Posted on March 26, 2016

Texas A&M University at Qatar’s outstanding research program received multiple accolades during Qatar Foundation’s Annual Research Conference 2016 (ARC16) 22-23 March at the Qatar National Convention Center.

Dr. Shehab Ahmed, an associate professor in the Electrical and Computer Engineering Program at Texas A&M at Qatar, received the Best Research Project of the Year Award for his project, “HVDC Architectures for Offshore Grid Connected Wind Energy Systems,” in which he and his team of researchers developed a suite of novel power conversion technologies that aid in integrating renewables into the power grid. The developed technologies spanned power generation as well as transmission enhancements that aim to decrease system cost, improve system efficiency and defer system upgrades by making better use of available infrastructure.

This is the second year in a row that a Texas A&M at Qatar faculty member has received this award. Ahmed succeeds Dr. Tingwen Huang, a math professor in the Science Program who received the award in 2015. Another repeat winner from last year was the branch campus’ research office, which was named Best Research Office of the Year for a second year in a row — and the fourth time in the past five years.

Aya Safan, a master’s student in the Chemical Engineering Program advised by Dr. Ahmed Abdel-Wahab, won the second-place Best Poster Award in the Energy and Environment Pillar. Receiving the first-place UREP (Undergraduate Research Experience Program) Oral Presentation Award was the team of Abdulla Al-Sowaidi, Bilal Al Assadi, Jawad Yamine, advised by Dr. Othmane Bouhali and co-mentored by Maya Abi Akl. Mohammed Al-Hashimi, a research scientist in the Science Program advised by Dr. Hassan S. Bazzi, received the Best Research Presentation Award in the Energy and Environment Pillar.

Other faculty researchers — Dr. Bing Guo, Dr. Erchin Serpedin, Dr. Qammer Hussain Abbasi, and Dr. Kumaran Kannaiyan and Dr. Reza Sadr — were shortlisted in the Top 10 at the inaugural Best Representative Image of an Outcome (BRIO) competition sponsored by QNRF. Kannaiyan and Sadr’s image, "Converting Liquid Fuel into Small Droplets," won second prize. The image was captured by a camera operating at 20,000 frames per second and is from Sadr's QNRF-funded project, "In-depth Characterization of Spray and Combustion Performance of Alternative Jet Fuels at Gas Turbine Combustor Conditions."

“The research that happens at Texas A&M at Qatar every day contributes new knowledge and is helping to drive Qatar’s transition to a knowledge-based society,” said Dr. Ann Kenimer, interim dean of Texas A&M at Qatar. “These awards from Qatar National Research Fund demonstrate the high quality of research conducted here and illustrates the world-class caliber of our faculty and research staff. We are grateful to QNRF for recognizing and supporting our mission to be a valued resource to the State of Qatar.”

In addition to these recognitions, Texas A&M at Qatar also received funding for 16 proposals. The submitted proposals went through a two-tier review process — peer review and programmatic review — the QNRF Directors Committee endorsed the final decision. Texas A&M at Qatar submitted a total of 44 proposals and had a 36 percent success rate. A total of 89 projects were awarded out of 350 submissions from 27 institutions inside of Qatar, with Texas A&M at Qatar scoring an 18 percent funding success rate overall.

And Dr. Beena Ahmed was one of four lead investigators invited by QNRF to tell her success story about her research that has direct impact in Qatar. She presented her project on remote speech therapy for childhood apraxia of speech. The project has resulted in the development and validation of a working prototype of technology-based remote speech therapy tool that for the first time allows children to perform their assigned speech therapy exercises in the comfort of their homes while still being monitored by a clinician.