Posted on June 05, 2018

A high-ranking French delegation of six Universities -- E.coli des Mines Paris, Université Bretagne Sud (UBS), Paris EST, Paris1-Sorbonne University, Artois University and  Unversity of Bordeaux -- led by Mr. Nasser Alhenzab, Legal Counsel Responsible of the University Cooperation, UNESCO, was invited to Qatar University (QU) to participate at the QU Annual Research Forum and Exhibition (QURF18) on May 1-2.

The visit aimed to enhance collaboration in the field of research and graduate studies between Qatar and France and to build a research network with the French universities and initiate joint research projects. French universities have an experience in international collaboration and research students exchange through the European Erasmus+, as well as a strong partnership with various industries. QU works to strengthen its collaboration with the French universities, based on the International Research Collaboration Co-Fund Program (IRCC) Call for Projects, and to explore other partnership opportunities.

1st May, 2018

The visit started with a tour of the QU campus, during which the delegation met Dr. Hassan Al Derham, President of Qatar University, and visited the Arabic Language Program for Non-Arabic Speakers and the French Minor program. The tour ended at QU’s research centers where the delegation members have been introduced to the Social and Economic Survey Research Institute (SESRI). The tour provided the French delegation with the opportunity to be familiar with QU, its various programs and what it could offer in terms of research capabilities.

2nd May, 2018

The delegation participated in the QURF18 program, which included three sessions, a poster gallery exhibition and a poster awards ceremony. Following the QURF18 program, a meeting was conducted by Prof. Mariam Al-Maadeed, Vice President for Research and Graduate Studies, QU Research & Graduate Studies Office, to discuss collaboration opportunities and exchange information between QU and the representatives from the French universities participating in the delegation.

QURF18 Participation (May 2, 2018)

The first session of the program included a panel discussion on “International Collaborations and Research Strategies”. The session was moderated by Dr. Majed  Al-Ansari, SESRI Manager of Policy Department. The panelists included Dr. Remus Pricopie, Rector of the National University of Political Studies and Public Administration (SNSPA), Dr. Al-Hareth Al-Khater, Senior Consultant Medical Oncologist and Assistant Chairman at the Department of Hematology/Oncology at the National Center for Cancer Care and Research, Hamad Medical Corporation, Dr. Jean Christophe Saint-Pau, Dean of the University of Bordeaux and Director of the Institute of Criminal Justice and Justice, Dr. Mashael Al Shafai, Assistant Professor of Biomedical Sciences at QU College of Health Sciences, and Ms. Noora Al-Romaihi, student from QU College of Law.

The session resulted in the agreement that international collaborations have many advantages such as increasing the number of case studies with better verities, increasing the databases, exchanging experiences and reducing the cost of the scientific research, which leads to better research results.       

The second session was about “International Experience in Research and Graduate Studies: The French Experience as a Model”.  Dr. Yassin Elshazly, Assistant Professor of Private Law at QU College of Law, moderated the session. The  panel discussion members were Mr. Nasser Hamad Al-Hinzab, Legal Counsel Responsible of the University Cooperation, UNESCO, Dr. Pasquale Mammone, President of Université d’Artois, Dr. Yannick Vimont, Assistant Director in charge of  Research MINES ParisTech Research University, Dr. Maria Gravari Barbas, Vice Provost For International Affairs, Paris 1 Pantheon-Sorbonne University, and Dr. Cecile Delome, Vice Chair of Research, Paris EST and Vice President in charge of the I-SITE FUTURE project.

The members discussed the possible collaboration channels between French universities and QU, such as the main reason that makes France a preferable venue for Qatari researchers, the main challenges for conducting research in France by sharing successful stories for Qatari students conducting research in France and vice versa, and the vital role of the Qatari delegation at UNESCO in strengthening the scientific collaboration between Qatar and France.

