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QF R&D’S ‘RESEARCH DIALOGUE’ SERIES FOCUSES ON ENSURING RESEARCH FUNDING HITS THE MARK
Hanin Bader
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QF R&D’S ‘RESEARCH DIALOGUE’ SERIES FOCUSES ON ENSURING RESEARCH FUNDING HITS THE MARK

International Research Policy Expert Outlines Need for Effective and Efficient Systems

The importance of getting research funding right – and ensuring it enables discoveries and innovations that can make a genuine impact – was outlined by an international expert through a Qatar Foundation Research and Development (QF R&D) ‘Research Dialogue’ discussion.

Professor Jonathan Grant, Assistant Principal for Strategic Initiatives and Public Policy at King’s College London, emphasized how funding for research is essential to producing outcomes that bring economic and social benefit, and improve lives, as well as for retaining public faith in research and development, during a recent talk at Qatar Science & Technology Park (QSTP), part of QF R&D.

The seminar, titled ‘How Research Makes a Difference: The Effectiveness and Efficiency of Research Funding’, outlined that funding for the “wrong type of research” poses an “emerging threat” to the science and innovation efforts of countries around the world, drawing on global case studies and policy developments concerning the analysis and measurement of research impact. QF R&D is home to an internationally-renowned funding organization, Qatar National Research Fund (QNRF), which supports original, competitively-selected research that addresses Qatar’s priorities.

In his talk, Professor Grant, who is also Professor of Public Policy at the Policy Institute at King’s College London, said: “There is a social contract between the researcher who receives a grant and the citizens of the country that is funding their research.

“Conducting research is a huge responsibility and privilege – it allows a researcher to explore a topic they are passionate about, but they must also ensure that their work serves the country that is supporting them. Without this, research will not have legitimacy, and so nations have a moral imperative to assess and demonstrate the impact and benefit of the research they fund, and to ask themselves whether this funding is not only effective, but also efficient.”

With his chief areas of research interest being biomedical and health R&D policy, research impact assessment, and the use of research and evidence in decision-making and formulating policy, Professor Grant’s career has seen him hold numerous high-level positions. He was formerly President of RAND Europe, a not-for-profit research institute, and Head of Policy at the Wellcome Trust, a biomedical research charity.

“QF R&D is focused on enabling and supporting research and innovation that generates economic and societal impact for Qatar, and this is reflected in our portfolio of funding programs, including QNRF’s mission-driven National Priorities Research Program and QSTP’s Product Development Fund for startups and SMEs,” said Dr. Hamad Al-Ibrahim, Executive Vice President, QF R&D.

“Through this approach to research funding, and the importance that QF R&D places on comprehensive, insightful evaluation and measurement of impact, we ensure our efforts and resources are targeted on addressing Qatar’s priorities, meeting the needs of the local market, and generating tangible, positive outcomes. This maximizes the benefit to the nation of the high-caliber research and innovation that we fund, and reinforces public conviction in its capacity to make a difference to people’s lives.”

The ‘Research Dialogue’ series is an outreach platform that allows researchers, scientists, innovators, and other members of Qatar’s research and development ecosystem, as well as the wider community, to hear from and interact with local, regional, and international expert speakers on a diverse range of topics. It aims to develop an understanding of, and interest in, research and innovation in Qatar, a key aspect of QF R&D’s mission.

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