QNRF calls for research proposals to support Qatar’s recovery from COVID-19
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QNRF calls for research proposals to support Qatar’s recovery from COVID-19

Qatar Foundation’s Qatar National Research Fund (QNRF) has called for research proposals that can help the country improve its recovery from COVID-19 and support the journey towards normalcy.

The second cycle Rapid Response Call (RRC): COVID-19 under the title ‘Lessons Learned and Road to Recovery’, QNRF expects the applicants to rely on actual data and conduct high-level research to capture the lessons learned and help Qatar on its road of recovery, according to Dr. Abdul Sattar Al Taie, Executive Director, QNRF.

QNRF is looking for research proposals that specifically focus on four main themes — Economic Recovery Post-Pandemic, Education in Times of Crises, Epidemiology, Health Related Issues and Social Cohesion and Community Resilience.  Interested researchers are encouraged to attend an online information session for the Rapid Response Call 2 at 1pm today (July 8). Prospective participants can visit the website to register for the webinar and learn more about the application steps and deadlines.

Building on the ‘Rapid Response Call: Combating COVID-19’ launched last year to realise how impactful and innovative research projects can help institutions and policymakers in Qatar respond effectively to sudden and emergent situations like the COVID-19, QNRF has launched the second cycle.

“During the first cycle, our main focus was to enable our RDI community develop innovative and practical solutions to help Qatar respond to, and mitigate the impact of COVID-19 on public health and various other sectors.

In designing the second cycle of the Rapid Response Call (RRC), we have employed a renewed approach by introducing focused research areas, defining new eligibility criteria and devising a more optimised timeframe covering all the stages from launch of the cycle to awards announcement and delivery of the results,” he told The Peninsula.

QNRF gave the researchers three months to complete their projects under the first cycle but in the second cycle it has been extended to six months with an aim to give researchers enough time to formulate evidence-backed effective policies and innovative solutions.

“We encourage interested applicants to propose research that can help Qatar further improve its recovery process and support Qatar’s journey to return back to normalcy in all aspects of life, while ensuring that our institutions are better prepared to deal with emergent situations in the future,” said Dr. Al Taie.

The first cycle of the RRC last year was met with a great response and despite the challenging circumstances faced by researchers, innovators and public at large, QNRF received more than 200 applications which spanned across a wide range of disciplines but focusing on Qatar’s efforts to effectively respond to the overarching challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to Dr. Al Taie, after a competitive review process, QNRF selected 20 projects for funding — all of which turned out to be success stories in different areas including ICT, health, education continuity, communications and transportation, culture, economy, and social life. He shared the example that RRC funded projects ensured that the school closures do not affect the learning journey of autistic children in Qatar by successfully developing an alternative remote learning model. This model uses mixed reality, including real-time and virtual teaching, and offers interactive sessions to ensure that the special considerations for education of school students with autism are met to ensure education continuity.

“Apart from developing technologies to help address the challenges, our researchers also committed to understand the impact on mental health of first line healthcare workers who heroically led Qatar’s efforts in ensuring the safety and recovery of COVID-19 patients. Such research not only helps in forming evidence-backed policies to address the issues faced by healthcare workers working selflessly under constant pressure but also lays the basis for further research on studying anxiety and coping during pandemics around the world,” said Dr. Al Taie.

According to Dr. Al Taie this year too, the review process will be on a fast track basis to ensure that the selected researchers can start working on their projects at the soonest.

“We will keep our IT channel open to receive applications starting from July 1 and closing it 10 August 2021. Following the evaluation of the submitted proposals, we expect to announce the awarded projects in early October to enable our researchers to start working on their projects in the same month,” said Dr. Al Taie.

Read more at The Peninsula.

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