Posted on January 24, 2020

Qatar University (QU), through its Empower Generations Consortium, a project that directs secondary student interest towards careers in life & biomedical sciences, signs a number of MoU’s with its partners in health care and education sectors. The MoU’s aim to build national capacities in life sciences and health care through collaborative initiatives.

Qatar University President Dr. Hassan Al Derham signed three individual memorandums with project partner Al-Gannas Qatari Society, represented by its President Mr. Ali Khatem Al Mehshadi.

QU’s Vice President for Medical and Health Sciences and Dean of the College of Medicine Dr. Egon Toft, signed MoU’s with seven additional partners. These partners include two international institutes: FractalUp for Artificial Intelligence (AI) and the Core Africa project for research excellence. Local institutes include Sidra Medicine, represented by Chair of the Transition Committee and Board Member Mr. Mohammed Al Mana; Equine Veterinary Medical Center, represented by Executive Director of Strategy, Administration and Projects Mr. Hisham E. Nourin; Qatar Biobank, represented by its Director Dr. Nahla Afifi; and Qatar Genome, represented by Director of the Qatar Genome Project Dr. Said Ismail.

Qatar University President Dr. Hassan Al Derham commented saying, “This collaborative initiative is coherent to the institutional strategies, the sustainable development agenda and Qatar National Vision 2030. We aim to invest in the new generation and build stronger societies through international and national collaborations in the field of applied science and education. This consortium is the first of its kind in the Middle East in terms of content and operating mechanism, and among the rare projects that aspire for sustainable outcomes by employing statistical means to reflect its value and effectiveness.”

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Prof. Asmaa Althani, the Founder of the Empower Generations Consortium, the Former and Founding Dean of the College of Health Sciences, Director of Biomedical Research Center, Chair of Qatar Genome Program Committee and Board Vice Chairperson of Qatar Biobank shed light on the history of the consortium and its positive impact on Qatar’s national capacities. She said, “The consortium so far enrolled 646 Qatari students from 2013 to 2018, and more than 3500 students were impacted.  The project has reached 100% of the schools in Qatar and achieved 96% participation.”

The project also documented a 10% annual increase in science major enrollments at Qatar University (9% in 2013, 19.6% in 2014, 21% in 2015, 37% in 2016, 46% in 2017 and 49% in 2018). This reflects 6.5-8% increase in the entry level to the science and health care sector in 2022.

Dean of QU’s College of Health Sciences Dr. Hanan Abdul Rahim, reiterated the college’s commitment to building national capacities in the careers of life sciences and health care, saying, “The College of Health Sciences has a long tradition of serving the health sector in Qatar through high quality academic programs. With the consortium and this wide array of national and international collaborations, the college is working to show young men and women the exciting opportunities they can find in health care and in health research.”

Chair of the Transition Committee and Board Member at Sidra Medicine Mr. Mohammed Al Mana said, “As an academic health care organization, Sidra Medicine takes an active role in preparing today’s students to become tomorrow’s health care professionals and researchers. Through our joint collaboration with Qatar University, we hope to further build national capacity, in line with Qatar National Vision 2030, so that more of our youth will consider careers in the field of health care, biomedical and life sciences. The partnership with Qatar University is a major step in strengthening the foundation of health care in Qatar for professionals and patients alike.”

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President of Al-Gannas Qatari Society Mr. Ali Khatem Al Mehshadi said, “The Empower Generation Consortium at QU is a pioneering initiative that aims to attract Qatar’s younger generation to move towards scientific disciplines, which have the power to protect the country’s environment and heritage.” Executive Director of Strategy, Administration and Projects at Qatar Foundation (Equine Veterinary Medical Center) Mr. Hisham E. Nourin said, “The Equine Veterinary Medical center, an entity of Qatar Foundation, is very proud to be part of this initiative. Creating awareness among the young Qatari population of the advances that have been made in equine veterinary medicine is crucial for both the development of animal health and the advancement of research in Qatar and the region.”

Director of Qatar Biobank Dr. Nahla Afifi said, “Qatar Biobank works to create a healthier local population as envisioned in the country’s national health strategy in line with Qatar National Vision 2030. It is therefore critical that the nation’s youth undertake and understand biobanking and the relevant fields, so the next generation of health care providers and practitioners can build on the excellent work we have already done.” Director of Qatar Genome Program Dr. Said Ismail said, “One of our main pillars is building human capacity, and we shoulder the responsibility of not only inspiring, but also supporting the young generation in choosing a career in precision medicine. There is a growing need both locally and internationally for human talent in this field and all its related specialties.”