Qatar Foundation’s Annual Research Conference 2014 (ARC’14) offered thousands of delegates the opportunity to listen and engage with leading scientists and research experts from Qatar and around the world.

ARC’14 is held under the patronage of HH Sheikha Moza bint Nasser, Chairperson of Qatar Foundation, and supports Qatar Foundation Research and Development’s (QF R&D’s) mission to build Qatar’s innovation and technology capacity while addressing immediate social needs in the community.

The keynote lecture presentations held at the Qatar National Convention Centre (QNCC) during the second day’s plenary session were aligned to ARC’14’s theme ‘Towards World-Class Research and Innovation,’ and examined research priorities closely aligned to the Qatar National Research Strategy (QNRS), including Water Security, Energy Security, Cyber Security and Integrated Healthcare.

Distinguished experts presented their conclusions including; Dr Steven Chu, former US Secretary of Energy, addressing ‘Solar Energy and Water Security: Issues and Opportunities’; Dr Deborah Frincke, Research Director, National Security Agency/Central Security Service (NSA/CSS), USA, on ‘Global Challenges For Unclassified Cyber Security Research’; and Dr Hsinchun Chen, Lead Programme Director, National Science Foundation (NSF) Smart and Connected Health Programme, USA, on ‘Smart and Connected Health Programme of NSF/NIH: Health IT R&D in the USA.’

As one of the main pillars of Qatar Foundation, QF R&D has been active in promoting QF’s vision of cultivating life-long learning and interest in science and research in Qatar with the Annual Research Conference organised by QF R&D being its flagship event. QF R&D is the custodian of QNRS and leader of a science and research mission that puts Qatar and the Arab region on the map globally. Faisal Alsuwaidi, President of QF R&D, said:

The Opening Plenary Session offered a unique opportunity to listen to international leaders in solar energy, and water and cyber security. We have seen extraordinary multidisciplinary knowledge sharing and collaboration at this year’s conference. It is a huge opportunity to develop research networks with local and international partners, where new ideas are developed and Qatar’s research and development sector can prosper.’

Day two of ARC’14 witnessed parallel debates on health and social sciences with expert contributors exploring the latest themes. The powerful health debate entitled ‘Personalized and Precision Medicine in the next 10 years: Hype, hope or clinical reality?’ saw panellists address the challenges of integrated healthcare, and the opportunities it offers for an efficient and cost-effective healthcare system.

Dr Hilal Lashuel, Qatar Biomedical Research Institute, was joined by local and international delegates, including: Dr Hadi Abderrahim, Qatar Biobank for Medical Research, QF R&D, Dr Abdul-Badi Abou-Samra, Hamad Medical Corporation, Peter Goodhand, Global Alliance for Genomics and Health, Canada; Dr Hirokaki Kitano, The Systems Biology Institute, Japan; Dr Kathryn A. Phillips, University of California, San Francisco, USA; and Dr Hsinchun Chen, National Science Foundation, USA.

The parallel debate on social sciences focused on one of the main economic pillars underpinning the Qatar National Vision 2030: ‘Developing a Knowledge-based economy: Which indicators matter? How to design effective incentives?’

Dr Nader Kabbani of Silatech in Qatar was joined by: Dr Brian Wilcox, Department of Psychology and Center on Children, Families and the Law, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, USA; Dr Christopher J Ruhm, Frank Batten School of Leadership & Public Policy, University of Virginia, USA; Dr Darwish Al Emadi, Social and Economic Research Institute (SESRI), Qatar University; Dr Miles Kimball, Department of Economics and Survey Research Center, University of Michigan, USA; Naser Saleh Al Mahdi, Qatar Statistics Authority, Ministry of Development Planning and Statistics, Qatar; and Dr Patrick H. Tolan, Curry School of Education and Department of Psychiatry and Neurobehavioral Sciences, University of Virginia, USA.

Building on the success of Tuesday’s Opening Plenary Discussion, ARC’14 offered delegates thought-provoking panel discussions, technical presentations, and high-powered debates where leading experts shared constructive experiences and innovative approaches to research and science. Abstract submissions were also chosen on their merit and presented by local and international scientists.