A study into Qatar’s air quality recently received the ‘Best Project’ award at Carnegie Mellon University in Qatar’s 9th annual ‘Meeting of the Minds’ undergraduate research symposium.
The ‘Particulate Air Pollution in Qatar and the Air Quality Index’ project was a collaboration between biological science students Syed Abbas Mehdi and Nourhan ElKhatib, under the mentorship of Terrence Murphy, teaching professor of chemistry at Carnegie Mellon Qatar.
The year-long study, conducted from March 2014 to April 2015, showed the annual average air pollution in Qatar exceeds not only guidelines set by Qatar’s National Standards but those of the World Health Organization and the United States’ Environmental Protection Agency.
El Khatib said: “With the results and information gathered thus far, we hope to expand on our research and help establish a set of guidelines for air quality in Qatar. We are also looking forward to improving our research in order to learn more about the molecules that are causing the pollution.”
In addition to taking first place in the competition, the study was one of five projects recognized by Dr. Barak Yehya, expert, institutional development, at the Ministry of Development Planning and Statistics, for their alignment with Qatar’s National Development Strategy.
Metis, a digital academic planner for college students created by computer science students Rukhsar Neyaz Khan and Sabih Bin Wasi, was awarded second place in the ‘Best Project’ category, while a study titled ‘Bacteriophage Diversity in the Ecology of Qatar’, conducted by biological sciences student Umm-Kulthum Umlai took third place.
The award for the ‘Best Poster’ went to ‘Designing Qatar’s Infrastructure in a Human Centered Way,’ by information systems student Noshin Anjum Nisa.
Awards at ‘Meeting of the Minds’ were presented following deliberation by a panel of judges from the Qatar National Research Fund (QNRF), the Ministry of Development, Planning and Statistics, Qatar Biobank, Qatar Science and Technology Park, Weill Cornell Medical College in Qatar, Siemens Qatar, Qatar Foundation Research and Development, Al Jazeera, Vodafone Qatar, Qatar Computing Research Institute, and Northwestern University in Qatar.
“Meeting of the Minds is a great platform for sharing research that has the potential to yield viable commercial results,” said Dr. Abdul Sattar Al-Taie, Executive Director of QNRF, who recognized two projects with awards from QNRF. “This symposium also provides the opportunity for knowledge transfer across the entire Qatar Foundation community in Education City, which is something that QNRF is proud to support.”
Batool Mohammed, engineer at Vodafone Qatar, added, “Vodafone Qatar works in partnership with Qatar Foundation to support the Qatar National Vision 2030, which is why sponsoring research from young scientists is very important for us, as it allows us to harness their talents in order to better serve Qatar in the future.”
This year marks the 20th anniversary of the undergraduate research symposium where all students are encouraged to participate and present their original research and creative projects. ‘Meeting of the Minds’ is an initiative that originates from the Carnegie Mellon University main campus in Pittsburgh, USA, which hosted the first annual Meeting of the Minds in 1995.
For more information about Carnegie Mellon Qatar and its programs, please visit: www.qatar.cmu.edu
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