In a move to demonstrate its growing role as the nation’s research engine to drive the vision of a knowledge-based society, Qatar University (QU) on Monday launched its research roadmap for 2014-2019, identifying priority areas and outlining its goals for the coming 5 years.
As a national university of world-class education and high quality research that is aligned with national objectives and the needs of the community, the event was an opportunity for QU to detail its main areas of focus and the strategic plan for their achievement.
Entitled ‘Advancing Research for Qatar’s Future’, the roadmap lists QU’s four priority research areas — Energy, Environment & Resource Sustainability; Social Change & Identity; Population, Health & Wellness; and Information, Communication & Technologies (ICT).
Each has a set of sub-themes respectively — Liquefied Natural Gas and Alternative Energy, Materials and Nanotechnology, Marine Resources and Water, Air & Food Security; Modernization, National Identity and Society, Islam & Contemporary Issues, and Education and Capacity Building; Prevention & Treatment of Chronic Non Communicable Diseases, and Traffic Safety; and Intelligent and Secure Information Processing, Distributed Systems and E-Services, and Enabling Technologies.
Plans for implementation of the roadmap include the establishment of 12 interdisciplinary groups to address the sub-themes. The key impact is expected to be felt in the number and quality of PhD programs and post-doctoral training as well as stimulation of undergraduate research and creating mass in the priority areas within the organization and in Qatar. In her opening remarks, QU President Prof Sheikha Al-Misnad pointed to the university’s commitment to supporting a research agenda that meets the current and future needs of the country and matching it with new developments in the field of research.
“I believe that the strategy and the implementation plan will contribute significantly to refocusing research efforts at the university and maximizing the return on investment in the field of research, thereby realizing our mission of research excellence, one of its fundamental pillars,” she added.
The event agenda included presentations by QU VP for Research Dr Hassan Al-Derham, Social and Economic Survey Research Institute (SESRI) Director and Associate Vice-President for Research Dr Darwish Al-Emadi, Office of Research adviser Prof Fadhil N Sadooni, Laboratory Animals Research Center (LARC) Director Dr Hamda Al-Naemi, Associate Vice-President for Research Dr Bhanu Pratap Chowdhary, and Kindi Lab for Computing Research Director Dr Qutaibah Malluhi.
Dr Al-Derham said, “While Qatar University is moving from being a teaching university to a teaching and research university, it is focusing on enhancing its research portfolio and advancing the needs of the community with the view to achieving a global footprint of research excellence.” He added, “The university is investing in developing its infrastructure as well as increasing the number of graduate programs to be able to achieve its goals in the identified priority areas of the roadmap.”
Dr Al-Emadi said, “The roadmap is an excellent indicator of where QU is heading and shows where the organization will invest in the next five years which will give considerable impetus to its development and progress.”
Presenting on the Energy, Environment and Resource Sustainability theme, Prof Sadooni said, “The efforts of QU scholars will serve to optimize national processes and activities towards energy diversification, and environmental sustainability and conservation. Their work will contribute in no small measure to QU’s research capacity on this key priority area and to the objectives of Qatar National Vision.”
On Population, Health and Wellness, Dr Al-Naemi, said, “The organization has a unique opportunity and is well-placed to bring together different disciplines to research health issues using an interdisciplinary approach within QU and with input from its partners in the public and private sectors.”
Dr Chowdhary noted, “The road map will significantly strengthen QU’s research profile, and promote innovation, discovery and entrepreneurship, positioning it as a leading partner in the country’s stated development aspirations.”
Dr Malluhi stressed, “The roadmap is an important milestone for Qatar University as it provides the needed vision and direction for becoming a well-recognized leader in ICT research and innovation in areas that are relevant to the society.”
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