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Haya H Al Muhannadi
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Research sector sees huge growth

The Qatar National Research Fund (QNRF) has transformed the research scene in the country tremendously and registered impressive growth, especially with the huge surge of interest in its National Priorities Research Program (NPRP).

The third cycle of NPRP, with awards totalling $113.8mn for 126 proposals being notified to the recipients today, received a total of 1,150 letters of interest (LoIs), compared to 341 and 748 LoIs in the first and second cycle.

"Qatar University won 64 awards, followed by Texas A&M University at Qatar with 18 and Weill Cornell Medical College in Qatar with 15 among the major achievers," QNRF executive director Dr Abdul Sattar al-Taie announced yesterday.

Carnegie Mellon University in Qatar and Hamad Medical Corporation got eight awards each, and Shafallah Center got five.

One award each was received by Aquamed Middle East, Virginia Commonwealth University in Qatar, Academy of Change, Queen Dental Centre, College of the North Atlantic – Qatar, Sidra Medical and Research Center, University of Calgary - Qatar, and Al Subai’s Establishment for Scientific Studies.

"The number of submitted proposals rose from 206 (first cycle), to 489 (second cycle) before reaching 555 in the third cycle," QNRF executive director Dr Abdul Sattar al-Taie explained.

If the number of proposals passing screening increased from 175 to 482 and then to 536, the number of submitting institutions went up from nine to 19 before touching 21 in the third cycle.

The participating institutions' number rose from 302 in the first cycle to 373 in the third cycle despite a drop to 277 in between.

The number of key investigators went up from 1,537 to 2,124 and reached 2,157 whereas the number of countries represented by the participating institutions increased from 33 to 46 and subsequently 49.

With the overarching goal of fostering a research culture in Qatar, NPRP currently offers a range of awards from $20,000 to $350,000 per year, for up to three consecutive years per project.

"The proposals in disciplines such as natural sciences, engineering and technology, medical and health sciences, and social sciences are increasing with each cycle," Dr al-Taie observed.

If there were 56 proposals in natural sciences in the first cycle, it increased to 87 and 91 subsequently. The increase in engineering and technology proposals ranged from 55 to 214, with a second cycle peak of 230.

Medical and health sciences numbers went up from 37 to 100 and then to 137, whereas social sciences saw an increase from 23 to 56 and then to 77.

"The major chunk of the 126 proposals accepted in the third cycle comprised natural sciences (26), engineering and technology (55) and medical and health sciences (31)," Dr al-Taie added.


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