Posted on December 14, 2017

Projects enabled by Qatar National Research Fund (QNRF) that aim to support Qatar in building a sustainable food supply chain, and their potential impact, have been showcased to dignitaries, government officials, and the nation’s research community.

The latest edition of QNRF’s Research Outcome Seminar (ROS) series –  attended by His Excellency Mr. Mohammed Bin Abdullah Bin Metab Al-Rumaihi, Minister of Municipality and Environment – focused on food security, one of Qatar’s most pressing challenges, and how QNRF-funded research is producing outcomes that the government and industry can harness to make Qatar self-sufficient in food provision.

Through oral and poster presentations, 11 food security projects – tackling topics including the economics of food security, food waste reduction, date palm research, hydroponic farming, plant production, and food safety – supported by QNRF’s National Priorities Research Program and Undergraduate Research Experience Program, were outlined to, and discussed by, an audience including Dr. Hamad Al-Ibrahim, Executive Vice President, Qatar Foundation Research and Development (QF R&D). The event also included a roundtable discussion between key stakeholders on the nation’s food security challenges, and how science and research can identify solutions to them.

QNRF, which is part of QF R&D, enables original, mission-driven research projects that address Qatar’s national priorities and have the potential to generate tangible economic and social benefit, with food security being among the research areas that its funding supports.  “Both the Qatar National Research Strategy and the Qatar Food Security Strategy emphasize the importance of developing a safe and sustainable food supply chain, enhancing Qatar’s resilience while reducing its reliance on food imports, and ensuring that its population has access to food that meets their dietary needs and underpins active, healthy lifestyles,” said Dr. Abdul Sattar Al-Taie, Executive Director, QNRF.

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“Through QNRF funding, original, high-quality and impactful research projects have sought, and continue to seek, solutions to Qatar’s food security challenges. ROS has provided a platform for the outcomes of some of our foremost projects in the field of food security to be disseminated to a wider audience, and for relevant stakeholders within Qatar’s research and innovation ecosystem to identify how this new knowledge can advance their efforts to ensure the nation can hold the future of its food supply in its own hands.”

The food security challenges that Qatar faces have gained visibility and relevance during the ongoing economic blockade of the nation, providing added incentive for it to become self-sufficient in terms of its food supply and to discover innovative solutions in this area through research and development. “Current geopolitical events may have shone a brighter spotlight on the importance of food security, but Qatar has long been aware that self-production of the food the nation needs is one of the key elements of a truly sustainable society, and is committed to supporting research that enables us to achieve this,” said Dr. Abdel Samie Felfel, Senior Program Manager, Social Sciences, Arts, and Humanities, QNRF.

“QNRF’s continuing support for food security-focused research recognizes that this topic must be approached in a comprehensive, multi-faceted manner that addresses issues ranging from production, processing, safety, and nutrition, to the reduction of waste, the strengthening of supply chains, policy interventions and consumer behavior studies. In its current mission-driven phase, QNRF is also placing an emphasis on funding projects that address food security in new ways that not only make Qatar a healthier, stronger, and more secure and sustainable country, but which have the capacity for adoption and impact elsewhere.”

For more information on the outcomes of QNRF-funded research, and its portfolio of funding programs, please visit www.qnrf.org.

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