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QNRF strengthens international ties for greater collaboration
Haya H Al Muhannadi
/ Categories: Press Releases

QNRF strengthens international ties for greater collaboration

 A senior delegation from Qatar National Research Fund (QNRF) recently visited the UK and Ireland for a week of high-level engagements, designed to raise awareness of the unique range of research programs and collaborative opportunities available in Qatar.
At a special session in London, Dr Abdul Sattar Al-Taie, QNRF's Executive Director, and Dr Munir Tag, its acting Director Technical, presented to an audience of over 50 senior officials from universities and research institutions. The session, organised by the UK Higher Education International Unit and hosted by the British Library, focused on the opportunities and challenges for UK researchers applying for QNRF grants, and included speakers from UK government agencies as well as universities that have already been awarded QNRF grants.
"QNRF is Qatar's prime enabler of research and we understand the importance of partnerships and collaborations with the international research community, said Dr Al-Taie. Such collaboration will not only lead to a valuable exchange of knowledge; research is also more meaningful when a rich variety of perspectives are combined. As Qatar and the UK celebrate a year of partnership with Qatar UK 2013, there couldn't be a better time to highlight the opportunities for collaboration between scientists in Qatar and the UK, and to recognise the outstanding collaborations already underway."
Under QNRF's flagship National Priorities Research Program (NPRP), 45 UK institutions have been awarded collaborative grants in recent years with Qatari partners for a total of 78 research projects.

Dr Joanna Newman, Director of the UK Higher Education International Unit, commented, “This event was an excellent opportunity to bring together representatives from the UK and Qatar to explore how we can strengthen research collaboration. As our research priorities align, there is huge potential to develop projects and increase partnerships between our two countries.

The QNRF delegation also connected with key experts from a wide range of disciplines at the Ecosystem for Sustainable Growth Services Workshop 2013’ in Dublin, Ireland. Dr Khalid Al-Quradaghi, QNRF's Director of Programs, joined Dr Al-Taie and Dr Tag at the workshop to share best practices and opportunities for collaboration with researchers and policymakers in attendance from countries across Europe. The workshop concluded with a roundtable on how best to unite efforts to address global challenges in resource scarcity and health.

In subsequent one-on-one engagements, QNRF discussed specific opportunities for collaboration with Ireland's leading organisations for research and innovation, including Enterprise Ireland and Science Foundation Ireland.

Highlighting the significance of these strategic meetings, Dr Al-Taie said, Ireland and Qatar are both small countries with big research aspirations. And with Ireland having recently been named amongst the top five countries up-and-coming in high-level research, our countries can mutually benefit from an exchange of knowledge and expertise. We are working towards similar goals and have much to learn from one another on developing a national research infrastructure and the challenges that accompany such an endeavour - from IP policy to KPIs for funded research projects.

Two universities in Ireland are already collaborating on QNRF research grants under the NPRP model for international research engagement, which allows for up to 35 percent of overall funding to be spent outside of Qatar.

QNRF encourages greater collaboration among researchers in Qatar and provides a valuable opportunity for interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary research partnerships. Its flagship NPRP, together with a variety of upcoming programs, support cooperation with international research organisations with the aim of facilitating knowledge transfer and creating a research culture that benefits Qatar, the region, and the world.

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