Qatar’s unique research ecosystem has produced an environment where undergraduate research programmes and business partnerships are able to thrive together.
The Undergraduate Research Experience Program (UREP) of Qatar National Research Fund (QNRF) is one such initiative. Backed by an agreement signed by Qatar Shell, UREP allows research students to benefit from the learning opportunities and expertise at Qatar Shell Research and Technology Centre.
Qatar Shell Research and Technology Centre Vice President Hussain Al-Hijji said they are committed to fuelling innovation into the nation’s energy ecosystem and advancing research, development, and deploying innovative solutions that have a sustainable and lasting impact towards achieving the country’s key priorities. Qatar Shell and QNRF commit to extend their partnership to co-fund the undergraduate programme for another year.
When QNRF was estalished by Qatar Foundation 13 years ago, UREP was one of the first programmes offered to build and nurture a research ecosystem in Qatar.
Over the years, students from universities within the country have received UREP to conduct research across a wide array of topics. Many of these research projects go on to be featured on international platforms and get published in leading scientific journals.
One such research project was conducted by undergraduate students from Qatar University titled Production of Sensitive Gas Sensors using CuO/SnO2 Nanoparticles, published in Applied Physics A, a scientific journal focused on experimental and theoretical investigations in applied physics and materials science.
Similarly, another interdisciplinary research project by the students of Qatar University successfully developed a low-cost simulator for Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation (ECMO), a lifesaving procedure developed for the care of patients with short-term respiratory and/or circulatory issues. This simulator, built in partnership with Hamad Medical Corporation, integrates engineering with medicine to build a high-fidelity and cost-effective simulation device to ensure increased deployment and subsequently, training of more medical practitioners in the specialised procedure.
Medical corporations and hospitals from around the world have expressed strong interest to purchase this technology. The project won local and international awards including the best oral and poster presentation at the 4th Annual Conference of the South and West Asia Chapter of Extracorporeal Life Support Organization.
Dr Abdul Sattar Al-Taie, Executive Director, QNRF, said the recognition reflects the quality of local research being produced, giving them confidence to say that the future of the academic and research landscape in Qatar is in safe and capable hands.
He added that the special recognition and acknowledgement must be given to their mentors for providing step-by-step guidance to train students in best research practice and ensure that results are at par with competitive international standards.
To learn more about QNRF, visit their website at qnrf.org.