QU celebrates winners of the QAFCO Research and Development Grant

جانب من تبادل الدروع التذكاريةQatar University (QU) in collaboration with Qatar Fertilizer Company (QAFCO) initiated the “QAFCO Research and Development Grant” (QRDG) in 2020. In a recent ceremony, QAFCO announced the winning projects of the second phase of the grant, 6th March. Two of the eight projects that were qualified in the first phase of the grant were announced as winning projects.

This grant was split into two phases. The detailed study summaries and scientific sources on which the research proposal’s idea was based were assessed in the first phase, and the successful projects from this phase were selected to finish their work during the second part of the grant to implement the research project.

The ceremony started with a speech from Prof. Mariam Ali Al-Maadeed, Vice President of Qatar University for Research and Graduate Studies, she welcomed the attendees, stressing that “The cooperation between Qatar University and the industrial sector is longstanding and renewing based on a single vision and common goals between the two sides. The university is keen to put its expertise and research capabilities into supporting industry and producing research.” Influential topics that address national research priorities, meet the economic and social needs of the country, and contribute to building sustainable development and a knowledge-based economy. Today we are reaping a new fruit for this blessed cooperation, and I extend my sincere thanks and appreciation to Qatar Fertilizer Company (QAFCO) and its officials for their constant support.”

Dr. Abdulaziz Bouras, Acting Director of the Office of Research Support, gave a brief explanation of Qatar University’s partnership with QAFCO: “The partnership with QAFCO has been a great success due to the close cooperation and contribution of the industrial partner with Qatar University in all phases of the funding program. The industrial partner has actively contributed with the Office of Research Support at Qatar University in designing the industrial financing program, writing its basic objectives, technical evaluation of reports on the progress of projects of the first phase, and selecting the winning projects for the second phase of financing.”

In his speech, Mr. Hassan Al-Mohammadi, Chief Administration Officer at Qatar Fertilizer Company (QAFCO), said, “The funding of scientific research is based on the principle of public-private partnership, which we were pleased to participate in by supporting the Research and Development Grant at Qatar University. What we celebrate today is the completion of those research studies, which we do not consider an end point, but rather a starting point for working with the recommendations of those researches and putting them into practice to overcome our future challenges.”

The ceremony also included a panel discussion moderated by Dr. Maha Al-Asmakh, Head of the Biomedical Sciences Department at the College of Health Sciences at Qatar University. The panelists included Dr. Basem Shomar, Director of Research Excellence in the Research and Graduate Studies Sector at the University, Mr. Carol Khadra, Senior Agricultural Engineer at QAFCO, Mr. Jassim Al Thani, Research Assistant at the Environmental Science Center at Qatar University, and Dr. Eman Saleh, PhD graduate from Qatar University.

The session discussed the issue of the relationship between the academic and industrial sectors, where Dr. Basem Shomar talked about how to work with the industrial sector within successful strategic partnerships, and the mechanisms that Qatar University is working on to activate the partnership with the industrial sector in the country. Then, Mr. Carol Khadra spoke about the challenges of scientific research that could be a contributing factor to increasing local agricultural production from the point of view of QAFCO, in addition to how scientific research projects approximate the requirements of the agricultural sector of the State of Qatar. Mr. Jassim Al Thani elaborated on his opinion on the results that could result from strengthening the relations between the academic and industrial sectors, and the mechanisms that can be worked on to strengthen partnerships between the academic sector and the industrial sector, and how these relations can be strengthened in the long run, from his point of view as a researcher in marine sciences.

As for Dr. Eman Saleh, she participated in talking about her experience as a doctoral student at Qatar University, and directing the doctoral student to develop a systematic research plan to obtain a marketable research product in the industrial field, and how easy it is to communicate with the appropriate industrial field to market the product when the researcher reaches promising results in one of the research fields.

At the end of the ceremony program, all individuals participating in the first phase of the grant were honored by Prof. Mariam Al-Maadeed and Mr. Hassan Al-Mohammadi. The winning research teams in the second phase of the grant were announced, and they were honored on the podium.

Qatar University emphasizes on research collaboration with the industrial sector, as it is essential for boosting research funding opportunities and development of prototypes, systems and related programs. In addition, it fortifies the university’s contribution in fulfilling the country’s research needs in national priorities areas, and exploring different methods to share knowledge and apply research marketing. Furthermore, collaboration with the industry ensures that the research capabilities and skills at the university are employed into finding innovative solutions for crucial issues to the industrial sector in the country, as the university is supporting to building a knowledge-based economy in Qatar.