to play with children with DS. And worrisomely, 42% of all respondents believed that children with Down syndrome are prone to misbehavior and aggression. In the family survey, 28% of the parents agreed revealed that the general reaction is usually apprehensive. Moreover, about 28% of parents were dissatisfied with the reaction of the public in shopping malls. As a general conclusion, the study found that there is a need to spread awareness about children with Down syndrome, so that people are aware of the needs and capabilities of children with Down Syndrome and therefore, to allow their better integration into society.

Second place:
Green Home: Sustainable energy management and home automation
  • Student Presenter: Kareem Baksh and Ali Ibrahim Behaih
  • Other participating students: Viqas Malik, Abdullah Jabbar, Muhammad Shamsul Huda, Samahat Samim, Marco Van Der Merwe, Adel Ahmed , Paulo Sane
  • Primary Faculty Member: Dr. Ovaise Murtuza
  • Other faculty members: Dr. Tanveer Sayeed, Dr. Luay Hussein
  • Institution: College of the North Atlantic - Qatar


Since the Industrial Revolution, a significant increase of greenhouse gas concentration has led to an alarming rise in the earth's average temperature. However, despite the awareness and desire to curb global warming, demand for energy consumption has grown exponentially. Rapid growth in the State of Qatar is a microcosm of this global phenomenon. The current challenges faced in Qatar are a lack of sustainable resource management and inefficient home designs. "Green Home" is a revolutionary project, which proposes inexpensive alternatives to current practices in the home construction industry. It is a solution designed to address the above stated problems. The goal is to encourage "green-friendly" living for Qatari residents. An existing villa in Qatar was the focus of this study. Students at CNA-Q, under the direction of the engineering faculty, studied the electricity and water usage of this existing villa. They calculated all the lighting, HVAC and water loads of the existing system. The same villa was then analyzed theoretically for energy savings using home automation technologies, energy efficient lighting and HVAC systems. A comparative study was done between the Old Current System (OCS) and the New Proposed System (NPS). In this comparative study, the NPS is a theoretical model, incorporating new energy technologies. A small scale model of the existing villa was created. In this model, home automation and water management systems were installed and tested for functionality. The primary function of this small scale model is for the illustration of the functionality of the NPS. The entire model was powered by solar energy. Results of the theoretical comparative study showed significant energy savings, when compared to the operation of the real villa. Using the suggested improvements the NPS uses 70% less energy for lighting and 45% less energy for HVAC than the OCS. These savings are calculated and compared for a "typical year" per villa. The project has now progressed to the next phase. The villa studied is currently being retrofitted with automation and energy efficient devices and an energy audit is being conducted. The final goal is to construct a green villa from its foundation utilizing this study as a benchmark while designing and building this green villa. Significant work is currently being conducted in partnership with Qatar Green Building Council.

Third place:
An Intelligent Traffic Light Control System for Ambulance Use

  • Student Presenter: Sharmeen Ibrahim
  • Other participating students: Heba Khayal, Noor Al-Nakhala
  • Primary Faculty Member: Dr. Tarek El Fouly
  • Other faculty member: Dr. Amr Mohamed
  • Institution: Qatar University


The intelligent traffic light system is a project that provides an automatic system for traffic lights control that makes a green wave for an ambulance to pass without having any obstacles in its way. One of the problems that could be noticed here in Doha by people visiting or living in Qatar is the traffic jams. This is due to many factors that could be summarized in three main ones: - accidents, road constructions and heavy car traffic in certain roads especially in rush hours. This affects greatly in extending the time needed for an ambulance to reach its destination, which can be either the accident location or to return back to the hospital. So there is a need to solve this serious problem that could affect and has impact on the individuals, state economy and society. The intelligent traffic light system for ambulance use is considered a powerful system that can reduce and solve the traffic jams problem that an ambulance may face. The project main purpose was to introduce a possible solution for solving this serious problem. It was implemented to take the advantage of both the GSM and GPS technology. It was designed so that an SMS message with the ambulance GPS position is sent from the ambulance to the traffic controller server. The closest traffic light is decided and another SMS message containing the sequence to be generated on the traffic light is sent from the server to the traffic light and the green wave is given to the closest traffic light to the ambulance so that it can smoothly pass. The system consists of three main components: Wireless Traffic Controller (WTC): Responsible for generating the different states of the traffic light and giving the green wave to the desired traffic light based on the SMS arrived from the server. Ambulance Information Transmitter (AIT): Responsible for gathering the ambulance GPS positions while moving and send them continuously to the server. Traffic Control Server (TCS): Responsible for deciding the closest traffic light to the ambulance based on the database it has and send the required changing SMS message to the WTC unit to get the traffic light green for the ambulance to pass. In order to reduce the cost of the system, GPRS technology was used instead of the GSM to get the GPS positions of the ambulance car to be sent to the server so that it can be decided which traffic light intersection should change its stated in order for the ambulance to pass. 

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