Qatar Foundation Research and Development (QF R&D) recently held a high-level event exploring pathways for developing human capital, essential in building a sustainable knowledge-based future for Qatar.

Representatives from government ministries, research institutes and universities attending QF R&D’s Human Capacity Development Workshop discussed existing initiatives and programmes designed to widen Qatar’s R&D talent pool. The event, held at the Qatar Foundation (QF) headquarters, also examined the key challenges and priorities for this area, and potential solutions and enhancements.

The workshop addressed the need for the continuing development of Qatar’s human capital in research and development, one of the primary objectives of the Qatar National Research Strategy (QNRS). By bringing together entities and institutions with a diverse research and education scope and shared goals, the event aimed to identify common areas of interest and focus in order to address gaps in capacity-building provision, nurture and retain high-calibre researchers and scientists, and bolster Qatar’s workforce and the nation’s research culture.

Participating stakeholders included the Ministry of Education and Higher Education; the Ministry of Administrative Development, Labor & Social Affairs; Hamad bin Khalifa University, a member of QF, and its research institutes: Qatar Biomedical Research Institute, Qatar Computing Research Institute, and Qatar Environment and Energy Research Institute; Qatar University; Hamad Medical Corporation; the Anti-Doping Laboratory Qatar; QF partner universities: Weill Cornell Medicine-Qatar and Texas A&M University at Qatar; and QF member Qatar Biobank.

In a roundtable discussion, stakeholders outlined their capacity-building programmes, initiatives, insights and suggestions. The workshop provided an overview of Qatar Research Leadership Program – a unique QF R&D initiative dedicated to developing homegrown scientific research and research management talent in Qatar – and the capacity-building sponsorship programmes of Qatar National Research Fund, also part of QF R&D.

Dr Dirar Khoury, Executive Director, Research Coordination and Special Initiatives, and Acting Executive Director, Education, Training, and Development, QF R&D, said:

By providing a forum for key stakeholders to discuss education and training needs relating to the development of human capacity in Qatar, Qatar Foundation Research and Development aims to enhance understanding of the landscape of provision in this area, so that gaps can be identified and addressed.’

‘This workshop has supported stakeholders in determining areas of synergy and correlating interest and practice in the sphere of capacity-building. It produced insights and action points that we hope will contribute to enhancing Qatar’s human capital and thereby advancing the nation’s research and development goals.’

The workshop also highlighted that the number of researchers in Qatar increased 20-fold between 2008 and 2015, to about 1,600, including more than 250 Qatari researchers. It emphasised the need for continued investment in the development of human capacity in research and development to underpin Qatar’s economic growth and diversification and build the high-calibre workforce required to sustain a successful knowledge-based society. Participants highlighted certain perceptions of research careers, and the retention of talent, as key challenges.

Dr Khaled Al Horr, Director of the Higher Education Institute, Ministry of Education and Higher Education said:

Through this workshop, QF R&D has provided a valuable opportunity for stakeholders who have a pivotal role in nurturing and enhancing Qatar’s human capital to share knowledge, exchange ideas and perspectives, and develop a comprehensive and holistic understanding of our capacity-building status and needs.’

‘This initiative recognises that, by working in unison and learning from others in order to define our future path, we are best placed to address challenges, maximise resources, unify our efforts and focus, and achieve our goals in an area of critical importance for the economic and social sustainability and prosperity of Qatar.’

Reem Al Sada, Scholarship Coordinator, Government Scholarship Department, Ministry of Administrative Development, Labor and Social Affairs, commented:

Workshops such as this have an essential role in ensuring young Qataris gain the qualifications and expertise they require to serve the nation in the field of research and development, supporting the activation of scientific research, and emphasising its importance to achieving the objectives of the pillars of the Qatar National Vision 2030.’

Based on the workshop’s discussions and analysis of gaps in provision, participating stakeholders will review their existing capacity-building programmes, with a view to introducing new, synergetic mechanisms for supporting young people in pursuing successful and rewarding careers in research and development, and ensuring the continuing development of Qatar’s human capacity in this field.

For more information, visit Qatar Foundation website