Texas A&M University at Qatar was awarded 11 projects from the Qatar National Research Fund (QNRF) in Cycle 11 of the National Priorities Research Programme, and its research office was named the ‘Best Research Office of the Year’.
This is the fourth year in a row the research office has been recognised by QNRF and the sixth time in the past seven years. The research office is responsible for vetting research proposals that are submitted to QNRF for funding and managing the awarded research projects.
Dr Hassan S Bazzi, associate dean for research and chemistry professor, said: “Texas A&M at Qatar is proud to be a partner in Qatar's development through research that has a true impact. Research is at the core of our mission. Our faculty and principal investigators work to create research activities that address QNRF's strategic pillars and drive progress in Qatar and the region.
“To be recognised for this hard work is very satisfying. It illustrates a dedication on behalf of our faculty and research initiatives to align with the priorities of the state of Qatar and provide long-term solutions to a rapidly diversifying economy.”
Cynthia Richmond, associate director of the Office of Research, said: “The Office of Research at Texas A&M at Qatar is accurate and effective in vetting proposals, meeting deadlines, and compliance criteria. The award is definitely because of our team’s outstanding efforts and communication skills.”
The National Priorities Research Programme is the main funding program of QNRF and the primary means by which QNRF seeks to support research that addresses Qatar’s needs. QNRF selected 77 of the 284 proposals submitted for funding. Texas A&M at Qatar submitted 40 proposals for a 28% success rate.
Texas A&M at Qatar’s Mechanical Engineering Programme and the Science Programme were awarded four proposals each and the Petroleum Engineering Programme was awarded three. The research projects address real-world challenges directly applicable to the state of Qatar.
Some of the awarded projects led by the principal investigators include Dr Bilal Mansoor, associate professor in the Mechanical Engineering Programme, who received an award for implementing advanced testing methods of oxygen-enriched atmospheres like the one at the Air Separation Unit (ASU) at Pearl GTL, the world’s largest gas-to-liquids plant. Safe and hazard-free operation of the ASU is of strategic importance to the state of Qatar.
Also included is Dr Albertus Retnanto, professor of the practice in the Petroleum Engineering Programme, who is collaborating with Occidental Petroleum of Qatar to model seismic stimulation of reservoirs as an enhanced oil recovery method so applied technologies in the field can be improved.
Another principal investigator is assistant research scientist Dr Ilaria Menapace, who is designing locally-produced and recycled polymers as asphalt binders for use on Qatar’s roads. The advantages include saving money, reducing emissions, reducing waste and environmental contamination, promoting the local economy, and reducing port congestion.
Similarly, Dr Mohamed al-Hashimi, research associate professor in the Science Programme, is developing retrofitting window films for buildings that adjust with the outside temperature to modulate transmitted light and heat. The outcome is a downturn in the massive energy consumption of buildings in Qatar due to heating, cooling and lighting costs, as well as increasing the comfort of building occupants.