The blockade imposed on Qatar by some of its neighbouring countries has further enhanced Qatar’s strong belief in the importance of innovation, research, and development, said HE Sheikha Hind bint Hamad al-Thani, vice chairperson and CEO of Qatar Foundation (QF).
Sheikha Hind was speaking at the inaugural session of the Annual Research Conference 2018 which was attended by Her Highness Sheikha Moza bint Nasser, Chairperson of Qatar Foundation, HE Dr Khalid bin Mohamed al-Attiyah, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of State for Defence Affairs, HE Dr Mohamed bin Saleh al-Sada, Minister of Energy and Industry and a number of international experts in various research fields.
“The blockade represents a challenge for us to persevere and pursue innovation; we see it as an opportunity to continue co-operation and research partnerships, and to make further contribution to the development of Qatar,” said Sheikha Hind.
“The blockade has motivated us to strive for economic independence and devote our efforts to make Qatar a regional and international centre for research and development, through co-operation with partners, governments, and research institutions, both locally and globally,” the QF vice chairperson said.
“As the blockade continues, Qatar has unveiled its second national development plan, focusing on building human and institutional capacities, developing a system that supports entrepreneurship and promotes research and development. The plan comes in the context of efforts aiming to achieve sustainable development and accelerate progress and innovation,” noted the QF CEO.
According to Sheikha Hind, the Annual Research Conference fulfils this role and it stems from Qatar Foundation’s efforts to address major national challenges, contribute to the establishment of a diverse and sustainable economy, and provide effective and impactful solutions. 
She said that focusing on national priorities, the conference recognises solution-based research as the best means for greater prosperity and regional security. “Based on our firm belief that research, technology, and development are among the most important elements of a competitive and diverse economy, our main areas of interest at Qatar Foundation remain research and development, along with empowering and activating research innovations across Qatar.
Research offers a significant contribution to promoting human capital development and supporting the growth of local institutions throughout the region, thus helping to provide security that can mitigate the current turmoil in the region,” she said.
“The current circumstances require us to take effective and careful measures, and to exert more efforts to raise the banner of Qatar by investing in the brightest minds. I invite you all to co-operate together to achieve the desired positive impacts,” Sheikha Hind said.
The QF CEO also highlighted that Qatar Foundation collaborates with stakeholders in the public and private sectors to shape the future of research and development, both inside and outside the country to provide innovative and research-based solutions.
“Through our concerted efforts, we can achieve our vision and goals in a manner that fortifies Qatar and all its residents. Our efforts will not stop at this point, but like our nation, we share the fruits of our work, our experiences, and our ideas for the benefit of all,” added Sheikha Hind.
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