Dr Hasan Mahmud, assistant professor of sociology
Two professors at Northwestern University in Qatar (NU-Q) have received Undergraduate Research Experience Program (UREP) grants. The grants were awarded by the Qatar National Research Fund (QNRF), a member of Qatar Foundation Research and Development (QF R&D).
The two are Drs. Hasan Mahmud, assistant professor of sociology and Anto Mohsin, assistant professor of science and technology studies, both in NU-Q’s liberal arts program.
“These grants reflect the creative work of our faculty and play an integral role in NU-Q’s development as a hub of research excellence and innovation in Education City,” said Dean and CEO Everette E. Dennis. “NU-Q values and encourages scholarly activity and innovation, which allows our students to participate in undergraduate research that engages their intellectual curiosity. A lot of learning occurs when undergraduate students do research – learning that does not happen during traditional coursework.”
The goal of the UREP funding is to foster and develop a culture of research as methods of enhancing undergraduate education. Students and mentors have the ability to build their research and experience portfolio through such programs. NU-Q’s newest UREP proposals will engage research mentors and undergraduate students.
Among the grants awarded this month is a study on cultivating a science-based community and scientific culture in Qatar. Mohsin, working in collaboration with the Qatar Environment and Energy Research Institute (QEERI), will oversee the project.
“Receiving this grant will allow me to involve student researchers on the project and also expand its scope. One of the hopes we have for the study is to use QEERI’s Science Majlis to understand the drivers and challenges of cultivating a culture of scientific learning in Qatar. I also hope that we can raise more awareness that studying science does not have to be only in a formal academic setting such as taking science courses in schools and universities. Equally important is to develop a culture of inquiry and a ‘spirit of curiosity’ to understand nature and how things work,” said Mohsin.
The award to Mahmud focuses on Qatari foreign aid to developing countries. “This project will contribute to development of a knowledge base in international affairs, especially those related to allocation of foreign aid for developing countries. It will also contribute to the development of public policy, governance, and regulation as these relate to effective Qatari foreign aid management,” said Mahmud. “Additionally, it will provide both theoretical and empirical knowledge and hands-on training to the student researchers and thereby, will contribute to the enhancing the existing research capacity in social science, arts and humanities in Qatar.”
In the past 19 cycles of the UREP Program, NU-Q has been awarded nine grant projects, which have offered NU-Q students and faculty the opportunity to immerse in similar innovative pedagogical methods, and produce widely published journals and reports.