Posted on March 20, 2019

Texas A&M University at Qatar and the Qatar Fertiliser Co. (QAFCO) co-hosted their annual daylong symposium featuring prominent chemists and chemical engineers who shared the latest advances in their fields.

The 2019 QAFCO – Texas A&M University at Qatar Conference was the 11th in the series and focused on functional materials. The conference highlighted the pressing need for government, industry and academia to work together to develop new knowledge and create scientific solutions that have direct impact on the world around us.

QAFCO CAO Dr. Hamed Al-Marwani said, “QAFCO has been proud to co-host the QAFCO-Texas A&M University at Qatar Conference for over a decade, a key platform in bringing together research, engineers, scientists and the business world. The conference consistently manages to highlight trending topics in the field of chemical engineering, which  opens a dialogue to  bridge the gap between industry and academia. The 2019 conference was extremely intriguing, and I hope that all attendees found the discussions inspiring.”

The 2019 conference focused on functional materials, which have certain desirable properties and functions of their own, such as ferroelectricity, piezoelectricity, magnetism or energy storage functions. These materials are of critical importance in energy applications and can help the State of Qatar as it addresses its research grand challenges.

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This year’s conference featured keynote speaker Krzysztof Matyjaszewski, the J.C. Warner University Professor of Natural Sciences and Carnegie Mellon University (USA). Matyjaszewski discovered a polymerization process that was commercialized in 2004 in the U.S., Japan and Europe. He has been co-author of more than 1,000 publications and holds 62 U.S. patents. He is a member of the U.S. National Academy of Engineering and the U.S. National Academy of Inventors. He has received several prestigious awards in chemistry and 11 honorary degrees. Other respected speakers came from Korea, Germany and the UK.

The event also provided a forum for the exchange of ideas and opportunities for future collaborations, said Dr. César Octavio Malavé, dean of Texas A&M at Qatar.

“Part of the mission of our branch campus is to be a valued and essential resource to the State of Qatar,” Malavé said. “We work to fulfill this mission in part by hosting conferences such as this one to encourage knowledge sharing and build bridges with other researchers and research institutions around the world through international collaborations. QAFCO has been a steadfast supporter of Texas A&M at Qatar, our students and our research, and we are honored to once again partner with QAFCO for this year’s event.”

The conference series was initiated by Dr. Hassan S. Bazzi, then-chair of the Science Program at Texas A&M at Qatar, who chaired and organized the pilot edition in 2007. Since then, the conference has grown to become a regional point of attraction for scientists and engineers. In 2014, conference organizers decided to widen the scope of the series to closely align the event with the needs of Qatar and its industrial sector according to Bazzi, who is currently associate dean for research at Texas A&M at Qatar.