In the Media

Meena Antony
/ Categories: In the Media

QNRF funded research advancing Qatar's vision for a post-carbon sustainable future

Qatar National Research Fund (QNRF), a member of Qatar Foundation for Education, Science and Community Development ( Qatar Foundation ), recently revealed insights from 16 research projects focused on sustainability in energy and the environment at the Qatar Sustainability Expo. On the first day of presentations, 29 November, researchers focused on topics related to the environment and climate change, while the second day of presentations, on 1 December, covered research on renewable energy and water management. QNRF is the national research funding agency in Qatar, facilitating original, competitively selected research projects that address priority needs for the nation. The organization's presence at the Qatar Sustainability Expo coincides with the UN Climate Change Conference in Doha (COP18/CMP8). Speaking on QNRF's role in fostering research on environmental and energy-related sustainability, Executive Director, Dr Abdul Sattar Al-Taie, said, "Over the years, QNRF has been funding exceptional research proposals that offer homegrown solutions to some of the greatest social, economic and environmental challenges facing Qatar and the region, including the need for securing a sustainable post-hydrocarbon future. By showcasing research funded by QNRF at the Qatar Sustainability Expo, we aim to inform local and international audiences about the research culture that is being built in Qatar and the benefits it will bring to our region." Dr Munir Tag, Program Manager, QNRF, who played an instrumental role in organizing the presentations and chaired the sessions said, "Since its inception in 2006, QNRF has funded or awarded over 170 projects that focus on sustainable energy or environmental issues. These presentations, which cover important national topics including CO2 sequestration, water management and the environmental impact of large-scale desalination plants and renewable energy including developing a smart solar reactor for clean production of fuel, are part of the organisation's continued efforts to spread a research culture amongst all levels of society in Qatar" One such exemplary project funded by QNRF's flagship program, the National Priorities Research Program (NPRP), is led by Dr Ahmed Abdel-Wahab from Texas A&M University at Qatar. Details about this research project were shared at the QNRF presentations conducted at the Qatar Sustainability Expo. The project aims to develop effective treatment methods for contaminated wastewater and sludge -a serious concern for regulators and the industry in Qatar and across the globe. "The remediation of wastewater and contaminated wastes is a research priority for Qatar," said Dr Abdel-Wahab, adding, "Persistent oxidized contaminants are of major concern worldwide. Our approach will break new ground in hazardous waste management by introducing a novel treatment process that has the potential to effectively destroy a wide range of oxidized contaminants including those that now are recognized as problems and those that are emerging as potential treatment challenges in the future." Dr Michel Louge of Cornell University also presented research at the Expo, sharing details on his study of the moisture dynamics and microbial activity levels in mobile dunes. Another project from Bangor University was presented by Dr. Lewis Le Vay, who shared insights from his research on mangrove forests and sea-grasses located on the arid coast of the western Arabian Gulf. In the session on renewable energy and water management, researchers from Texas A&M University-Qatar, Qatar University, Kuwait University and HEC Paris and Fraunhofer presented their work on topics ranging from the production of clean transportation fuels from natural gas and solar energy conversion processes in plants, to the development of sustainable water strategies for Qatar. In alignment with the Qatar National Research Strategy, energy and environment is one of the four main pillars of QNRF-funded research. The remaining research pillars include computer sciences and ICT, health and social sciences, and arts and humanities.
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