Q atar Foundation established Qatar National Research Fund (QNRF) in 2006 as part of its ongoing commitment to establish Qatar as a knowledge-based economy. Qatar Foundation views research as essential to national and regional growth; as the means to diversify the nation’s economy, enhance educational offerings and develop areas that affect the community, such as health and environment. 

Qatar National Research Fund aims to foster original, competitively selected research in More...


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أنشأت مؤسسة قطر الصندوق القطري لرعاية البحث العلمي عام 2006 كجزء من التزامها المستمر بإقامة الاقتصاد القائم على المعرفة في دولة قطر. وتولي مؤسسة قطر للبحوث أهمية قصوى استنادًا إلى دورها الحيوي في تحقيق النمو سواء داخل قطر أو على الصعيد الإقليمي، وكونها وسيلة لتنويع اقتصاد البلاد، وتعزيز الفرص التعليمية، وتطوير المجالات المؤثرة في المجتمع كالصحة والبيئة.

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Friday, March 31, 2023 6:32 PM Doha Time

Ensuring Education Continuity for All

Ensuring Education Continuity for All

QNRF-funded project aims to support online learning for autistic children

Students across the world and their studies have been severely affected by the spread of COVID-19. From the closure of educational institutions and postponement of examinations to students shifting to a digital mode of learning, different approaches are being explored to ensure the continuity of education and the safety of the students.

While the approach to offering classes virtually is helping many students, a huge population of children with intellectual and developmental disabilities, particularly autism, are left with no support to ensure their learning is not disrupted. When it comes to remote teaching and learning, children with autism exhibit attention deficit disorder and other communicational and behavioral challenges that hinder them from communicating online using the traditional setting of online teaching.

Along with autistic children, their families and special education schools are also faced with a difficult situation, as there are no suitable mechanisms or tools to help their children continue learning from home. To solve this problem, a research project titled, “Mixed-Reality Interactive Educational Platform to Support Remote Learning for Children with Autism” (Project ID: RRC-3-010) by Dr. Dena Ahmed S. Al-Thani, Assistant Professor in the College of Science and Engineering at Hamad Bin Khalifa University (HBKU), was awarded under the inaugural call of the Rapid Response Call (RRC).

As the name of the call suggests, the RRC enables researchers to develop rapid solutions to mitigate the impact that COVID-19 has on different sectors in Qatar. This research project will build on a study that has been examining the behavioral trends in autistic children for the past 4 years, and will accelerate the successful development and evaluation of technologies for teaching and learning to support children with autism.
According to Dr. Dena Al-Thani, the main objective of her project is to iteratively develop and evaluate a mixed-reality online interactive learning platform. The research grant under RRC will contribute to the development of this platform on a fast-track basis, so it can be deployed on an urgent basis in schools and centers that offer educational services for autistic children. The research project builds upon work done by Dr. Al-Thani and a team at the College of Science and Engineering, which consists of Dr. Marwa Qaraqe and Ms. Bilikis Banire, who developed the machine learning model to detect the attention of autistic children during their learning process using a webcam. This project has already been patented in the US.

Dr. Al-Thani hopes that the outcomes of this research project will not only benefit autistic children in Qatar, but also globally, so that no child is left behind in their learning process as the world adjusts to a new reality created by the pandemic spread of COVID-19.



«March 2023»