QNRF allocates $121mn in grants
Dr Amer al-Saadi and Dr Abdul Sattar al-Taie address the audience
By Bonnie James/Deputy News Editor
Qatar Foundations Qatar National Research Fund (QNRF) has announced a record $121mn for distribution among 145 proposals under the fourth cycle of National Priorities Research Programme (NPRP). The projects are from sectors such as natural sciences, engineering and technology, medical and health sciences, agricultural sciences, social sciences and humanities all relevant to Qatar.
In this cycle, 14 submitting institutions from Qatar in collaboration with 134 international research institutions from 25 countries, have been selected for funding, QNRF executive director Dr Abdul Sattar al-Taie said yesterday.
Speaking at the third annual forum of QNRF, which was streamed live on the web, al-Taie explained this cycle's NPRP funding was 7% more than the previous one, which stood at $113mn. The total funds for the first and second cycles were $25mn and $86mn, respectively. The number of awarded proposals is also at an all-time high. What started with 47 in the first cycle, climbed to 93 in the second, and reached 126 in the third, before touching 145 in the fourth.
QNRF, established in 2006 and chaired by QF chairperson HH Sheikha Moza bint Nasser, aims to foster original, competitively selected research in the target sectors. Since the beginning of NPRP's fourth cycle in September 2010, QNRF received 1,447 letters of intent, of which 695 proposals were submitted, Dr al-Taie recalled. After these proposals were vetted by the research offices of the submitting institutions and screened by QNRF, 631 were sent for external review by five international peer reviewers per proposal, resulting in the selection of 145 proposals through an extensive analysis.
Earlier, the event began with a keynote address by QF's research advisor and QNRF's project manager Dr Amer al-Saadi who lauded the vision, drive and commitment from the highest levels of leadership in Qatar.
"In these times of global economic belt-tightening, we are fortunate to be here in Qatar where we can watch the landscape of scientific research transform and develop in the right direction," he stated. Stressing that QNRF is building a bridge between academia and business, Dr al-Saadi anticipated that the scientific endeavour would prove to be remarkably fruitful.
"The Intellectual Property Management project, launched jointly earlier this year by QNRF and the Qatar Science & Technology Park, will help to explore the commercial potential of the outcomes from the research works," he said. Observing that QNRF has become a global success story by acting as a catalyst to promote research, Dr al-Saadi added that it is supporting Qatar's journey from a carbon-based economy to a knowledge-based economy.
Dr al-Taie pointed out that QNRF supports research in everything from engineering and technology to social sciences and the arts while international funding agencies support only one kind of research - for example the US' National Research Fund only funds basic research, and the National Institutes of Health only funds health initiatives.
"Few nations provide such a strong support apparatus, like NPRP, to their residents for research," he said while explaining that the programme provides financial grants to both Qataris and non-Qataris, residing in and outside of Qatar. Researchers from all over the world can apply for NPRP provided they work with local partners, given that partnerships can be formed with the 54 research centres that currently collaborate with QNRF, he added.
Source: Gulf Times
URL: Gulf Times