Posted on February 25, 2020

Qatar Environment and Energy Research Institute (QEERI), part of Hamad Bin Khalifa University (HBKU), and the Ministry of Public Health (MoPH) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU). The agreement will enable QEERI to conduct bio-aerosol exposure studies in public areas as part of the ministry's efforts to develop indoor air quality guidelines for Qatar, in line with the Qatar National Vision 2030.

The MoU was signed by Dr. Salih Ali Al Marri, MoPH Assistant Minister for Health Affairs, and Dr. Marc Vermeersch, executive director of QEERI, at a ceremony held at the HBKU Research Complex. The signing ceremony was also attended by Dr. Mohammed Al Thani, Director of Public Health at MoPH, Dr. Richard O’Kennedy, Vice Present of Research, Development & Innovation at Qatar Foundation, and Vice President for Research at HBKU, and researchers and other representatives from both organizations.

The MoU also facilitates the exchange of information, knowledge and expertise among the scientists, researchers and engineers at QEERI and MoPH, training and capacity building, and the use of laboratory services, building a platform for future joint research projects. The first project under the MoU will primarily focus on analysis of airborne bacteria and fungi populations present in samples collected by MoPH from schools and healthcare facilities across the country. Scientists at QEERI’s Environment and Sustainability Center will then use various quantification and identification procedures to analyze the samples.

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Speaking on the occasion, Dr.Al Marri said: “This MoU with QEERI is part of our efforts to collaborate with key partners within the country to promote the health and well-being of our residents. The need of the hour is for us – national organizations including ministries, government bodies, research institutes and private sector – to combine our efforts and work together towards a common goal. The results that we will achieve together with QEERI will not only be beneficial to Qatar, but also to the region, and the world. We look forward to work closely with QEERI to achieve the goals set forth by the Qatar National Vision 2030.”

Dr. Vermeersch added: “At QEERi, we aim to transform innovative scientific initiatives into technology solutions to meet Qatar’s needs, and this MoU with the MoPH is a key milestone in our journey. We are happy to provide our analytical capabilities and expertise to support government authorities with this comprehensive investigation associated with bio-aerosol exposure in the indoor environments. This collaboration is the first of many to come, and we hope that our combined work can contribute towards tackling key health challenges related to energy, environment and water.”

QEERI is committed to conducting market and technology driven research, development and innovation through its seven core departments including the Energy Center, Water Center, Environment and Sustainability Center, Computational Materials and Processes Center, Corrosion Center, Natural and Environmental Hazards Observatory and the Earth Sciences Program.