Global Audience For Qatar National Research Fund Awards
Focus On Impact
Qatar National Research Fund (QNRF), part of Qatar Foundation Research and Development (QF R&D), went global as members of the nation’s research community gathered together—in Doha and online across the world—for the 9th QNRF Annual Forum.
Held at the Qatar National Convention Centre and simultaneously broadcast live via the internet, the highlight of the event—a central feature on Qatar’s research calendar—was the announcement of funding awards for 85 research projects that address Qatar’s greatest challenges, through QNRF’s National Priorities Research Program (NPRP). the Forum also revealed the beneficiaries of other awards under QNRF’s portfolio of programs.
Now in its 10th year, the NPRP was described by Dr. Hamad Al-Ibrahim, Executive Vice President, QF R&D, as a "resounding success" in his opening remarks: “This year, we introduced the concept of co-funding, encouraging contributions from collaborators and stakeholders.”
Such collaborations, emphasized Dr. Al-Ibrahim, help to ensure that industry and the private sector are playing their parts in meeting Qatar’s priorities. He outlined how the clustering of NPRP-supported projects around central priority themes represents a more effective use of resources.
A presentation by Dr. Abdul Sattar Al-Taie, Executive Director, QNRF, entitled ‘Road To Impact’, focused on the importance of NPRP-funded projects leading to solid research outcomes. “As Qatar’s national funding agency, QNRF’s commitment to preparing a diverse, globally engaged research workforce has seen an increase in creative, original submissions that not only align with the Qatar National Research Strategy, but also show potential for commercialization,” he said.
“By integrating research with education and building capacity through a variety of support programs, QNRF has progressively built a framework that is now pivotal to the diversification of the nation’s economy as it shifts towards a more sustainable economic model that is not hydrocarbon-dependent,” he added.
Presentations at the Annual Forum also saw Dr. Hisham Sabir, Technical Director, QNRF, outline efforts to simplify the progress reporting system for ongoing research projects while maximizing their impact. Dr. Aisha Al-Obaidly, Capacity Building Director, QNRF, gave an overview of the programs QNRF has put in place to nurture and enhance homegrown scientific and research talent, before announcing the recipients of QNRF’s Graduate Sponsorship Research Awards.
For the fourth consecutive year, QNRF’s Best Research Office of the Year award— announced by Riham Daher, Post-Award Administration Manager, QNRF—went to Texas A&M University at Qatar, a Qatar Foundation (QF) partner university, with Qatar University and QF partner university Weill Cornell Medicine-Qatar being shortlisted.
Noor Al-Merekhi, Deputy Executive Director and Director of Programs, QNRF, then presided over the awards for the Path Towards Personalized Medicine and Osra— which means ‘family’ in Arabic—programs, before announcing the awards for the 10th cycle of the NPRP.
“It is always a pleasure to conclude the QNRF Annual Forum with the announcement of the outcomes of our major funding program and, out of 343 peer-reviewed proposals submitted, a total of 85 were awarded, representing a 25% success rate,” she said.
“As part of the diligent peer review process, many factors were taken into consideration, the most important of which is to select research proposals that have the capacity to make the greatest scientific and socio-economic impact on Qatar. The mechanics of the NPRP, the crown jewel in QNRF’s funding activities, have been adjusted as we continue to address the long-term Grand Challenges [DEM1] facing society in Qatar by involving stakeholders in creating value,” she continued.
The 13 entities in Qatar that will benefit from support through the 10th cycle of NPRP are: Aspetar (1 awarded proposal); Carnegie Mellon University in Qatar (4); College of the North Atlantic - Qatar (2); Doha Institute For Graduate Studies (2); Gulf Organisation for Research and Development (1); Hamad Bin Khalifa University (8); Hamad Medical Corporation (4); Ministry of Public Health (1); Northwestern University in Qatar (1); Qatar University (29); Sidra Medical and Research Center (8); Texas A&M University at Qatar (19); and Weill Cornell Medicine-Qatar (5).