Texas A&M University at Qatar project wins QNRF competition
Qatar National Research Fund (QNRF) has awarded prizes to the top three research projects presented by students in the 8th cycle of its Undergraduate Research Experience Program (UREP). The awardees were announced on Monday 21st March 2016 at the Qatar National Convention Centre (QNCC).
As in previous years, the top 25 per cent of completed projects funded under the programme were selected to participate in the annual UREP competition. The best 19 projects completed in 2015 were selected for an initial review. The top six scoring teams in the initial review were then chosen to present to a panel of judges and the public, while the remaining teams were given the chance to present their work as posters, which were displayed on the day of the competition.
Teams covered a range of diverse research areas, such as biomedicine and health, engineering and technology, ICT, and social sciences and humanities. The projects were conducted by teams from Northwestern University in Qatar (NU-Q), Weill Cornell Medicine-Qatar (WCM-Q), Qatar University (QU), Texas A&M University at Qatar (TAMUQ), and Georgetown University School of Foreign Service in Qatar (GU-Q).
Dr Abdul Sattar Al-Taie, Executive Director of QNRF, expressed his pride in the teams, saying, “The winning projects were truly exceptional. They pushed the boundaries on all levels and truly demonstrate the research talent that exists in Qatar’s youth.”
Dr Abdulnasser Al-Ansari, Deputy Executive Director of QNRF, also commented, saying: “We hope that this competition will encourage more students to conduct studies in their universities in order to nurture the culture of research in Qatar, which is one of the main pillars for sustained prosperity and excellence.”
First place in the competition was awarded to Abdulla Al-Suwaidi. Titled ‘Investigation of the Performances of the Gas Electron Multiplier for Collider Experiments’, the project involved running experimental tests of the Gas Electron Multiplier (GEM) under different conditions for future use in applications such as high energy collider experiments.
Abdulla Al-Suwaidi, thrilled with the results of the competition, said: “We were overjoyed with winning first place. We worked tirelessly to develop this project and make it the very best it could be. I feel inspired to pursue further areas of research in Qatar; I know that QNRF will be there to support me.”
Second place went to Qatar University for a project titled ‘Synthesis and Pharmacological Screening of Novel Chemical Chaperones against Tunicamycin-Induced ER Stress and Renal Cell Death’. A WCM-Q project called ‘Gene Delivery using Novel Cationic Cyclic Peptides’ won third place.
Additional finalists included a team from NU-Q, who investigated the engagement and empowerment of Qatari women in society, and a team from GU-Q, who explored the advancement of financial education for transnational families. A project on experimental investigation of permeability and fluid loss properties of water-based mud under high pressure-high temperature conditions by a team from TAMUQ also participated in the competition.
QNRF is a member of Qatar Foundation Research and Development (QF R&D). UREP was first launched in 2006 and is QNRF’s longest running programme. To date, more than 2,750 students have taken part in the initiative, with teams of students across universities in Qatar paired with one or more faculty members and research mentors in order to conduct research in a particular field.
Qatar Foundation (QF) is a non-profit organization made up of more than 50 entities working in education, research, and community development.
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