Posted on June 03, 2012

Georgetown University School of Foreign Service in Qatar (SFS-Q) was awarded $2.21 million U.S. dollars by the Qatar National Research Fund (QNRF) in its fifth and most recent grant cycle for the National Priorities Research Program (NPRP).

Announced recently, three proposals by members of the SFS-Q academic community were successful – a high success rate which, at 50%, was twice that of the overall competition (25%) and the highest achieved by any university in Education City. At the same time, international recognition was further enhanced by a highly competitive research award worth $750,000 from the UK’s Economic & Social Research Council (ESRC) to SFS-Q’s Dean Gerd Nonneman, in partnership with Exeter University. All this followed prestigious Fellowships awarded recently to SFS-Q economist Dr. Alexis Antoniades at Princeton University, and Historian Dr. Edward Kolla at the University of Texas.

Georgetown University SFS-Q grant recipients (L-R) Dr. John Crist, Director of Research, Dr. Ayman Shabana, Research Associate, Dean Gerd Nonneman, Dr. Mehran Kamrava, Director of CIRS and Frieda Wiebe, Director of SFS-Q's Library were recently awarded over 2.21 million U.S. dollars by QNRF

Dr. Nonneman commented: “I am delighted with these results – especially our success in the NPRP. The recognition it brings, shows Georgetown SFS-Q is leading the way in state of the art social science and humanities research. This work is of the highest caliber and is relevant to Qatar, the region and the globe. I am really proud of my colleagues’ success in receiving this coveted honor.” 

One of the three SFS-Q projects that won QNRF funding, was submitted by Dr. John T. Crist, director of research at SFS-Q, and will examine “Science Productivity, Higher Education Development and the Knowledge Society.” The two-year project involves a comparative analysis of the influence of higher education university capacity on the development of the knowledge society through science productivity in the world’s key research and development sectors. Led by Dr. Crist and Professor David P. Baker at the Pennsylvania State University in the United States, the multi-national research team consists of educational sociologists at top institutions in Germany, Japan, Luxembourg and China.

The second SFS-Q-led project to successfully obtain funding was proposed by Dr. Ayman Shabana, research associate, project leader and an earlier NPRP grant about Islamic medical and scientific ethics. The new, three-year project, “Developing an Encyclopedia of Islamic Bioethics,” aims to identify, acquire, catalogue and index Islamic bioethics resources and also to utilize available resources for the development of the world’s first encyclopedia of Islamic bioethics.

The proposed encyclopedia will fill a conspicuous vacuum in bioethical research and is poised to benefit research in Islamic and comparative ethical, legal, social and cultural studies. In addition to its academic and scholarly significance, the proposed encyclopedia will also be useful for professionals in many fields such as media, legal practice and health care sectors, as well as for the public at large.

The third SFS-Q project to receive funding from QNRF will examine “The Domestic Effects of International Human Rights Treaty Ratification in the Member States of the Co-operation Council for the Arab States of the Gulf (GCC).” Spearheaded by Dr. Mehran Kamrava, director of Georgetown University SFS-Q’s Center for International and Regional Studies (CIRS) and a past recipient of an NPRP award, and Dr. Basak Cali at University College London, the project team also consists of researchers from Qatar University and Oxford University. The aim of this two-year, multi-disciplinary project is to study the political and social consequences of international human rights treaties ratification for regimes in the GCC states.

Dr. Nonneman, for his part, will be co-investigator with Dr. Marc Valeri of Exeter University’s Center for Gulf Studies, in a three-year ESRC-funded project that will comparatively research the evolution of State-Business relations in the six GCC states, with particular reference to economic reform policies.

Finally, Georgetown SFS-Q will also be hosting the first-of-its-kind conference on Islamic Bioethics, thanks to a QNRF grant received by director of the library, Frieda Wiebe. Building on work under an earlier NPRP project, the conference is scheduled for June 24-25, and will gather scholars and researchers at the forefront of knowledge in the field.

Dr. Crist, director of research, noted, “The multi-national nature of each of the winning projects is especially gratifying. QNRF and Georgetown University SFS-Qatar share a fundamental vision of research as a global enterprise. We are especially grateful for QNRF’s acknowledgment that rigorous research in the social sciences and humanities makes innovative intellectual contributions that are significantly helpful to Qatar but that also have no national boundaries.” 

In addition to the projects submitted by SFS-Qatar, the School of Foreign Service at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., also received an NPRP award in the current cycle. The team leaders of the project are Professor Raj Desai, associate professor of international development with the Department of Government on main campus, and Dr. Tarik Yousef, the CEO of Silatech in Qatar, a nongovernmental organization that helps young people learn skills and connect to job opportunities.

Dr. Yousef was formerly associate professor of economics in the Georgetown University School of Foreign Service and Sheikh Sabah Al-Salem Al-Sabah Professor of Arab Studies at Georgetown’s Center for Contemporary Arab Studies (CCAS).  Their collaborative, multi-year project will examine Qatar’s role as an emerging global player on the foreign aid landscape and analyze the effectiveness of international development assistance based in Qatar.