Research Matters

12th UREP Competition Winners Announced

12th UREP Competition Winners Announced

Celebrating our young researchers

For more than 13 years, the Undergraduate Research Experience Program (UREP) has been sponsoring original and innovative research projects of students across educational institutions in Qatar. Under the past 26 cycles of UREP, Qatar National Research Fund (QNRF), a Qatar Foundation (QF) member, has awarded more than 4380 undergraduate students in Qatar, who conducted more than 1120 projects addressing the pillars of the Qatar National Research Strategy.
To recognize and appreciate exceptional UREP research projects, QNRF holds the UREP competition every year. This year, the twelfth edition of the competition was held online using a virtual platform for the first time due to the spread of the pandemic COVID-19.
The online exhibition, which was visited by around 1000 people, featured 46 research projects from research teams representing six universities in Qatar. Out of these research projects, 14 were shortlisted to compete and pitch in front of a panel of expert judges in an online webinar open to the public.
After a competitive evaluation process, the research team from Weill Cornell Medicine – Qatar, including Dana Al-Ali, Ameena Shafiq, Nada Mhaimeed, Mohammed Salameh, Zain Burney, and Krishnadev Pillai won the first place in the competition for their project exploring the role of human gut microbiota in autism spectrum disorders and inflammatory bowel diseases.
The second place went to a team from Texas A&M University at Qatar, comprising AlReem Al-Dosari, Soltan Mohamed, and Buthaina Al-Abdulla for their research project titled “Effect of Nanoparticles on Alternative Fuel Sprays at High-Pressure Conditions.” Lastly, the third place went to the research team from Qatar University, including Abdulrhman Mahmoud, Elshaikh Mohamed, Omrane Abdallah, and Aiman Abducarim for their project “Human Circulatory System Simulation for Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation Therapy.”
The winning students were rewarded with cash prizes and awarded certificates in recognition of their achievement and hard work. Dana Al-Ali, member of the winning team remarked: “UREP introduced us to various aspects of research, from hypothesis conception and IRB approval, to dealing with unexpected difficulties that arose during the running of the project, as well as result analysis and recognizing the importance of running an awareness campaign. This project has helped us publish papers in reputable journals, including the Scandinavian Journal of Immunology, and has given us various opportunities to present at conferences. In addition, the knowledge gained from the project gave us more insight into possible career paths that we can take.”
AlReem Al-Dosari, a student at Texas A&M at Qatar and member of the second-place team, remarked that her experience with UREP helped her establish a concrete foundation in the field of research. She further commented: “This research program has contributed to making me a well-rounded graduate, and now I am able to apply to high-ranked graduate schools with an impressive research studies record. Moreover, it opened my eyes to contemporary problems that the industries in Qatar and around the world are facing.
“I sincerely thank QNRF for offering such a valuable and enriching program to students in Qatar. It has motivated me to keep working hard to serve my country and contribute to its research infrastructure.”


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