Qatar forum rewards outstanding research projects

November 23, 2011

Research on stem cell therapy, the next generation of plastics, and the erosion of Qatar’s dunes were among the winning projects awarded at the second Annual Research Forum (ARF) 2011 in Doha.

The award ceremony recognized 15 professional and student researchers for their distinction in pioneering innovative scientific research. The forum was organized by Qatar Foundation for Education, Science and Community Development.

“The research awards will absolutely foster the culture of science in Qatar,” Dr Abdul Ali Haoudi, Qatar Foundation’s Vice President for Research, said. “This Forum is not the end of the path, but truly just the beginning of a scientific endeavor that we should all look forward to.”

The research programmes selected for awards received a monetary grant of $100,000 to continue their research efforts. The winners of the student awards were given academic grants of QR20,000 for best oral and poster presentations.

The research programme abstracts presented at the Forum were judged by a scientific panel comprised of Nobel Laureates and international experts from the relevant disciplines.

“We were particularly impressed with the student research presented this year, and we want the students to know that we are personally recognizing each and every one of them for their advancements in science and technology,” Haoudi said.

An array of groundbreaking research projects were presented over the course of the Forum that hosted 1,500 participants, including analysis of water desalination processes, cancer studies, humanoid robots, natural language processing, and changing patterns of Qatari family formation.

From the 353 abstracts submitted for consideration, 280 were selected for either oral or poster presentation. Five researchers and ten students were chosen for special recognition and awards in the fields of biomedicine, energy, environment, computing science, and arts, social sciences, humanities and Islamic studies based on the quality and relevance of their research to the region’s social and economic challenges, oragnisers said.

The award for best research programme in biomedicine was awarded to a research project on the results of using a combination of arsenic and interferon to target chronic myelogenous leukemia stem cells, thus mitigating relapse. The project was presented by Rihab Nasr of the American University of Beirut in Lebanon.

The award for best research programme in energy was awarded to the project titled “New Catalysts for Next Generations of Plastics,” which was presented by Manal Sami Farah from Total E&P Qatar.

A research project on the development of statistical modeling techniques to build biomedical datasets for use in biomedical data analytics, focused in particular on diabetes and obesity, won the award for best computing science research. The project was presented by Halima Bensmail of the Qatar Computing Research Institute.

The awards for the best student research included a study on the improvement of cancer immunotherapy by student Mariam Abdul Aziz Al Muftah who was awarded best student research in biomedicine.

Among the awards was also the “Green Home: Designing and Fabricating Occupancy Sensors,” project presented by Manir Al Faisal of the College of the North Atlantic – Qatar. The research targeted the design and fabrication of a sensing unit that will detect room occupancy, thus controlling lighting and AC systems, and won the best student environment research.

The award for best student research in arts, social sciences, humanities and Islamic studies was awarded for a research project using qualitative methods to evaluate the impact of consumer culture by exploring the impact of the Villaggio Mall on Qatar and its residents. The project was presented by Amani Ahmad of Qatar University.

Student posters were awarded for research on the following topics: Parkinson’s disease, the next generation of internal combustion engines, bioinsecticides, assistive technology for people with hearing and speaking disabilities, and tribal settlement patterns as a model for contemporary sustainable urban design. The student posters were reviewed by a panel of national and international academics and researchers.

ExxonMobil, Shell, and Total, served as corporate sponsors for the Annual Research Forum awards.

“This 2011 edition is an amazing success, proving that science is experiencing a tremendous development in Qatar,” Stéphane Michel, Managing Director and Total Group Representative in Qatar said. “The Forum gave a unique opportunity to meet all the actors of research in the country and abroad, and to share our views and knowledge about the latest developments.” Total sponsored the best environment research programme award.

The ten student awards were sponsored by Shell, while ExxonMobil sponsored the award for the best energy research programme.

The Annual Research Forum is a Qatar Foundation initiative that fosters a new era of scientific collaboration which will better address the needs of the global community in the future.



About the author

Born August 3, 1960 in Monastir, Tunisia
Media career:
  • ABC News (Tunisia)
  • Bahrain Tribune
  • Gulf News
  • Bahrain Television News
Teaching career:
  • Monastir (Tunisia)
  • University of Bahrain
  • MA  Mass Communications, University of Leicester
  • BA  in English & US literature and studies, University of Tunis

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