Posted on February 06, 2016

Qatar University (QU) participated in the 2nd Times Higher Education (THE) MENA Universities Summit held on February 2-4 at UAE University (UAEU) in Al Ain.

The organization presented an information booth at the event which brought together university leaders from around the region.  Notably, QU hosted the conference last year  -- the first such in the Gulf and MENA region. QU president Dr Hassan Rashid Al Derham joined THE World University Rankings editor Phil Baty, Gulf and Middle East educators, academicians, and education policy and governance experts to exchange information, experiences and ideas under the theme ‘World class higher education as a driver  of sustainable national  development’.

Dr Al-Derham participated in the panel debate on ‘Engaging stakeholders for improved performance’ where he gave a brief insight into QU’s status as the country’s first national university, its student population, colleges and programs. Bearing on the panel topic, Dr Al Derham detailed ways in which Qatar University engages stakeholders such as students, partners, funding sources and other academic institutions in its university’s plans and goals with the aim to respond collaboratively to the country’s transition to a knowledge-based economy.  

He pointed to QU building a relationship of trust and cooperation with employers and the energy sector at different levels that have led to significant areas of support such as professorial chairs, advisories on market needs,  summer internships, and high school STEM outreach initiatives, to name a few.  “QU sets the criteria for these partnerships in how best they can support our objectives and mission from the perspective of the intake of QU graduates into the labor market.”, he said

He went on to discuss how QU has also developed an ongoing relationship with stakeholders within a wider perspective -- Qatar Foundation (QF), Qatar National Research Fund (QNRF), Qatar Science and Technology Park (QSTP) and the international branch campuses at Education City such as Texas A&M Qatar and Weill Cornell Medicine Qatar – on existing and emerging national priorities. Dr Al Derham also noted that QU continues to reach out to students through a number of forums whereby more close communication could be established and maintained.  He pointed to his Twitter account which he said served to open a dialogue with the students to address their concerns and needs. 

Discussing how research findings are utilized productively and applied within the national environment, Dr Al Derham gave an example of the university’s Qatar Mobility Innovations Center (QMIC) which developed smart transport products to mitigate traffic challenges emerging from the construction of the national rail system. In an earlier session ‘THE MENA Rankings Masterclass’, Elsevier director of content and Analytics Mohammed El Aisati commended QU’s initiative to incorporate researcher mobility among the performance indicators for universities, and demonstrated its impact using QU data.

The QU booth drew over 100 visitors including UAEU students and faculty, participating delegates and several others interested in knowing more about QU and its recent top ranking in international collaboration.