Posted on March 18, 2018

International speakers from the fields of research, innovation, government, and industry will share their perspectives on how to ensure a research and development ecosystem can generate impact, strengthen economies and societies, and improve lives, at the Qatar Foundation Annual Research Conference 2018 (ARC’18), which begins on Monday.

The seventh edition of the conference, organized by Qatar Foundation Research and Development (QF R&D), will take place at Qatar National Convention Centre from March 19-20 under the theme ‘R&D: Focusing On Priorities, Delivering Impact’, with a local and international audience coming together to support Qatar in developing world-class research and innovation that addresses national priorities and entering the global marketplace.

ARC’18 sessions will reflect the four thematic pillars defined in the Qatar National Research Strategy (QNRS) - Energy and Environment; Computing and Information Technology; Health and Biomedical; and Social Sciences, Arts, and Humanities – with the conference being built around three tracks that will each focus on key topics for Qatar’s R&D ecosystem: the Researchers Track, the Innovation Track, and the Research Strategy Track. On day one of ARC’18, Vivek Kundra, former Chief Information Officer of the United States, will deliver the keynote address, ‘Leading Change and the Challenges of Transformation’, at the opening plenary session of the conference, before participating in a multinational panel discussion focusing on how R&D can address national needs while creating impact and supporting economic diversification through the commercialization of solutions.

Panelists will also include His Excellency Dr. Mohammed Bin Saleh Al-Sada, Minister of Energy and Industry; Professor Hasan Mandal, President, Scientific and Technological Research Council of Turkey (TÜBITAK); David Roberts, Distinguished Faculty, Singularity University; and Dr. Hamad Al-Ibrahim (pictured), Executive Vice President, QF R&D. Their discussion will be moderated by Deborah Wince-Smith, President and CEO, Council on Competitiveness (CoC), a US-based non-profit organization that brings together business, industry, academic, and research leaders to shape economic policy.

“The true value of conferences such as ARC’18 lies in the intersection of multiple disciplines, and the bringing together of engines of innovation which can enable game-changing breakthroughs that drive a research and development agenda,” said Kundra. “I’m looking forward to sharing how the building-blocks of innovation around technology can lead to national-scale changes, and also to learning from top minds on the topic of driving impact in sectors such as technology, energy, and healthcare.” 

Wince-Smith, who is also Co-Founder and President of the Global Federation of Competitiveness Councils (GFCC), said: “I am looking forward to engaging with the world’s best and brightest science, technology, and research leaders to understand how, together, we can address and solve some of the greatest challenges facing humanity.

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“In a world of globally-scaled, emerging, and converging technological revolutions, spurring innovations across disciplines and boundaries, multidisciplinary approaches to research, conferences, studies, and investments are the only path forward. ARC’18’s recognition of the need for multi-disciplinarity distinguishes the conference, and provides a strong basis on which to support Qatar’s expanding R&D ecosystem. “For the CoC and GFCC, the conference will connect our members with world-class researchers, innovators, and funders of innovation, exposing them to new opportunities for partnership. It also provides a platform for us to share with an even broader audience some of our own thinking and research, expanding our reach and the chances for our own success in the global marketplace of ideas.”

The opening day of ARC’18 will also see five experts from three different nations focus on the role that research and innovation plays in building a strong and sustainable economy for Qatar. The session, titled ‘Research and Innovation for Qatar’s Competitiveness’, will include insights from Charles Evans, Executive Vice President, Council on Competitiveness; Professor Low Teck Seng, CEO, National Research Foundation, Singapore; Saud Abdullah Al-Attiyah, Director, Economic Policies and Research Department, Ministry of Economy and Commerce, Qatar; Dr. Dimitris Lagoudas, Associate Vice Chancellor, Engineering Research, Texas A&M Engineering Experiment Station, US; and Dr. Alexis Antoniades, Associate Professor and Director of International Economics, Georgetown University in Qatar, a Qatar Foundation partner university.

As ARC’18 moves into its second day, Professor Low will be among the speakers in a plenary session on the topic of ‘Delivering Impactful Science, Technology, and Innovation Strategy’, moderated by Dr. Al-Ibrahim. He will be joined by Professor Mariam Al-Maadeed, Vice President for Research & Graduate Studies, Qatar University; Dr. Orkun Hasekioğlu, TÜBİTAK; and Datuk Dr. Mohd Yusoff Sulaiman, President and CEO, Malaysian Industry-Government Group for High Technology. “We are delighted to welcome experts and thought-leaders of the highest caliber to ARC’18, bringing international eyes, insights, experiences, and ideas to the issue of building a truly collaborative, agile, and impactful R&D ecosystem, and approaching this topic from a diverse range of standpoints,” said Dr. Al-Ibrahim.

“The international essence of ARC’18 – in terms of both our speakers and the many delegates who will join us from overseas – reflects QF R&D’s focus on working with the global R&D community to advance Qatar’s development, sustainability, and economic diversification. We hope that our international guests, and our local R&D community, will both learn and gain from each other through their discussions and interactions at the conference, and that ARC’18 will prove to be the platform for new international collaborations and networks that support Qatar’s R&D objectives.”

To register to attend ARC’18, and for more information and the full conference program, please visit: