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Faisal M. Al Suwaidi

QATAR - Health & Education

Come And Have A Go

President of Research and Development, Qatar Foundation


Faisal M. Al Suwaidi is the President of Research and Development at Qatar Foundation. He is responsible for all of the Foundation’s activities relating to scientific research and development, including projects that fall under Qatar Science and Technology Park (QSTP), Qatar National Research Fund (QNRF), Qatar Biomedical Research Institute (QBRI), Qatar Environment and Energy Research Institute (QEERI), and Qatar Computing Research Institute (QCRI). Additionally, he oversees the Qatar National Research Strategy (QNRS), thus ensuring the growth of scientific research in Qatar. His illustrious career has included leadership roles at Qatar Petroleum (QP), Qatar Fertiliser Company (QAFCO), and a longstanding tenure as Vice Chairman and CEO of Qatargas.

What are the main objectives of the Qatar National Research Strategy (QNRS)? The QNRS was introduced in 2012. It guides all R&D investments in Qatar, and provides a national framework […]

What are the main objectives of the Qatar National Research Strategy (QNRS)?

The QNRS was introduced in 2012. It guides all R&D investments in Qatar, and provides a national framework to align the country’s priorities with stakeholder capabilities and interests. The strategy is the culmination of an inclusive, wide-ranging consultation with diverse groups of national stakeholders and partners, and is being implemented collaboratively by Qatar Foundation’s (QF’s) research institutes, universities, service providers, government, industry, and funders. We are seeking to create a cycle of innovation in Qatar from research to commercialization. This new culture of innovation is an important part of Qatar’s vision to move to a post-carbon, knowledge-based economy. Our R&D programs are designed to be an inclusive system with several specific goals. First and foremost, we want to develop the capabilities of our people and institutions. Equipped with these capabilities, we seek to improve the health and social well being of Qatar’s population, support Qatar’s distinctive culture, the security of its people, and preserve and improve the natural and built environment.

What are the key phases in the trajectory toward completing the QNRS?

Over the next five years, Qatar Foundation Research & Development (QF R&D) is eager to continue building human capacity at all levels, expanding our national and international outreach efforts and solidifying our research infrastructure in Qatar. As we develop a research culture in Qatar, the QNRS intentionally focuses on a small number of grand challenges. We have worked with stakeholders across disciplines, institutions, and sectors to identify the R&D grand challenges that are important to Qatar but also have potential global impact. The grand challenges we are focusing on are: water security, energy security, cyber security, and integrated healthcare. We are developing comprehensive plans to address each R&D challenge. As we implement these plans, we will continue to promote a research culture that values partnerships across research institutions. We also will strive to ensure, where practical, that our research moves along the innovation value chain toward full application and commercialization.

QF R&D works through partnerships with researchers who seek funding. How do you select your partners?

QF R&D continuously encourages the participation and collaboration of stakeholders that include academia, government, research institutions, and private companies. Our partners share our strong values of accountability. We also share a commitment to the highest standards of research quality to tackle the nation’s challenges and create a sustainable future. Competitive funding for research projects is provided through the Qatar National Research Fund (QNRF). We fund researchers with creative ideas who we believe can find innovative approaches that can address QNRS goals in health, energy, environment, computing, social sciences, and the humanities. Collectively, our researchers are transforming Qatar into an international hub for research and innovation.

The Qatar Science & Technology Park celebrates its fifth anniversary in 2014. How do you assess its achievements in these inaugural years and how do you see it developing in the near future?

We are proud of the Qatar Science & Technology Park’s (QSTP) achievements. Its goal is to take different types of research from transition and innovation, all the way to commercialization, which will eventually contribute to Qatar’s economic development. Our various research partners in Qatar are all involved in this process, but they work at different stages. Since its establishment, QSTP continues on the path of commercialization of research by facilitating the transformation and development of promising ideas into viable technologies and enterprises. Although it is crucial to provide funding for R&D, it is just as important to ensure that productive outcomes and valuable products that result from R&D are properly commercialized for the benefit of both Qatar and the global community. QSTP plays a unique role here, helping drive Qatar’s R&D through the entire innovation value chain from basic and applied research to entrepreneurial commercialization and marketing. As QSTP continues to refine its institutional focus for advanced outcomes, it serves an increasingly essential role within Qatar Foundation’s R&D enterprise. As our research program grows, we are excited about QSTP’s ability to continue supporting the commercialization of homegrown technologies.



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