Posted on February 07, 2019

Students from local universities participated in two information sessions held jointly by Qatar National Research Fund (QNRF) – a member of Qatar Foundation (QF) – and Qatar Shell to learn about funding opportunities and new initiatives designed to support the next generation of researchers and scientists.

The sessions outlined the aims of the recently-announced partnership between QF and Qatar Shell to co-fund the Undergraduate Research Experience Program (UREP), QNRF’s flagship program for developing research infrastructure in Qatar by establishing the basis of scientific research at undergraduate level. More than 3,700 undergraduate students have participated in the 23 cycles of UREP, with more than 1,000 projects being awarded funding.

Dr. Abdul Sattar Al-Taie, Executive Director of QNRF, remarked: “The main aim of UREP is to support the next generation of scientists, researchers, thinkers, and innovators to foster a thriving R&D ecosystem in our region, and contribute towards achieving the aims of Qatar National Vision 2030. “QNRF – alongside its partners and Qatar Foundation – believes that investing in our region’s talented and promising youth is the key to overcoming our challenges and achieving long-term economic sustainability and prosperity. Our students are our greatest and most valuable resource, and, through our programs, we are delivering unique opportunities and developing a holistic support network for them.”

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The collaboration will see Qatar Shell Research and Technology Centre (QSRTC) offer its dynamic world-class research and development expertise to the awarded projects. Participants in UREP will gain experience of team-based research collaboration with faculty, postdoctoral fellows, graduate students, and other undergraduates or research staff in Qatar. Hussain Al Hijji, Vice President, QSRTC, said: “UREP is a very impactful program that has been executed efficiently by QNRF for more than a decade. The students accepted for this program will benefit greatly from our technical expertise where applicable, and our state-of-the-art R&D facilities. At Qatar Shell, we champion open innovation and partnerships with locally-based research institutions and universities. It was great to see so many potential applicants, including students, interested in proposing their ideas.”

The two information sessions were held at Qatar University and Hamad Bin Khalifa University, a member of QF. QNRF representatives gave details about the grant’s application procedure and encouraged students to gain relevant research experience to build essential skills for their professional development. Besides UREP, participants also learned about other opportunities offered through QNRF’s capacity-building programs, including the Graduate Sponsorship Research Award (GSRA) and the Postdoctoral Research Award (PDRA).

GSRA and PDRA target outstanding graduate students and postdoctoral scholars to help develop their research-based studies that address specific research challenges relevant to Qatar. The awards aim to encourage talented, Qatar-based students to pursue careers in research, and provide them with high-quality training that fosters a research, development, and innovation ecosystem in Qatar. Commenting on the graduate programs, Dr. Aisha Al-Obaidly, Capacity Building Director at QNRF, said: “Our GSRA and PDRA programs aim to build human capital by supporting exceptional students to undertake graduate research-based studies that will help them pursue doctoral degrees at approved institutions inside or outside Qatar, and gain world-class research experience to polish their personal and professional skills.”