QNRF a member of Qatar Foundation for Education, Science and Community Development announced the results of the “Fourth Undergraduate Research Experience Program (UREP) Competition” which was held this year under the auspices of Faisal Al-Suwaidi, President, Research and Development, Qatar Foundation for Education, Science and Community Development. A total of 12 students from two were awarded in QNRF’s Fourth Annual UREP competition and the prizes were presented as follows:
First place: QR10,000 for each student and QR15,000 for each faculty member.
Second place: QR7,000 for each student and QR10,000 for each faculty member.
Third place: QR5,000 for each student and QR7,000 for each faculty member.
Faisal Al-Suwaidi, President Research and Development Qatar Foundation and Dr. Abdul Sattar Al-Taie, Executive Director, QNRF, handed the prizes and the certificates to the winners at a presentation held in QNRF’s offices.
First place was awarded to the project entitled Wireless Sensors for Corrosion Detection of Post-Tensioned Tendons in Bridges conducted by Mohannad Abo-Hassan , Mohamed Shehadeh , Ibrahim Dohair, Abdulfattah Shehadeh, Mohammad Alfar and Momen Anayeh and supervised by Dr. Khaldoon A. Bani-Hani, Dr. Ahmed Senouci and Dr. Nasser Al Nuaimi , from Qatar University.
Second prize was awarded to the project entitled The Qatar Online Oral History Project, conducted by Mariam Dahrouj , Shatha Farajallah and Sara Al-Khalfan from Qatar University , supervised by Mr. Andrew Mills , from Northwestern University in Qatar.
Third place was awarded to the project entitled the Role of Information Technology In Combating Human Trafficking in Globalization Times and Impact on the State of Qatar, conducted by Abdulla Al-Mansouri , Abdulaziz Al-Thani and Hassan Al-Kuwari,supervised by Dr. Mohamed Salah Hamdi from Ahmed Bin Mohamed Military College.
In this Fourth Annual UREP Competition, the final reports of 101 QNRF funded UREP research projects, completed in 2011, were subject to careful review through two rounds of assessments, until five projects, 18 students and seven supervisors reached the final round of the competition. A representative of each team then gave a presentation of their research project in front of the judging panel chaired by Dr Hessa Al-Jaber, Secretary General of the Supreme Council of Information and Communication Technology, ictQATAR. The panel included Dr Ahmed Elmagarmid, Executive Director of Qatar Computing Research Institute, Dr Obaid Younossi, Director of RAND-Qatar Policy Institute, Dr Kassim H Habib, Senior Geologist, Exploration & PSA Development, QP, and Dr Okasha El Daly, Director of Projects at the Vice Chairman’s Office, Qatar Museums Authority.
The five research projects that reached the final round of this year's competition have been recognized for their strong link to Qatar’s national priorities and the topics reflected the wide variety and diversity of the research ranging from the culture and sustainability of Souq Waqif, to the wireless sensing of corrosion and the oral history of Qatar.
In UREP, peer-reviewed proposals compete for QNRF funding of activities that go beyond the scope of the normal yearly academic coursework with students participating under the supervision of faculty members and professional researchers.
The goal of UREP is to promote undergraduate research activity and provide hands-on learning opportunities by familiarizing students with a broad range of scientific research methods while allowing them to benefit from the acquisition of specialized skills. UREP also promotes collaborative partnerships between faculty and students as well as the public and private sectors and is specifically designed to encourage the participation of women in professional life.
All QNRF funding Programs support Qatar's National Vision 2030 to build a knowledge-based economy by acting as a catalyst for education, training and diversification.
