Qatar National Research Fund (QNRF), a center of Qatar Foundation Research and Development, awarded grants totalling US$1,388,000 to undergraduate students in Doha. 

The research grants are part of Qatar’s goal of continuing prosperity through development of a knowledge-based economy. The 15th cycle of the Undergraduate Research Experience Program (UREP) saw 39 proposals receiving grants, out of the 126 proposals that were reviewed, a 31% success rate. The programme gives undergraduate students the opportunity to acquire invaluable ‘hands-on’ experience by participating in innovative research under the guidance of their respective faculty. Each proposal was evaluated under strict criteria by three independent peer reviewers.

QNRF’s Executive Director, Dr Abdul Sattar Al Taie, expressed his delight at the breadth and depth of research undertaken and submitted for the 15th cycle of UREP. He said:

UREP’s latest cycle attracted 42 proposals under the engineering and technology discipline, followed by an impressive 40 in social sciences, arts and humanities, 23 in the medical and health related discipline and 20 in the natural sciences…One of QNRF’s core missions is assisting Qatar’s youth to pursue a career in research.  The ability to develop a research culture is a critical building block for Qatar’s future.’

Proposals awarded by QNRF were submitted by students from Qatar University, Texas A&M University at Qatar, Ahmed Bin Mohamed Military College in Qatar, Weill Cornell Medical College in Qatar and Northwestern University in Qatar.

Training Programs Manager at QNRF, Sunitha Shyam, said:

 The latest cycle saw grants awarded to 145 students, 44 of whom are Qatari students…This is really encouraging and I am particularly pleased to see such a high number of female Qatari students participate in UREP. Supporting young women in Qatar to further develop skills in science and research is a key area for QNRF so we are extremely happy that 27 Qatari females participated.’

The students will carry out research on a wide spectrum of topics that are of benefit to Qatar. The research projects include a study of biodiversity in date palms from different regions in Qatar, building a hybrid-renewal energy generation system for eco-friendly buildings in Qatar, improving Doha’s residential neighbourhood by promoting healthy communities, a study to engage and empower Qatari women, and examining the transition of Doha’s Fareej Al Asmakh to a living heritage district.