Qatar Foundation’s Qatar National Research Fund (QNRF) has announced new research grants worth a total of $121mn, under its flagship National Priorities Research Programme (NPRP), with Qatar University bagging the biggest chunk, almost $54mn.
The national university, which submitted 309 proposals, was awarded for 63, out of a total of 137 from 27 local research institutions in January this year to NPRP’s sixth cycle.
Texas A&M University at Qatar (TAMUQ) was awarded $17.18mn for 17 proposals out of 98, Hamad Medical Corporation got $10.12mn for 11 proposals out of 62 and Weill Cornell Medical College in Qatar (WCMC-Q) got $10.1mn for 10 proposals out of 48.
The Best Research Team Award went to WCMC-Q, Best Research Office Award to TAMUQ, and the Best Researcher Award, introduced this year, went to TAMUQ’s Dr Khalid Ali Qaraqe.
The announcements were made at QNRF’s fifth Annual Forum, held yesterday at Qatar National Convention Centre and attended by more than 350 members of Qatar’s research community.
The event was under the patronage of Faisal al-Suwaidi, president of research and development at Qatar Foundation for Education, Science and Community Development.
In his opening address, al-Suwaidi observed that QNRF, which has gained global recognition with credible programmes, would continue to give emphasis to national priority needs.
Dr Abdul Sattar al-Taie, executive director at QNRF, pointed out, while presenting the agenda for the next five years that the NPRP was created to support original research for Qatar on topics of national importance, and to bolster the nation’s growing research culture.
“This cycle placed particular emphasis on alignment with the Qatar National Research Strategy and on local research collaboration, with bonus points awarded to proposals involving stakeholders from Qatar’s academic, government, non-profit and industrial sectors,” he explained.
Noor A al-Merekhi, programme manager, NPRP, said that as many as 710 proposals were submitted to the sixth cycle by 38 institutions. A total of 688 passed the screening and 658 (96%) were verified to be aligned with the Qatar National Research Strategy (QNRS) launched last year.
Each proposal was sent to five independent international peer reviewers, who shared their evaluation with QNRF for a final funding decision.
“With a 20% success rate, NPRP’s sixth cycle demonstrates the rising quality of research in Qatar. Grants were awarded based on QNRF’s strict criteria that take into account originality and quality of the research proposed, alignment with the QNRS, potential benefits to Qatar and the region, and collaboration with other institutions in Qatar, in addition to the peer reviewers’ recommendations,” al-Merekhi explained.
A total of 33 of the awarded proposals involve collaboration with local stakeholders, and 97% of them are directly aligned with the four pillars of the QNRS, namely: energy and environment; computer science and ICT; health; and social sciences, arts and humanities.
Each grant is worth between $120,000 and $1.05mn, with a requirement that at least 65% of the annual budget is expended inside Qatar and 50% of the total research efforts must be conducted in Qatar.
“The opportunities that NPRP provides to researchers outside of Qatar are unique, and have attracted attention from some of the world’s top scientific minds,” said Dr al-Taie, who noted that 147 international research institutions from 26 countries will be collaborating in projects awarded under the sixth cycle.
QNRF’s former senior employees, Dr Nabeel al-Salem and Fatema Sorore, were also honoured at the event.
Sources: Caye Global News, Gulf Times
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