Qatar National Research Fund (QNRF) today announced the winners of its 13th Undergraduate Research Experience Program (UREP), with participation from 68 Qatari students, the highest number to date.
Over the past six years, UREP has provided more than 2,000 undergraduate students in Qatar with the opportunity to gain significant experience in team-based research collaboration with faculty, postdoctoral fellows, graduate students, and other undergraduates or research staff. The program promotes ‘learning by doing’ and ‘hands on’ mentorship activities as effective methods for undergraduate research education.
The latest cycle of UREP saw a total of 134 proposals submitted and, following a stringent peer review process, 45 of those projects were awarded. The participating institutions include Qatar University, with the highest number of proposals awarded, Texas A&M University at Qatar, Weill Cornell Medical College in Qatar, Ahmed Bin Mohamed Military College and Georgetown University School of Foreign Service in Qatar.
“QNRF embarked upon the journey to facilitate original and competitively-selected research more than six years ago. The growing participation of both Qatari and non-Qatari students in UREP is testimony to the fact that our efforts are worthwhile and demonstrates that young people are becoming increasingly aware of the benefits of research.” said Dr Abdul Sattar Al-Taie, Executive Director of QNRF. “Through UREP, we have been able to place students in Qatar in a discovery-oriented environment and give them intellectual and problem-solving skills that will prepare them for leadership roles in business, government, the arts, and other sectors of life in Qatar.”
He added, “What makes this cycle unique is the fact that 15 proposals were awarded in social sciences, making it the biggest share —38 percent –among all fields of sciences.”
The awarded undergraduates will be conducting research on a variety of topics that included understanding the entrepreneurial environment in Qatar, creating novel solutions for smartphone sensing systems facing high dust levels in Qatar, adopting best global accounting standards for organizations in Qatar, and understanding ultrasound waves in the crude oil industry.
Further highlighting the increased participation by Qatari students, Dr Khalid Al-Quradaghi, Director of Programs at QNRF, said, “We were very pleased to note the increased participation by Qatari students in this cycle of UREP, with 68 Qatari students awarded – a 58 percent increase from the last cycle. The fact that 44 of those students were women is also a mark of success in our mission to support young women in Qatar, in particular to develop their skills in science and research.”
Commenting on the effect that UREP has had on his student researchers, Dr. Hassan R. Al-Derham, Vice President for Research at Qatar University said, “The quality and level of support from UREP has improved our students’ critical thinking skills and contributed to the learning outcome, leading to higher quality output.”
UREP supports QNRF’s aim to promote workforce training, youth development and wider participation of women in the economy. UREP also endeavors to provide young Qatari nationals with meaningful opportunities to develop their research skills.