Qatar National Research Fund (QNRF), a centre of Qatar Foundation Research and Development (QF R&D), has awarded funding to two research proposals titled “The Garbled Computer: Towards Computing Without Seeing” and “Adapted Cognitive Behavioural Approach To Addressing Overweight Among Qatari Youth”, which is the continuation of a pilot-study.
The two proposals, both from Qatar University, were awarded funds as part of the National Priorities Research Program - Exceptional Proposals (NPRP-EP), which offers additional resources beyond those available under the NPRP.
QNRF’s Executive Director, Dr Abdul Sattar Al-Taie, said, “The NPRP-EP funding program gives the opportunity to top notch researchers to submit research proposals with exceptional scientific merits and benefits to Qatar while aligning with the Qatar National Research Strategy.”
Dr Al-Taie added that the majority of the NPRP conditions apply to this programme, with a few amendments such as requirements for lead investigators to have secured an increased number of publications and that they reside in Qatar for the duration of the project. There are also increases in the amount of effort and budget that are to be expended inside Qatar. “We think these are reasonable conditions given the size of the investment that QNRF is prepared to make,” he continued.
“The Garbled Computer” or “GC” research project aims at developing a new, secure, computer model which could possibly allow the use of sensitive data on untrusted platforms without any security risks. For instance, the GC should be able to use standard data cloud services without revealing any confidential information or the nature of the data.
The second award follows the successful evaluation of a one-year pilot study from where the research team can now go on to investigate increasing obesity levels among local youth for a further two years. The objective of this research project is to address the problem by promoting healthy dietary habits in overweight and obese children between the ages of 9 and 12, while also developing their social and emotional ability to accept these changes. The study will also enlist family involvement to motivate family members and help maintain optimum weight in the long run.
Dr Abdulnasser Al-Ansari, Deputy Executive Director at QNRF, commented, “QNRF’s rigorous peer review process ensures that only top quality, original research projects that address the needs of Qatar and which give Qatar a comparative advantage in the region are funded. I am confident that the awarded research proposals will have a big impact on Qatar, the region and the world whilst making a significant impact in the field of ICT and medical and health sciences.