Posted on October 10, 2017

International research collaborations aimed at developing innovative solutions to Qatar’s cybersecurity challenges are to be formed through a joint funding call launched by Qatar National Research Fund (QNRF) and Turkey’s leading research agency.

The program – designed to foster public-private sector partnerships and maximize the impact of the research and innovation they produce – has been developed by QNRF, part of Qatar Foundation Research and Development (QF R&D), and the Scientific and Technological Research Council of Turkey (TÜBİTAK). It aims to pool knowledge, expertise, and resources in tackling both nations’ shared cyber-safety priorities. The joint funding call, ‘Academia-Industry Cooperation on Cybersecurity’, was launched at the Qatar National Convention Centre on October 9, where representatives from the Ministry of Interior and Ministry of Transport and Communications highlighted the strategic importance of cybersecurity, the need for wider awareness and state-of-the-art techniques to address the challenges it poses, and the role of research and innovation in safeguarding Qatar’s cyberspace and critical infrastructure.

Developed following a December 2015 bilateral agreement between QNRF and TÜBİTAK to collaborate on projects of mutual interest, the call will address three key cybersecurity themes: cloud and big data security, security systems in mobile devices and applications, and critical infrastructure security. All projects will involve collaboration between a research institute or university, and a commercial company or research end-user, from each country, with the aim of laying the foundations for enduring research and innovation ties between Qatar and Turkey.

“This bilateral cooperation between QNRF and TÜBİTAK will focus first on cybersecurity challenges that Qatar and Turkey share, but this is just the beginning,” said Dr. Hamad Al-Ibrahim, Executive Vice President, QF R&D. “It will ultimately extend into other areas of collaboration designed to address both nations’ strategic priorities. “It will demonstrate how cross-sectoral partnerships involving all research and development stakeholders can increase the impact and benefit of science and innovation. And, for both Qatar and Turkey, it will open up new avenues for research and innovation that brings value to our economies and tangible benefit to our societies.”

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Awarded projects under the ‘Academia-Industry Cooperation on Cybersecurity’ call will be announced in March 2018, with those comprising a software and hardware element being funded for three years, and software-only projects receiving funding for two years. “International and regional collaboration is important because the challenges that research and innovation seeks to address are global, requiring joint effort and the sharing of knowledge and expertise to generate holistic solutions, competitiveness, and impact,” said Dr. Abdul Sattar Al-Taie, Executive Director, QNRF. “QNRF’s bilateral collaboration with TÜBİTAK reflects the fact that, through establishing partnerships that bring together multiple sectors from different nations in order to achieve shared goals, research and innovation becomes more dynamic and impactful, and the development of mutually-beneficial outcomes is accelerated.”

Dr. Orkun Hasekioğlu, Vice President, TÜBİTAK, said: “In today’s world, focusing solely on academic or industrial collaborations is inadequate in coping with global challenges. Now is the time to foster collaborations involving academia, industry, and government at international level, in the awareness that today’s multi-dimensional problems require a multi-dimensional approach. “I expect this joint call between QNRF and TÜBİTAK on cybersecurity research will constitute the beginning of many other significant, high-impact partnerships in science and technology between Qatar and Turkey. In future calls, we are planning to expand the program, both in magnitude and scope.”

During the launch event, Dr. Munir Tag, Senior Program Manager for ICT, QNRF, explained that information and communications technology and the expansion of Qatar’s cyberspace is integral to the nation’s society, economy, government, and industry, providing “a platform for innovation and prosperity” that also requires enhanced cybersecurity measures. He said the QNRF-TÜBİTAK collaboration will make “a pivotal contribution” to strengthening Qatar’s cyber-resilience and its expertise in the field of cybersecurity.

Qatar-based lead investigators should submit proposals to QNRF at, with the deadline being January 8, 2018. More details are available under the ‘Thematic and Grand Challenges Research Program’ section at