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Qatar National Research Fund awards grants to five research projects

Proposals cover humanities, health, engineering, technology fields

  • By Habib Toumi,Bureau Chief
  • Published: 12:28 April 18, 2013
  • Gulf News

Manama: Five research proposals that address needs and challenges faced by society have been awarded grants by the Qatar National Research Fund (QNRF).

The grants were part of the fourth cycle of QNRF’s Junior Scientists Research Experience Programme (JSREP) aiming to boost Qatar’s research capacity through funding ‘junior’ scientists aged 40 or under.

Carnegie Mellon University in Qatar, Weill Cornell Medical College in Qatar and Qatar University were awarded the grants for projects in the fields of natural sciences, humanities, medical and health, and engineering and technology.

QNRF currently funds two cycles of JSREP annually, with grants of up to $100,000 per project, per year, awarded for a duration of up to three years.

Over the next three years, the awarded projects will receive a total funding of more than $1 million.

“The projects awarded in this cycle address some of the needs and challenges our society faces,” Abdul Sattar Al Taie, QNRF Executive Director, said. “We have had a total of 63 applicants since its start in 2010 and, of these only 21 have made it through our stringent review process and passed the cut-off mark. Our programmes enable innovation for the benefit of Qatar and simultaneously contribute to building the country’s human capital in science and research,” he said in a release emailed to Gulf News.

The awards to Carnegie Mellon University in Qatar (CMU-Q) were for two projects to carry out research on mathematical theorems and programming solutions in computer science.

One project focuses on the interactive theorem prover, “Coq,” used in large-scale projects including formalization of mathematical theories and programme verification.

It will attempt to implement extensions that will increase the expressive power and usability of Coq, and help to bring it to a wider range of applications and users.

The second CMU-Q project will seek to develop an extension of the high-level programming construct, ‘Join Pattern,’ with features that will make the system more robust and effective for parallel and distributed programming.

Weill Cornell Medical College in Qatar (WCMC-Q) has been awarded two proposals for research on ovarian tumours and cancer, the second leading cause of cancer-related death in women across the world.

In its first study, WCMC-Q will explore the significance of non-mutated genes in ovarian tumours that occur unexpectedly, in hopes of identifying new genes that are involved in their formation.

The second project awarded to WCMC-Q will examine whether activated endothelial cells, which line the interior surface of blood vessels and lymphatic vessels, represent a sanctuary site for ovarian cancer cells, providing resistance to drug treatment and allowing the recurrence of the disease.

The fifth grant was awarded to Qatar University for a study on how language is used by people who live and work in ‘globalised’ Qatar, both online and offline, to construct their social class, gender identities and their sense of culture.

QNRF will launch its fifth JSREP cycle on April 29 and eligible researchers interested in applying have been encouraged to visit the QNRF website.

QNRF said that it funded “original, competitively-selected research that addresses the national priority needs of Qatar.”

“The research projects funded by QNRF are not only of significance to Qatar but have an impact on global needs in the areas of health, environment, technology and social sciences,” it said.

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