Senior officials from Qatar Foundation Research and Development (QF R&D) hosted a workshop recently to discuss past experiences and future opportunities for the Qatar Research Leadership Programme (QRLP).
QRLP currently supports 164 students, both nationals and non-nationals, in undergraduate through post-doctoral programmes in institutions across Qatar, like Qatar University, Hamad Bin Khalifa University, Qatar Foundation’s partner universities, and other international universities. It provides support to students to enter, move through, and move beyond the educational pipeline. It prepares junior students for university admission, and helps prepare students accepted into the programme for their upcoming studies.
QRLP is the only initiative in Qatar that enables students to pursue science and research-oriented degrees from undergraduate through graduate levels across a broad range of scientific disciplines and in a broad range of institutions of higher learning. It is also the only programme to feed the entire pipeline of the innovation value chain, which aims to take basic scientific research to applied and translational research to products or processes.
A total of 10 QRLP alumni participated in the workshop and reported on an internal assessment and ideas to move the programme forward. They came to the conclusion that it “is an investment, not merely an expense,” and noted that the programme itself is a “renewable source of human capital,” training the participants to be future R&D leaders.
QRLP alumni also identified opportunities to strengthen the initiative. It was suggested that broad and proactive outreach to schools, teachers, parents, and students would help attract the best students for research training at university level and beyond. It was also suggested that formal internships and formal career guidance would further students’ training experience and an online forum would provide a platform for current trainees and alumni to network, offer and receive mentorship and advice, solve problems, and share success stories.
The graduates also expressed the hope that the future of the programme will serve the wider R&D needs across Qatar, to include Qatar Foundation and beyond. They also see the need to support social sciences, arts, and humanities, which is one of the four key pillars of the country’s national research strategy. They also noted that trainees can and should be given opportunities for leadership to change something or help improve something.
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