qnrfQatar National Research Fund (QNRF) has awarded three new research grants to ‘junior’ scientists, aged 40 or under, in the fifth cycle of its Junior Scientists Research Experience Program (JSREP). The three projects will receive total funding of almost half a million dollars over the next three years.

QNRF’s Executive Director, Dr Abdul Sattar Al Taie, said,

By supporting these junior scientists and their research we are investing in Qatar’s future. The projects funded under the current cycle will help tackle some key challenges facing our society. Our programmes facilitate knowledge and technology transfer, which are essential for the growth of Qatar’s research capacity.’

Two of the awarded proposals belong to Qatar University (QU) and one to Weill Cornell Medical College in Qatar (WCMC-Q). Each project falls under a different field of research, which are engineering and technology, social sciences and medical and health sciences.

QNRF funds two cycles annually of JSREP, which was launched in 2010 and has since received 70 applications. Successful proposals are awarded grants of up to $100,000 per project, per year, for a maximum of three years.

One of the two projects awarded to QU aims to improve technologies for the oil and gas industries. The research could help minimise overall processing costs for the industry in Qatar.

Qatar University’s second awarded project proposes to dissect the urban structure of cities in the Gulf region into ‘places of flow’, including the flow of capital, people, goods and information. The results of this research will provide insight on Doha’s capacity and competency which could prove beneficial as Qatar gears up for the 2022 World Cup.

The third successful proposal, awarded to WCMC-Q, will study the parasite that causes the disease toxoplasmosis, which affects approximately 25% of the world population. The research aims to prevent transmission by felines, the disease’s primary hosts, and to reduce the risk of infection in Qatar.

QNRF’s Deputy Executive Director, Dr Abdulnasser Al Ansari, explained:

QNRF funds researchers at all levels. JSREP is designed to offer funding opportunities to those younger researchers, who cannot generally compete with the more seasoned researchers that apply for the National Research Experience Program (NPRP). JSREP gives these younger awardees the opportunity to compete for funding and then lead their own reach projects and hence preparing these young researchers, for advanced future research endeavours. Similar to the NPRP, awardees must report progress in their research every six months to continue receiving further funding instalments.’

QNRF will launch the sixth cycle of JSREP in November and will call for submissions in December this year. Eligible researchers who are interested in applying may visit the QNRF website or download the iOS-enabled QNRF mobile app for further details.

QNRF funds original, competitively-selected research that addresses the national priority needs of Qatar. The research projects funded by QNRF are not only of significance to Qatar but have an impact on global needs in the areas of health, environment, technology and social sciences.