The last panel discussion in the program was about “Research Towards Innovation, Intellectual Property and Commercialization”. It was moderated by Dr. Aiman Erbad, QU Director of Research Planning and Development. The panel members were Dr. Ebrahim Al Romaihi, Head of Copy Rights and Related Rights Office at the Ministry of Economy and Commerce, Dr. Jean Peeters, President of Université Bretagne Sud, CPU at France, Dr. Eyad Mosaad, Texas A&M Qatar,  Mr. Hareb Al Jabri, QU College of Arts and Sciences, Ms. Aysha Al Romaihi, Business Development Manager at Qatar Business Incubation Center (QBIC), and Mr. Abdullah Alsalemi, QU College of Engineering. Dr. Jean Peeters presented a brief about Université Bretagne Sud and overall achievements and collaborative projects.

The discussion focused on the long relationship between QU and French universities. Each university representative shared information about the graduate and undergraduate programs offered by their organization, as well as the different research areas. Dr. Faouzi Belknani from QU College of Law mentioned how the college had established an agreement to help law students get an equivalency for their courses in France so they can continue their education. Mr. Nasser Al-Hinzab discussed the importance of the collaboration in research and higher education to Qatar and France highlighting the recent visit of the French President to Qatar.

International experience in research 2 [].jpgMeeting Summary

Prof. Mariam Al-Maadeed introduced the International Research Collaboration Co-Fund Program (IRCC). The attendees expressed a great interest in this new collaboration initiative. Prof. Al-Maadeed also highlighted the importance of such cooperation with the European institutions, notably France, and expressed her wishes for QU students, faculty, and staff, to build a sustainable collaboration with these institutions.

The main objective of the meeting was to explore possibilities of joint IRCC proposals between QU researchers and French universities. During the meeting, QU researchers and the French delegation members explained their research topics and highlighted common fields of interest. Several researchers confirmed their intention to build a joint IRCC project. Prof. Al-Maadeed provided the IRCC Focal Contact Points to the French delegation for further projects exploration.

Finally, an awareness session was conducted later that afternoon by the Pre-Award Department, focusing on the collaboration mechanisms and the proposed research areas. Several areas of mutual interest have been identified as a first base for setting a platform for a future research collaboration between both countries, such as Law studies (Bordeaux), Tourism/Cultural Heritage (Pantheon-Sorbonne), Linguistics Arabic for non-Arabic speakers and sport management (Artois), Cybersecurity (Bretagne Sud), Smart Cities (Paris Est), Science & Engineering (Mines ParisTech).


Dr. Jean Christophe Saint-Pau, Dean of the University of Bordeaux and Director of the Institute of Criminal Justice and Justice, said: “Qatar University’s forum is an exciting initiative because it brought together specialists from various fields. The discussions were interesting because the view that we have about Qatar from France is very different. We see Qatar as a rich country with a lot of oil and sand, but the research problems highlighted by the VP of Research and Graduate Studies at Qatar University are similar to the ones we have. Focusing on how we go from using research to monetizing marketing product, we have the same problems, but we have different experiences.”

Mr. Nasser Al-Hinzab, Legal Counsel Responsible of the University Cooperation, UNESCO, said: “Qatar University’s Annual Research Forum and the participation of this large delegation from the most prestigious French governmental universities, shall be the first step in creating a strategic cooperation between French universities and Qatar University and between both countries in general in the field of scientific research and higher education. We were happy to see prestigious universities from different disciplines participating in the QURF18 at Qatar University.”

He added: “We have exchanged our point of views, experiences, and shared knowledge in different systems of higher education. French universities worked six months ago in dialogue with various French universities in France before coming to Doha and participating in the forum to create a clear vision and ready projects. Each university came to Qatar University with a research project proposal and entered into negotiations to produce these projects, for the benefit of the countries and the private sector in France as well as the private sector in Qatar. Knowing the nature of French universities and the academic and research dimension is a significant point, which is the acquaintance between educational systems of Qatar and the French Republic.”

Dr. Annie Soriot, Director of International Relations Paris 1 Pantheon-Sorbonne University, said: “The student posters are very interesting. They show the diversity of topics researched at Qatar University. The annual research forum allowed us to discover new universities and new research teams. We are focusing more on humanities, economics and law, so we aim to interact with research teams in science, medical and other fields.” She added: “I think that we have different opportunities to start collaborating with Qatar University researchers and teachers. We could create an exchange of students or admins programs between both universities, which would be a great interaction to discover more about Qatar and vice versa.”