Qatar Genome Programme (QGP), a member of Qatar Foundation (QF) and part of Qatar Foundation Research, Development and Innovation, has signed a strategic research and development agreement with Genomics England, aimed at enabling novel scientific discoveries and providing medical insights in genomics and precision medicine.
The Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) was signed at the 2015 building (QF Headquarters) by Dr. Richard O’Kennedy, Vice President for Research, Development, and Innovation at Qatar Foundation, and Professor Mark Caulfield, interim CEO and Chief Scientific Officer of Genomics England. The agreement lays the foundation for Qatar and the UK to develop a joint collaboration focusing on areas of research in genomics that can have a global impact.
“This partnership aims to foster our shared goals for advancement of precision medicine and to facilitate common genomic research initiatives,” said Dr. O’Kennedy.
“Together we can push the boundaries further towards a new era of medical practice, where genomics can play a central role."
Professor Caulfield said: “Genomics is a global, multi-stakeholder endeavour transforming healthcare. This collaboration will help expand the legacy of the 100,000 Genomes Project beyond the UK, and will allow us to better serve the diverse population of the UK. We are excited to share our expertise, and equally excited to learn from the approach of the Qatar Genome Programme.”
The MoU outlines a number of research activities between QGP and Genomics England, such as establishing common frameworks to standardize genomic strategies for healthcare implementation; the evaluation of new technologies for whole genome sequencing; the cross-analysis of both national datasets; and the exchange of expertise related to educational programs.
Commenting on the importance of the agreement, Professor Asmaa Al Thani, Board Vice-Chairperson of Qatar Biobank and Chairperson of QGP, said: “This agreement will see our two projects benefiting from a strategic alliance and the pooling of research talent and resources from both nations. The programme will also hopefully generate key industrial partnership opportunities enabling vital medical insights and breakthroughs.”
Attending the signing ceremony, His Excellency Mr. Ajay Sharma, Her Majesty's Ambassador to the State of Qatar, said: “I am delighted that the Qatar Genome Programme and Genomics England are signing this Memorandum of Understanding. The partnership between these leading institutions in genomic research will, I am sure, make an important contribution to tackling the healthcare challenges of today and tomorrow.
“This is another example of how the UK and Qatar are working together on Qatar National Vision 2030; and how this collaboration is of benefit to both our countries and others.”
The two entities will work together to share ideas, policies and regulations, technical expertise, and bioinformatics tools, and also to exchange staff, data and expertise in the field of genomics.
To learn more about QGP, visit www.qatargenome.org.qa
For more information about Genomics England, visit www.genomicsengland.co.uk