Posted on January 17, 2018

Qatar Foundation Research and Development (QF R&D) and the Ministry of Development Planning and Statistics (MDPS) jointly organized a workshop on the findings of the Research & Development Survey of Qatar on January 16, at the Qatar National Convention Centre.

Representatives from entities and agencies involved in research and development, including the higher education, business, and government sectors, participated in the workshop, which outlined the data collated through the survey. The survey, which focused on research and development inputs in 2015, follows the first Research & Development Survey of Qatar in 2012, which provided information about Qatar’s R&D inputs. As the key advocate for research, development, and innovation in Qatar, and the focal point for consolidating R&D efforts across different sectors, QF R&D played a pivotal role in the success of the survey, with the number of participants increasing from the 2012 survey.

Key findings – outlined during a workshop for participants and stakeholders, organized by QF R&D and MDPS, at the Qatar National Convention Centre – included an increase in Gross Expenditure on Research and Development (GERD) as a proportion of Qatar’s overall GDP; applied research, concerning the practical application of science, accounting for 57 percent of total expenditure; more than two-thirds of GERD being directed to the higher education sector; and Engineering & Technology being the field to receive the most funding. The survey also revealed that Qataris hold almost 20 percent of research and development positions in Qatar, including 11 percent of researcher roles, among a total R&D workforce of 4,720.

“QF R&D is delighted to have partnered with the Ministry of Development Planning and Statistics on this survey, the findings of which are immensely valuable in assessing where Qatar’s research and development effort stands, and in defining its future strategy,” said Dr. Frans Van Den Boom, Executive Director, Policy, Planning, and Evaluation (PPE), QF R&D. “The second edition of this survey has been a truly collaborative effort, engaging R&D stakeholders across all sectors who have recognized the importance of such combined information, analysis, and insight, and whose support has been instrumental to the success of this exercise.”

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Nada Al-Olaqi, Business Planning and Performance Manager, PPE, said: “The comprehensive and wide-ranging nature of this survey, and the extent of participation across the nation’s research and development community, has made it the first true baseline analysis of Qatar’s R&D inputs – from investment levels to workforce numbers and demographics. “It enhances understanding, visibility, and our capacity to further develop a research and development ecosystem that generates impact for Qatar. The findings will be essential to assessing our nation’s R&D performance and supporting our leaders and policy-makers in identifying areas that require strategic focus and action, while also enabling Qatar’s R&D efforts to be benchmarked against those of other nations.”

The survey was conducted following a Memorandum of Understanding between MDPS and QF R&D in March 2016, designed to establish a statistical system for measuring R&D inputs in Qatar. Mohammed Al-Muhannadi, Director, Department of Population and Social Statistics, MDPS, said: “Research and development is fundamental to Qatar successfully transitioning to a sustainable, diversified economy, and this is reflected by the nation’s significant investment in this area. “With such investment comes the imperative to identify, analyze, and understand the extent and nature of Qatar’s R&D inputs, and we hope that the findings of this survey will provide valuable insight and bring great benefit to Qatar’s R&D community, stakeholders, and policy-makers. We extend our gratitude to all participants in this survey, whose diligence, engagement, and expertise has made the collation of such vital data possible.”

Future surveys are expected to have an expanded scope, also focusing on R&D outputs, outcomes, and impact, as well as innovation. The joint workshop also emphasized the importance of conducting an innovation survey in Qatar across all sectors. “Governments, policy-makers, and R&D stakeholders around the world have recognized the value of such surveys in developing their understanding of their research and development ecosystems, and Qatar’s commitment to research and innovation as a means of economic diversification makes this survey an essential tool for the nation,” said Professor Michael Kahn, of the Centre for Research on Evaluation, Science and Technology, Stellenbosch University, South Africa, and the survey advisor. “Research and development is intangible by nature, but this exercise has produced tangible findings that support decision-making while also enabling knowledge interchange between Qatar’s R&D stakeholders.”