UCL Qatar wins prestigious grants from Qatar National Research Fund
UCL Qatar, the newly-established Doha campus of University College London, has recently won two major awards in this year’s Qatar National Research Fund (QNRF). The grants, awarded under the National Priorities Research Programme (NPRP), are focused on the investigation of the origins of Doha as well as the study of the ancient industries in Sudan.
The investigation of the origins of Doha will be under the leadership of UCL Qatar senior lecturer,Dr. Robert Carter while the study of the ancient industries of Sudan will be directed by Professor Thilo Rehren (pictured), Director of UCL Qatar.
According to Professor Rehren, “We are delighted that already our first attempts at the NPRP funding round have borne fruit. This will enable us to start two major research projects in the first year of UCL Qatar’s existence.”
The Origins of Doha project, which was awarded $876,000, will combine archaeological, historical and ethnographic data to delve into the foundation and growth of Doha. The aim of the project is to clarify and document the date of Doha’s foundation, establish the nature of historic occupation, and define Doha’s expansion and integration into regional and global networks. Led by Dr. Carter of UCL, fellow colleagues from Qatar University, The Ministry of Culture, Arts and Heritage, VCU Qatar, and the University of Exeter will work together and exercise their technical skills according to their respected disciplines.
As for the Ancient Industries of Sudan, Professor Rehren obtained a grant of $1 Million to study the raw material sources of Sudan. This important three year research project will complement an existing project on the reconstruction and dating of the smelting technology used in iron production more than 2,000 years ago. Based at Hamad Bin Khalifa University, UCL Qatar will field a world-class team of archaeologists and scientists to conduct field surveys and partial excavations of ancient mining and quarrying sites found in the vicinity of Meroe.
The project has considerable significance in the fields of industrial archaeology and African archaeology, and underlines Qatar and the Qatar Foundation’s international standing as investors in research and global cultural heritage. In 2010 UCL partnered with Qatar Foundation and Qatar Museums Authority to become the first British institution to open a campus in Qatar.
UCL Qatar’s portfolio of taught Masters Degree programs includes an MA in Archaeology of the Arab and Islamic World, an MA in Museum and Gallery Practice and an MSc in Conservation Studies.
The programs have a significant focus on Qatar, the Gulf and the wider region, and incorporate extended archaeological work and field placements. They are designed to give students the practical skills required to pursue a career in the cultural heritage sector.
UCL Qatar is further providing short training courses for mid-career professionals working within the cultural heritage sector. Currently, these courses are exclusively available to Qatar Museum Authority staff, but will open to the general public in late 2012.
By providing such offerings, UCL, as a research-led institution, aims to be at the forefront of cultural issues related to the Arab and Islamic regions. Understanding Qatar’s Islamic and cultural heritage will fuel Qatar’s keen aspiration of becoming a hub in the region for not only economical growth, but for social and cultural affairs as well.