Below is a brief summary of the three winning research projects:
Title :Wireless Sensors for Corrosion Detection of Post-Tensioned Tendons in Bridges Summary of the project: The corrosion of steel reinforcement is the main cause for the deterioration for concrete structures, in particular in coastal gulf areas such as Qatar. Permutation of traffic load and corrosion loss are the main sources in steel tendons deterioration in pre-stressed bridges. In long-term service, the degradation of concrete bridges, which is initiated by the corrosion of rebars and Post-Tensioned (PT) strands due to chloride ingress, results in concrete cracking. The rate of deterioration is unpredictable in both materials, however monitoring such deterioration can be achieved using a number of approaches. In PT concrete bridges, the health of the tendons is of high concern, as they are vulnerable to corrosion. The use of wireless sensor network to detect and predict
the beginning of steel corrosion in concrete is an important application that needs more investigation, exploration and experimentation. In this study, a wireless system has been used to predict and monitor the corrosion of PT strands in bridges. Several scaled specimens of PT bridge girder having a length of 1.8m have been casted to evaluate the potential use of such wireless system for corrosion detection. Multi Array Sensor (MAS) probes, a passive electrochemical sensor with no applied voltage, have been selected for this study and have been embedded in the PT bridges girders in addition to pH and Cl Electronics sensors surrounding the tendons. The PT girder specimens were submerged in a water tank filled with salted water to accelerate the chloride ingress into the specimens. The embedded MAS, pH and Cl sensors transmitted the acquired data to a gateway router connected to a microcomputer with acquisition software that can display and store the data arrays as function of time. The experimental results have shown that the use of this technology is promising for the early detection of corrosion progress and Chloride (Cl- ) concentrations with pH values in the interior surroundings of the PT concrete tendons. This study also showed the need for more investigation of such system considering in-situ field results with severe environmental factors.
Title :The Qatar Online Oral History Project Summary of the project: Swalif is an oral history project that gives everyday people in Qatar the opportunity to make digital audio recordings of their life stories. It will form a growing portrait of who the people of Qatar really are and will help them to connect to one another. Perhaps no society has transformed as rapidly as Qatar’s has in a single generation. These changes are thrilling, but the looming and urgent danger is that if the everyday stories of this country – which help to form the country’s collective memory – are not recorded now, they may be forgotten forever. So, in 2010, a small team of journalism students at Qatar University, working under the supervision of Assistant Professor Andrew Mills, set out to identify everyday people who have deep roots in Qatar and want to have their stories recorded and preserved in an online audio archive. The team uses broadcast-quality digital recording equipment to interview these people and record their stories. Students have learned to edit the recordings and package them to be uploaded onto the project’s website. The hope is that QatarSwalif.org will become an unparalleled online archive of sound recordings documenting life in 20th and 21st-century Qatar.
Title :Role of information technology in combating human trafficking in globalization times and impact on the State of Qatar
Summary of the project: Over the past recent years, the human trafficking phenomenon emerged on the international level as one of the most serious challenges facing the international community, after a large number of countries, including Qatar, became strong hubs of human trafficking which is run by organized crime gangs and networks. Oil and gas have made Qatar the second highest per-capita income country - following Liechtenstein - and one of the world’s fastest growing. Proved oil reserves of 15 billion barrels should enable continued output at current levels for 37 years. Qatar’s proved reserves of natural gas are nearly 26 trillion cubic meters, about 14% of the world total and third largest in the world. These factors made Qatar a transit and destination country for men and women trafficked for the purposes of involuntary servitude and, to a lesser extent, commercial sexual exploitation. Men and women from India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, the Philippines, Indonesia, Vietnam, Sri Lanka, Ethiopia, Sudan, Thailand, Egypt, Syria, Jordan, and China voluntarily travel to Qatar as laborers and domestic servants, but some subsequently face conditions indicative of involuntary servitude. These conditions include threats of serious harm, including financial harm; job switching; withholding of pay; charging workers for benefits for which the employer is responsible; restrictions on freedom of movement, including the confiscation of passports and travel documents and the withholding of exit permits; arbitrary detention; threats of legal action and deportation; false charges; and physical, mental and sexual abuse. This project aims at investigating the role of information technology in human trafficking and especially how it can be used to prevent and combat this phenomenon and at issuing recommendations that could be helpful in the state of Qatar and elsewhere.