Qatar National Research Fund (QNRF) – a member of Qatar Foundation (QF) – and Qatar Shell Research and Technology Centre held today the 11th Annual Undergraduate Research Experience Program (UREP) Competition at Qatar National Convention Centre.
Along with students from educational institutions throughout Qatar and members of the public, prominent members of the local academic and research community also attended the event.
The competition is held annually to recognize outstanding projects of UREP – one of QNRF’s main funding programs, designed specifically for undergraduate students in Qatar. The program aims to develop the nation’s research infrastructure by engaging students in various processes aimed at building their research skills and contributing to their professional development, under the supervision of a mentor.
Dr. Abdul Sattar Al-Taie, Executive Director, QNRF, said: “Over the years, undergraduate students have built on their UREP experience to pursue further education and develop their research to actively contribute towards the development of Qatar.
“We take special pride in the fact that more than 235 scientific publications have been generated in the past UREP cycles which include 20 book chapters, 105 journal papers, 38 online papers, and 73 conference papers.”
Since its establishment in 2006, UREP’s 23 cycles have awarded funding to more than 3,800 students, who have worked on around 1,000 original and innovative research projects. For this year’s competition, 58 projects were selected from the projects completed in 2018 after a competitive and rigorous screening process. Of these, 17 projects were shortlisted and 14 passed the final review stage to compete in the competition held today.
Mr. Hussain Alhijji, Vice President, Qatar Shell Research and Technology Centre, said: “It was an honor to be part of today’s program. The enthusiasm and passion of the students and the quality of the work is very impressive.
“We believe R&D is a fundamental part of Shell’s past and future success. Therefore, we continue to invest in people, projects, and facilities and in the same spirit, Qatar Shell is co-funding this important competition. The UREP program not only seeds the brilliant ideas from students and supports their development, but also acknowledges the mentoring professors and peers who constitute an important part of the participants’ academic journey.”
This year, the competition included six oral presentations and eight poster presentations which were evaluated by an expert panel of judges and included nine projects from Qatar University (QU), three projects from Texas A&M University at Qatar (TAMUQ) – a QF partner university – and one project each from University of Calgary in Qatar (UCQ), and Hamad Bin Khalifa University (HBKU), a member of QF.
In the oral presentations category, QU won first place for the project, ‘Extracorporeal Membrane Oxygenation Simulator for Patient Management Training at HMC,’ while TAMUQ won second place for the project titled, ‘From Pore-Scale to Field-Scale Understanding of Multi-Phase Flow in Porous Media.’ Third place was secured by a team from QU for ‘Fabrication of H2S Sensors based on CuOx Nanoparticle Decorated Graphene.’
Additionally, in the poster presentations category, TAMUQ won first place with, ‘An Investigation of the Factors Affecting Barite Sagging Related to Drilling Fluid Properties,’ while QU secured second and third places respectively for projects titled, ‘Optimization of Eggshell Membrane as a Novel Biosorbent for Remediation of Boron from Water: Mechanistic Studies,’ and ‘Computational Insights into the Mechanism of Palladium-Catalyzed Alkylation of Aldehyde-Derived Hydrazones.’
The winning students were awarded with prizes and awards in recognition of their achievement and hard work.
Alireza Roustazadeh, a member of the TAMUQ team that won the poster presentation, said: “This opportunity has improved my research skills immensely – skills I plan to utilize when conducting research for a project under QNRF’s National Priorities Research Program.
“Our team is ecstatic to win the first place for our poster presentation, and we want to thank Qatar National Research Fund and Qatar Shell Research and Technology Centre for their support, and our mentor Dr. Mahmood Amani for his guidance.”