Wednesday 14th May 2014, saw QNRF hold its 6th Annual Forum, this year themed ‘Building on Success’, at the magnificent Qatar National Convention Centre. Held under the patronage of Mr. Faisal M. Alsuwaidi, President of Research and Development at Qatar Foundation, the Forum was attended by 400 members of Qatar’s research community and streamed live via QNRF’s website to thousands of viewers worldwide.
Highlighting the success and achievements of QNRF, Mr. Alsuwaidi, the keynote speaker, reminded the audience that researchers need to think about the real end-point and impact of their research. He emphasised how the goal was to produce research that should lead to new products and services. “QNRF continues to help by building a vibrant research culture in Qatar”, he said, adding that he was proud that QNRF’s National Priorities Research Program (NPRP) continued to “inspire originality” and “encourage collaboration”.
Apart from an opportunity for Qatar’s research community to get together and network, QNRF’s Annual Forums are eagerly anticipated as the venue for the announcement of the outcome of the latest cycle of the NPRP.
This year was no exception, as a packed house heard from Ms. Noor Al-Merekhi, NPRP Program Manager, that 22 institutions had been awarded a record 162 proposals, 97% of which were aligned with the four pillars of the Qatar National Research Strategy (QNRS), namely: energy and environment, computer science and information and communications technology, health and life sciences, and social sciences.
Ranging from engineering, water security and cyber security, to studies in road traffic accidents, diabetes, cancer, and cardiovascular and infectious diseases, the projects will delve into topics including education, urban development, business innovation, culture, language and identity. Other topics on the Agenda included a presentation by Dr. Abdul Sattar Al-Taie, Executive Director of QNRF, a series of six short presentations from researchers revealing the results and insights from their QNRF funded projects, and the announcement and presentation of the much coveted QNRF awards for Best Research Office of the Year, Best Researcher of the Year and Best Research Team of the Year.
Dr. Al-Taie’s presentation emphasised how QNRF continued to build on success year-by-year and he showed that QNRF had received 798 proposals in the seventh cycle of the NPRP, an 18 percent increase in the number of applications compared to the previous cycle. This most recent cycle also saw the number of applications from Qatari lead principal investigators double. “We remain committed to building on this success as we continue in our efforts to drive Qatar’s research sector,” he said.
As QNRF’s flagship funding program, the NPRP aims to support Qatari institutions by building the infrastructure necessary to support high-quality research. The program is also a platform from which local researchers can work with prestigious global institutions to conduct research vital to Qatar’s development and sustainability.
QNRF also recognised researchers and research offices with well-deserved awards. The Best Research Team Award in 2014 went to the team working on novel concepts of emission and transmission of light for optical information technologies. The team is led by Texas A&M University at Qatar and is comprised of researchers from leading institutions in the United States, Germany, China, Serbia, and Australia. Collectively, they have published 32 journal papers, five conference papers, one book chapter and nine online papers.
The Best Researcher Award for 2014 was bestowed upon Dr. Shahin Rafii from Weill Cornell Medical College as recognition for his diligent work ethics, as well as having published 14 journal papers and a book chapter. In addition, Qatar University was also acknowledged as the Best Research Office in 2014 for the organisation’s excellent punctuality and compliance during pre-funding and post-funding phases.
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