QNRF Newsletter Archive

Mr Anhi Hong - Senior Award Administrator

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Mr Anhi Hong - Senior Awards Administrator.
Anhi Hong has a background in financial economics and has previously worked in the post-award offices of King's College London, Imperial College, and KAUST in Saudi Arabia. He joined QNRF in 2011.

Q: What initially attracted you to QNRF?
A: : During my time at KAUST I first heard about Qatar Foundation through networking and gradually more every day in the media. Up until then I knew very little about Qatar. Whilst researching QF, I came across QNRF, and the vital role they played in facilitating a research culture in Qatar and engaging renowned researchers from around the world to collaborate and conduct research with scientists here in Qatar. QF and QNRF, with their initiatives and mission to unlock human potential, was appealing. I felt with my background and experience I can contribute to this cause and it has been a wonderful journey so far.

Q: What stands out and excites you about living in Qatar?
A: The pace at which Qatar has developed in the last five years is astonishing. Qatar has opened its doors to the world, whilst maintaining their core values and principles, and that’s something very unique. From virtually an unknown country, to the current exposure of Qatar to the rest of the world and being recognised for the all the right reasons, such as the vision of Qatar’s leadership, humanitarian effort particularly in the Middle East region, we have a high standard of living with one of highest GDP per capita. This is also reflected in low unemployment and low crime rates, its great all-round place to live and raise a family.

Q: You are a Senior Award Administration Officer, what does this mean?
A: I operate in the post-award phase in funded NPRP grants and act as a primary focal point between QNRF and our awardees to ensure compliance with the terms and conditions of the Fund Management Agreement. This includes assisting the Director of Post-Award in the general financial, contractual and logistical implementation and oversight of QNRF grants.

I also liaise with our IT support team to discuss and implement solutions to our internal and external online systems. And of course I work closely with the members of the QNRF Technical team in order to process the evaluation of periodic progress reports and facilitate site visits to meet the research teams.

I find the post award stages the most exciting aspect of working for a funding body; this is where we monitor the progress of the project and see the outputs generated by the research team when a project has successfully been completed.

Q: How would you describe an average day in this role?
A: Average days do not exist in the working environment of QNRF. As a vital cog in QF, we make ourselves available to assist the needs of QF R&D in the number of key events conducted in Qatar and internationally. The scope can vary from providing statistical information of our funded programs to assisting implementation of strategic initiatives developed by senior management.

But typically I would spend the morning reviewing my planned activities for the day, prioritise any new tasks to tackle. Raise critical issues to the Director of Post award. Followed by addressing any urgent issues raised by awardees. Throughout the day I would meet with the QNRF Technical team to follow up on outstanding issues.

Q: What are some of the highlights of your position at QNRF — things that give you the most satisfaction?
A: It is satisfying to be making a difference and being a part of the bigger picture and vision of Qatar’s leadership. It’s been a privilege to work with such a vibrant, diverse and passionate group of people at QNRF. We are blessed with a wealth of experience from individuals in different research disciplinary backgrounds and I find myself learning something new each day.

Q: How would you say that QNRF is different to other funding agencies around the world?
A: QNRF is different in how we interact and the bond we have forged with our awardees. With Qatar being such a small country and very tight-knit research community, we have a forged a very close relationship with all our awarded institutions, much closer than you would typically find in the UK or US. However, I must emphasize that, regardless of the number or size of the awards made to an awardee institution, we engage with them all, periodically several times a year via hosting workshops, forums and meetings to discuss best practices and innovative solutions to common issues.

We consult and listen to our partners knowing full well the growth and development of Qatar cannot be achieved alone, we seek continuous improvement and strive for excellence.

Q: If you were to share one valuable insight from your experience with the research community, what would it be?
A: I think once a Lead Principal Investigator (LPI) has been successfully awarded a project, it’s easy to think the hard part of getting funded for the next few years is done and take their foot off the gas. But researchers should be reminded we expect the same aims and deliverables as set out the research proposal to be met.

And, of course, as we continue to grow and attract the best scientists in the world, applications will become more competitive and previous funded projects that were successfully completed will impact future applications.

Q: What do you see in the future for Qatar, as a nation, and its research community?
A: The country has so much untapped potential and in recent years we have seen the seeds of labour come to fruition and I believe there is much more to come. I would expect Qatar to become a more popular tourist destination, especially with infrastructural development of the metro, new airport and efforts made by Qatar’s leadership to promote tourism from films festivals, art and cultural exhibitions to hosting international sporting events.

In terms of research, I believe with the ever expanding research community and Qatar attracting the best scientists it will become more competitive and the quality and standards raised even higher. We should see more significant outputs generated and commercialisation of intellectual property benefiting Qatar and the world. 
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