The Qatar National Research Fund (QNRF) is in Britain to help British universities unlock funding opportunities for global collaborative research.
Universities and institutions in the UK have already taken part in grants worth over £50 million, in collaboration with their Qatari partners.
As part of Qatar UK 2013 Year of Culture over 50 UK universities met QNRF at an event organized by the UK Higher Education International Unit and hosted by the British Library.
QNRF shared information about their four research priority pillars: Energy and Environment, Computer Sciences and ICT, Health, Social Sciences and Arts and Humanities.
They then set the challenge for the universities to claim their share of the funding by developing research programmes that align with these priorities.
Qatar has an ambitious national vision to move from an economy based on hydrocarbon resources to a knowledge based economy by 2030.
QNRF is looking to the UK to help push forward this change and is already collaborating with 45 UK institutions. This event celebrated the success already achieved and encouraged further cooperation.
Representatives from universities from across the UK attended including Cambridge, Kings, Durham, Aberdeen, Swansea, Birmingham and Salford.
Dr Abdul Sattar Al-Taie, Executive Director of QNRF said; "Qatar National Research Fund is the country’s prime enabler of research and we understand the importance of partnerships and collaborations with the international research community.
Not only will such collaboration 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 recognize the outstanding collaborations already underway."
Dr Joanna Newman, Director, UK Higher Education International Unit said; “UK universities are actively engaged with Qatar National Research Fund through its National Priorities Research Program in particular, which has been demonstrated by the significant number of projects already being undertaken. 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 event was attended by UCL, which has already received funding from QNRF to develop technology that models blood flow in the brain. It is hoped that this technology will enable medical professionals to drastically improve treatment options for stroke victims.
Professor Peter Coveney, Centre for Computational Science, UCL said; "Working on research projects with scientists in Qatar, through the generous funding of Qatar National Research Fund, has proved educationally, scientifically and culturally stimulating. The approach to the funding of our research projects has been refreshing and the overall experience extremely positive."
The Year of Culture also highlights the ambitious partnership between the British Library and Qatar Foundation for Education, Science and Community Development to digitize half a million pieces of archival material relating to the Gulf, creating an online portal that will be available to a diverse range of audiences around the world.
Oliver Urquhart-Irvine, programme director at the British Library said; “As the UK’s leading research library we play a key role in supporting the Higher Education sector and are committed to continuing this with innovative and ground breaking partnerships. These are particularly important in creating opportunities for research communities now and in the future, and the British Library Qatar Foundation partnership plays a key part in achieving this.”
The Qatar UK 2013 year of culture celebrates the long-standing relationship between the two countries. Coordinated by the British Council and Qatar Museums Authority the year aims to forge new relationships and support existing partnerships in the arts, education, sport and science, while promoting an awareness and appreciation of each country’s culture achievements and heritage.