Research is generating a lot of interest in the country with the government through the Qatar Foundation (QF) taking various initiatives nationally and internationally, according to Dr Abdelali Haoudi, Vice President for Research at Qatar Foundation
“There’s a strong will and commitment both at the Qatar Foundation level and the national level. In fact 2.8 percent of the country’s GDP is allocated to support research and development, making Qatar one of the top 10 countries with the highest percentage of their GDP allotted for research,” Haoudi told reporters yesterday, adding this reveal the government’s strong will and sincere commitment to support research.
The Qatar Foundation Research Division was born in 2007 out of the need to coordinate research activities at the Education City and nationwide, including industrial and governmental organisations, explained Haoudi.
The Division ensures research programmes that support the need of different institutions, address challenges and needs and make sure the best services are provided at Education City level, national level and at the international level.
The Qatar National Research Fund (QNRF) provides the financial support. Haoudi said QNRF has developed two very successful research programmes, one of them was the Undergraduate Research Programme wherein students in the undergraduate level who have interest in undertaking research are given opportunity to conduct small scale researches. The other one is the National Priority Research Programme, which is also open for other researchers and scientists from other countries.
The Research Division is currently in the implementation phase of the strategic plan for research and development. Various small scale and large scale projects are ongoing such as the Qatar Science Leadership Programme designed for new Qatari graduates to embark on different areas of science and research either on scientific investigation or scientific administration. The Qatar Foundation lecture series is also proving to be very helpful, inviting top experts in different fields including Nobel Laureates to inspire students at various levels, in addition to small scale workshop.
The said programmes are geared towards promotion of interest on research and making it a culture. Forging partnership with international universities and institutions is also going on. In fact renowned schools such as Weill Cornell Medical College and Carnegie Mellon University are currently in progress on their research programmes, said Haoudi.
“Right now energy, health, and environment are top research priorities,” said Haoudi, adding with the fast growing economy and industry, environment issues are a big concern.
Starting world class research programmes and training Qataris to embark on these programmes are the major challenges the Research division is facing right now, he added.
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