Qatar Genome Programme (QGP), a member of Qatar Foundation (QF) and part of Qatar Foundation Research, Development and Innovation, has recently signed a strategic research and development agreement with Genomics England, aimed at ‘enabling’ novel scientific discoveries and providing medical insights in genomics and precision medicine.
The Memorandum of Understanding was signed at the 2015 building (QF Headquarters) by Dr Richard O’Kennedy, Vice President for Research, Development, and Innovation at Qatar Foundation, and Professor Mark Caulfield, interim CEO and Chief Scientific Officer of Genomics England. The agreement laid the foundation for Qatar and the UK to develop a joint collaboration focusing on areas of research in genomics that can have a global impact.
According to Dr O’Kennedy, this partnership aims to foster our shared goals for advancement of precision medicine and to facilitate common genomic research initiatives.
Together we can push the boundaries further towards a new era of medical practice, where genomics can play a central role.’
Professor Caulfield said that genomics is a global, multi-stakeholder endeavour transforming healthcare. This collaboration, he said, will help expand the legacy of the 100,000 Genomes Project beyond the UK, and will allow to better serve the diverse population of the UK.
We are excited to share our expertise, and equally excited to learn from the approach of the Qatar Genome Programme.’
The MoU outlines a number of research activities between QGP and Genomics England, such as establishing common frameworks to standardise genomic strategies for healthcare implementation; the evaluation of new technologies for whole genome sequencing; the cross-analyses of both national data sets; and the exchange of expertise related to educational programmes.
Speaking on the importance of the agreement, Professor Asmaa Al Thani, Board Vice-Chairperson of Qatar Biobank and Chairperson of QGP, said the agreement will see the two projects benefitting from a strategic alliance and the pooling of research talent and resources from both nations. The programme will also hopefully generate key industrial partnership opportunities enabling vital medical insights and breakthroughs.
Attending the signing ceremony, Her Majesty’s Ambassador to the State of Qatar, HE Ajay Sharma, said the partnership between these leading institutions in genomic research will make an important contribution to tackling the healthcare challenges of today and tomorrow.
This is another example of how the UK and Qatar are working together on Qatar National Vision 2030; and how this collaboration is of benefit to both our countries and others.’
The two entities will work together to share ideas, policies and regulations, technical expertise, and bioinformatics tools, and to exchange staff, data and expertise in the field of genomics. To learn more about QGP, visit qatargenome.org.qa. You can also visit genomicsengland.co.uk for more information about Genomics England.