Posted on June 15, 2013

Qatar University announced its research agenda for the next five years, which will see interdisciplinary research projects centered on four areas of excellence: Energy, Environment & Resource Sustainability; Social Change and Identity; Population, Health and Wellness; and Information, Communication and Technologies (ICT).

Dr. Hanan Abdul-Rahim

The new focus for the university was announced in a presentation by Vice-President of Research Dr Hassan Al-Derham to staff and faculty members on Thursday (13th June). It is the culmination of nearly two years of detailed work by a cross-college committee of 11senior faculty members chaired by Prof Ali M. Ali – the Qatar University Research Priorities Committee (QURPC). The agenda is aligned with Qatar National Vision 2030, the Qatar National Development Strategy 2011-16 and the Qatar National Research Strategy.

It comes as the university revealed a growth in the quality and quantity of research in recent years, including a rise in the number of academic publications from 104 publications in 2007 to 285 in 2011and a citation index of 1.05 – well above the world average of 1.00 and the Middle East average of 0.83.

Dr Al-Derham said: “This new agenda will play a crucial role in the development of the university’s research focus in the coming five years. It clearly sets out what will be the strategic areas of excellence at the university and enables faculty members, students and partner organizations to focus their efforts along these priorities. We are grateful to the members of the committee for their outstanding work inthis important field which will have significant benefits to Qatar and beyond.”

Dr. Hassan Al-Derham

The priorities outlined in the report reflect the responsibility and commitment of the university to support research that is responsive to the national needs and major challenges facing the state of Qatar. The new research agenda will be a “roadmap” which will play an integral role in the university’s second Strategic Plan (2013-16) and will be an institutional guide for a broad range of QU-driven research activities related to funded research, graduate student research, scholarships and fellowships. Additionally, it will help strengthen the many partnerships between QU and external organizations.

Associate Director of the Social and Economic Survey Research Institute (SESRI) Associate Prof Hanan Abdul-Rahimoutlined the details of the new agenda. Under the four main headlines, the priorities are further listed. The field of Energy, Environment and Resource Sustainability covers sub-themes including Liquified Natural Gas (LNG) and Alternative Energy; Materials and Nanotechnology; Marine Resources; and Water, Air and Food Security. This will encompass university-wide and external collaborative research in energy resource diversification, energy efficiency and enabling material technology. The research focus will also be on new technologies to produce more food using fewer resources that will re-shape the agricultural activity in Qatar. Additionally, this research theme will address the development of advanced materials and nanotechnology that may lead to innovative applications and improvements to quality of life.

Social Change and Identity will be an interdisciplinary research theme that tracks and analyses in-depth the effects of social and economic transformation on identity, family dynamics, and societal institutions for  the preparation of future generations and the development of national capacity  within the context of history, core values, and globalization. It covers sub-themes of Modernization, National Identity and Society; Islam and Contemporary Issues; and Education and Capacity Building.

The field of Population, Health and Wellness is a broad and inter-disciplinary program of research into the factors that affect population health and wellbeing by addressing the most important causes of morbidity, disability and mortality and introducing ways to prevent or cure related health conditions, including relevant public policies and health services. It includes Prevention and Treatment of Chronic Non-Communicable Diseases and Traffic Safety. 

Prof Sheikha Al-Misnad and senior QU faculty

The final theme of ICT encompasses Intelligent and Secure Information Processing; Distributed Systems and E-services; and Enabling Technologies. Collaborative research in these areas will explore techniques for intelligent information gathering, storage, processing and analysis to convert data into knowledge and to create solutions for applications in a variety of areas including engineering and science.

The sub-themes outlined in the agenda will be annually reviewed to reflect feasibility and national priorities. Implementation of the plan will begin in the new academic year.

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