Qatar National Research Fund (QNRF), a member of Qatar Foundation Research and Development (QF R&D), organised a two-day workshop in partnership with CRDF-G entitled ‘Women in Science’ at the Hamad Bin Khalifa University (HBKU) Student Centre.
At the event, Noor al-Merekhi, director of Programmes at QNRF, announced that QNRF would develop a new programme to provide internship opportunities to female graduate students in the labs of prominent researchers in the US.
The initiative was designed to provide mentorship opportunities in science and technology-related research to female scientists in Qatar who have completed their PhD studies in one of four main areas: the ecology of infectious diseases, environmental science, cyber security, and materials science in energy.
Over two days, female researchers from the US and Qatar discussed gender issues and navigated cultural challenges related to careers in the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) with female graduate students in Qatar.
“The event was very successful in terms of giving the opportunity for academic and industry leaders to meet, face-to-face, and discuss how to inspire women to pursue careers in research,” said Dr Abdul Sattar al-Taie, executive director, QNRF. “The initiative aims to fill the gap between the number of successful females graduating with science degrees and the number of females proactive in the research workforce, which represents a treasure trove that Qatar can tap into for meeting the increasing demand for scientists and researchers.”
The specialised workshop was designed to highlight opportunities and develop recommendations on how to encourage more women to enter the fields of science and engineering, and network with some leading women researchers from Qatar and the US who could offer them mentorship and guidance in their research careers.
Dr Asmaa al-Fadala, director of research at the World Innovation Summit for Education and assistant professor at Qatar University, highlighted her journey in pursing her PhD from Cambridge University, including the challenges she faced and the lessons she learned.
The keynote speech opened the floor for three panel discussions addressing topics that are relevant to women in science, such as challenges to pursuing a career in science, where a number of prominent Qatari female scientists enriched the different panel discussions with their experiences.
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