Two research projects have been selected for joint funding between Qatar National Research Fund (QNRF) and the Scientific and Technological Research Council of Turkey (Tubitak). 
The announcement was made at the Annual Research Conference 2018 by Dr Abdul Sattar al-Taie, executive director, QNRF and Prof Dr Hasan Mandal, president, Tubitak.
The joint funding call, ‘Academia-Industry Co-operation on Cyber Security’, was launched in October 2017. It has been developed with the aim of building public-private sector partnerships whose innovative projects address cyber-safety issues that Qatar and Turkey share.
The awarded projects are ‘Cyber Intelligence Platform to Defend against Emerging Cyber Attacks and ‘Cyber Security of Smart Distribution Grid Infrastructure within State Level Auditing.’
The first one is a project by Hamad Bin Khalifa University in collaboration with the Ministry of Interior and the Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy from Qatar. From Turkey, the participating institutes are Kadir Has University and UITSEC, a technology company providing cyber security services for many organisations worldwide. The second project is a collaboration between Istanbul Commerce University, ADMS Electric, TDC Electric and Siemens Turkey as Turkish partners while Qatar University, Iberdrola and Kahramaa are the entities from Qatar.
“There were 13 proposals submitted and two have been awarded. The other projects will also be considered when more projects are awarded at the next stage. The programme stems from the strategic importance to Qatar and Turkey of supporting science and technology, in order to develop the national economies, and the desire to strengthen and develop scientific and technological co-operation on an international scale,” said Dr al-Taie, executive director, QNRF
Prof Mandal noted, “Globally-shared challenges that affect all elements of society require solutions developed through international partnerships that harness the knowledge, insight, and resources of different sectors. This is precisely what this joint funding call enables, and we believe it will be just the first in a series of high-impact science and technology partnerships between Qatar and Turkey, employing this model to bring together academia, industry, and government in addressing shared challenges and achieving shared goals.”
Any selected project will get a funding up to $2.15mn with the duration of 24 months for software projects and 36 months for software and hardware development. The research priority areas are Cloud and Big Data; security systems in mobile devices and applications and critical infrastructure with state level auditing and compliance requirements. The project must have at least one academic partner and one industrial partner from each country.
QNRF – part of Qatar Foundation Research and Development (QF R&D) – and Tubitak, which is Turkey’s leading research agency, signed an agreement in December 2015 to collaborate on projects in areas of mutual interest, with cyber security being selected as the focus of the initial joint funding programme due to its status as an issue of strategic priority for both nations. The partnership has the scope to be extended into other key areas of bilateral co-operation between Qatar and Turkey. 
The awarded proposals will focus on strengthening the cyber security resilience of the electricity grid - regarded as one of the most critical infrastructures in modern societies - in Qatar and Turkey, and on developing a cyber-threat intelligence platform to protect against emerging cyber attacks.
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