Research on stem cell therapy, the next generation of plastics, and the erosion of Qatar’s dunes were among the winning projects awarded this evening at the second Annual Research Forum (ARF) 2011, organized by Qatar Foundation for Education, Science and Community Development.
The award ceremony – which took place at the Qatar National Convention Center folloring the final sessions of ARF 2011 - recognized 15 professional and student researchers for their distinction in pioneering innovative scientific research. Leadership from Qatar Foundation, as well as the forum’s corporate sponsors, congratulated the awarded researchers.
Dr. Abdelali Haoudi, Qatar Foundation’s Vice President for Research, said, “The research awards will absolutely foster the culture of science in Qatar. 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 awards were distributed by Dr. Haoudi and the President of Qatar Foundation, Dr. Fathy Saoud, who were joined by representatives of ExxonMobil, Shell, and Total– the forum’s corporate award sponsors. Those research programs 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 program 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," added Dr. Haoudi.
This year’s Annual Research Forum, hosting some 1,500 participants, was attended by Her Highness Sheikha Moza bint Nasser, Chairperson of Qatar Foundation, His Excellency Dr. Mohammad bin Saleh Al- Sada, Minister of Energy and Industry and Dr. Faleh Mohammed Hussein Ali, Assistant Secretary General for Policy of the Supreme Council of Health.
An array of groundbreaking research projects were presented over the course of the Forum, 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.
The award for best research program 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 program 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 followed the research program awards, including a study on the improvement of cancer immunotherapy by student Mariam Abdulaziz Al Muftah who was awarded best student research in biomedicine.
Among the awards was also a project titled “Green Home: Designing and Fabricating Occupancy Sensors,” presented by Manir Al Faisal of the College of the North Atlantic – Qatar. This research targets 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 Ahmed 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, and also gave their congratulations to the award recipients.
Speaking on Total’s support of the forum, Stéphane Michel, Managing Director and Total Group Representative in Qatar commented, “This 2011 edition is an amazing success, proving that science is experiencing a tremendous development in Qatar. 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. We foresee this event going from strength to strength in the future, and as a proud partner of Qatar Foundation, we are enthusiastic about our commitment." Total sponsored the best environment research program award.
The ten student awards were sponsored by Shell, and ExxonMobil sponsored the award for the best energy research program.
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.