Wednesday, 15 May 2013

QNRF grants $121 mn for 137 research projects

AILYN AGONIA

DOHA QATAR National Research Fund (QNRF) on Tuesday announced grants worth a total of $121 million for as many as 137 research proposals submitted by 27 local institutions for the 6th cycle of its flagship funding programme, National Priorities Research Programme (NPRP).

The announcement was made during the finale of the 5th Annual Forum of QNRF held under the patronage of President of Research and Development at Qatar Foundation Faisal Alsuwaidi at the Qatar National Convention Centre where more than 350 members of Qatar’s research community had assembled.

Out of $121 million, Qatar University has received the highest $53,982,480 for 63 research projects. The university had submitted as many as 309 proposals out of 710 proposals from 38 institutions received by NPRP’s sixth cycle.

Texas A&M University Qatar (TAMUQ) got $17,180,440 and Weill Cornell Medical College in Qatar (WCMCQ) was granted $10,106,293 for 17 and 10 research projects respectively.

TAMUQ and WCMCQ had each submitted 98 and 48 proposals respectively.

Meanwhile, out of 62 proposals submitted by Hamad Medical Corporation, 11 have been granted funds worth $10,129,302.

Some of the institutions including Anti-Doping Lab Qatar, Aspire Academy, Northwestern University in Qatar, Qatar Faculty of Islamic Studies, Stenden University Qatar and Supreme Council of Health have won the grants under the NPRP programme for the first time.

Ninety-seven percent of the 137 proposals to be funded by QNRF are directly aligned with the four pillars of the Qatar National Research Strategy (QNRS) namely energy and environment, computer science and ICT, health and social sciences as well as arts and humanities whereas 33 of the awarded proposals involve collaboration with local stakeholders.

According to NPRP Programme Manager Noor al Merekhi, these parameters were the major changes to the latest cycle of NPRP.

“With a 20 percent success rate, NPRP’s sixth cycle demonstrates the rising quality of research in Qatar.

Grants are based on QNRF’s strict criteria that take into account originality and quality of the research proposed, alignment with the Qatar National Research Strategy, potential benefits to Qatar and the region, and collaboration with other institutions in Qatar, in addition to the peer reviewers’ recommendations,” said Al Merekhi.

Other awardees include Biotechnology Centre of Ministry of Environment, Carnegie Mellon University in Qatar, ConocoPhilips Water Technology Ltd- QSTP, Fikra Consulting & Research Institution, General Electric- QSTP, Georgetown University School of Foreign Service in Qatar and Gulf Organisation for Research & Development.

Besides, projects by the Ministry of Environment, MoE Department of Animal Resources, Qatar Environment & Energy Research Institute, Shafallah Centre, Silatech, Transport Research Laboratory-QSTP, UNESCO-Doha, University College of London –Qatar, University of Calgary and VCUQ have also won grants in the sixth cycle of NPRP.

Speaking at the ceremony Alsuwaidi said, “In future, Qatar Foundation’s research entity will be under one roof.

This will facilitate formation of interdisciplinary teams to address specific problems with expertise. QNRF has made wise investments in research and gained global reputation. I am confident that it will continue to serve as a centre of excellence in the country and the region,” said Alsuwaidi.

QNRF also gave three awards on the occasion. Dr Khalid Ali Qarage of Texas A&M University of Qatar bagged the Best Researched Award, a category introduced this year. Best Research Team Award went to Weill Cornell Medical College in Qatar and Best Research Office Award was given to Texas A&M University Qatar.

QNRF’s former employees Dr Nabeel al Salem and Fatema Sorore were also honoured for their services, which have extended beyond five years, on the occasion.

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