Peninsula - 25/4/2006
Qatar, which has a limited population and human resource, will attract talents from other countries of the Middle East to promote scientific research in the country, speakers at a working session on "scientific research opportunities in the Arab world: the Qatari case," at the Founding Conference for Expatriate Arab Scientists said yesterday.
Dr Abdulla Alkubaisi, director of the Qatar Science Technology Park at the Education City, who spoke on the scientific research policy in Qatar, outlined the opportunities as well as challenges in this field. Outlining the great strides that Qatar has made by setting up the Education City, Alkubaisi said, having successfully established a chain of world class institutions, the next priority will be promoting scientific research in the country. The Science and Technology Park will prove an important catalyst in this initiative, he noted.
He said, Qatar will pool resources from its neighbouring countries and the entire Middle East, considering its small population and limited human resource.
He underlined the essential significance of scientific research for the Qatari economy dependant on an exhaustible source of energy and shed light on the multiple chances available to Qatar to encourage scientific research, incubate and 'cultivate' innovative technological development.
The session was moderated by director of the remote sensing center at Boston university Dr Farouk El Baz.
Dr Abdelwahab El Affendi, senior research fellow from the London-based centre for the study of democracy at Westminster University attributed the lack of pro-active scientific research and development works in the Arab world to a host of political and social factors, lack on inter-institutions cooperation, and the dominance of what he described as a systematic pattern of didactic and innovation-discouraging of education.
El Affendi lauded the pioneering role played by QF in bringing Arab intellectuals together and providing a research-encouraging environment. QF vice-president for education Dr Abdullah Al Thani presented a working paper on Islamic Wakfs (environment) as a mode of financing scientific research activities Qatar.
Wakf funds provide safe and constant sources of financing to ensure continuity of training and keep it unaffected by the potential fluctuations of oil and gas prices, he said . He referred to several other sources of income to fund scientific research, including the allocation of certain percentages of oil revenues to this vital sector.
Dr Fathi Saoud, advisor for Higher Education at Qatar Fundation, also said the Qatar Foundation was keen to attract talents from the Middle East to its world class institutions, He noted that one of the best medical students at the Education City is from East Jerusalem.
He disclosed that a Specialty Teaching Hospital (STH) for women and children will be set up at the Education City by 2010 with an endowment fund of $7.9bn.