Qatar aims to be seen around the world as a destination for research, development, and innovation achievements. Dr Richard O’Kennedy, Qatar Foundation Vice President for Research, Development and Innovation, claimed that it can reach that goal if new investors support the generation of pioneering entrepreneurs who are finding solutions to the challenges local and global societies face.

Speaking at Qatar Science and Technology Park (QSTP) during the unveiling of ‘Catalysing the Future’ – which is designed to highlight the efforts, achievements, and goals of QSTP, and the importance of research, development and innovation (RDI) to Qatar – Dr O’Kennedy emphasised the extent of the nation’s ambitions in this sector.

There has been change in mindset among the people of Qatar. With the blockade, people have invested in R&D to find solutions of being self-sustaining. From growing their own food to starting their own dairy companies, the community in Qatar has learnt to stand on their own feet.’

Over QAR4.3 billion has been invested into RDI activities by international companies registered at QSTP, part of Qatar Foundation Research, Development and Innovation (QF RDI) with 85% of the available space within QSTP now occupied by tech companies. Dr O’Kennedy continued:

Many of the companies we have at QSTP offer solutions to a global market. Unique projects like the Qatar Genome Programme aims to position Qatar among the pioneering countries in the implementation of precision medicine.

With QSTP offering USD50 million in the next five years to support startups, it is becoming increasingly simple to invest in RDI in Qatar. Qatar has also established the new Investment Promotion Agency (IPA) that has joined the World Association of Investment Promotion Agencies to serve as a source of investment solutions for foreign direct investment (FDI) in all of Qatar’s priority sectors.

Qatar’s success in attracting FDI is steadily rising – investments in Qatar increased by 6.6% year-on-year in the first quarter of 2019, according to the quarterly FDI report issued by the Planning and Statistics Authority and Qatar Central Bank.

Through QSTP, QF RDI is making pioneering technology advancements and developing the Middle East’s leading ecosystem for research and development in business.

Dr Ashraf Aboulnaga, Senior Research Director of the Qatar Computing Research Institute at Hamad bin Khalifa University, said:

There was a vision for world-class research to take place in Qatar, and that vision has been realised, and now all efforts are directed in making Qatar synonymous with innovation – which means generating intellectual property no one else has. We now need to be producers of innovation, and that is an effort that cannot be led by researchers alone. RDI is essential to the country, and we can all support whether by encouraging young people to study STEM, adopting research into our institutions, or investing in research, development and innovation.’