Posted on April 05, 2020

Qatar’s unique research ecosystem has produced an environment in which undergraduate research programs and business partnerships are able to thrive together. 

Qatar National Research Fund’s Undergraduate Research Experience Program (UREP) is one such initiative. Backed by an agreement signed by Qatar Shell, UREP allows research students to benefit from the learning opportunities and expertise at the Qatar Shell Research and Technology Centre.

“At Qatar Shell we are committed to fueling innovation into the nation’s energy ecosystem, and advancing research, development, and deploying innovative solutions that have a sustainable and lasting impact towards achieving the country’s key priorities,” Mr. Hussain Al-Hijji, Vice President of the Qatar Shell Research and Technology Centre, said as Qatar Shell and Qatar National Research Fund (QNRF) commit to extend their partnership to co-fund the undergraduate program for another year. When QNRF was estalished by Qatar Foundation 13 years ago, the Undergraduate Research Experience Program (UREP) was one of the first programs it offered to build and nurture a research ecosystem in Qatar.

Over the years, students from universities within the country have received the UREP to conduct research across a wide array of topics. Many of these research projects go on to be featured on international platforms and get published in leading scientific journals. One such research project was conducted by undergraduate students from Qatar University titled Production of sensitive gas sensors using CuO/SnO2 nanoparticles, which was published in the Applied Physics A, a scientific journal focusing on experimental and theoretical investigations in applied physics and materials science.

Similarly, another interdisciplinary research project by the students of Qatar University successfully developed a low-cost simulator for Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation (ECMO), a lifesaving procedure developed for the care of patients with short-term respiratory and/or circulatory issues. This simulator, built in partnership with Hamad Medical Corporation, integrates engineering with medicine to build a high-fidelity and cost-effective simulation device to ensure increased deployment and subsequently, training of more medical practitioners in the specialized procedure.

Medical corporations and hospitals from around the world have expressed strong interest to purchase this technology. The project won local and international awards including the best oral and poster presentation award at the 4th Annual Conference of the South and West Asia Chapter of Extracorporeal Life Support Organization.

Dr. Abdul Sattar Al-Taie, Executive Director, QNRF, said, “The recognition received by the impressive outcomes of our UREP researchers reflects the quality of the local research being produced and gives us confidence to say that future of the academic and research landscape in Qatar is in safe and capable hands.” He added, “Special recognition and acknowledgement must be given to their mentors for providing step-by-step guidance to train the students in best research practice and ensure that the results are at par with competitive international standards.”