David Edward Moore
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Projects From Qatar And The Wider Region Aim To Address Arab Family Issues

Qatar National Research Fund (QNRF) and the Doha International Family Institute (DIFI) announced the awardees of the OSRA Research Grant at the Qatar Foundation Annual Research Conference 2016 (ARC’16), which took place last month.

OSRA, which means family in Arabic, is a QNRF-DIFI joint-funded grant that encourages research that can be used to develop a knowledge base on the Arab family. Research areas included marriage and family structure, parenting, family-work balance, and family laws and practices. The research findings funded under OSRA will assist the development of evidence-based policies and programmes to promote the well-being of the Arab family. The initiative aims to unite researchers from all Arab countries under one umbrella to begin identifying strengths and finding solutions to challenges.

Five proposals from Qatar and the wider region were awarded, and included institutions from Morocco, Lebanon, Oman, and Qatar. The topics of these proposals varied from parenting studies to family law to family work balance in different Arab countries. It also included a proposal that aims to study how social preferences are influenced in conflict regions such as Palestine.

QNRF’s Executive Director, Dr Abdul Sattar Al-Taie, said: “We are delighted to announce the outcome of the first cycle of OSRA grant, which is the result of a fruitful collaboration with DIFI. This programme addresses an important area for Arab societies in general and Qatari society specifically.”

Commenting on the OSRA grant, Ms Noor Al Malki Al Jehani, Executive Director of DIFI, said: “DIFI wanted the OSRA grant to support research that could advance family policies and programmes, while promoting the wellbeing of Arab families. We are pleased with the response of the first cycle of the grant, as well as the diversity of topics addressed.”

QNRF’s Director for Social Sciences, Arts, and Humanities, Dr Michael Reksulak, highlighted that OSRA is closely related to one of the Grand Challenges areas identified under the Qatar National Research Strategy. Dr Reksulak said: “The research projects selected during this cycle will provide policy makers in Qatar with additional insights into how to balance the needs of the Arab family with the requirements of a rapidly changing social and economic environment.”

Elaborating on the benefits of OSRA awarded proposals, Dr Sadim Jawhar, Grand Challenges  Programme Officer at QNRF, added: “What is special about this grant is that it combines efforts to address issues to collectively come up with policies and programmes that support and improve the well-being of the Arab family. This is exemplified by the research focus of the awarded proposals.”

OSRA falls under the Thematic and Grand Challenges Program of QNRF, which aims to competitively select research projects that address research questions in an identified thematic area.  To qualify for OSRA funding, a research project must be led by a lead principal investigator with a doctoral qualification, who has at least three peer-reviewed scientific publications in a relevant field and is residing, and affiliated to an institution, in Qatar or another Arab country.

The OSRA call for proposals was launched in March 2015 and, in response, 16 proposals were submitted to QNRF-DIFI. The proposals underwent a highly competitive review process that led to the selection of the five awarded proposals.

QNRF and DIFI are both members of Qatar Foundation for Education, Science and Community Development (QF), and through this collaboration, the two entities aim to support innovative and high quality research initiatives that advance knowledge in the areas of family issues.

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