A joint research workshop aimed at introducing and developing innovative smart manufacturing practices in Qatar has been held ahead of the launch of a joint funding call in early 2019 by Qatar National Research Fund (QNRF), a member of Qatar Foundation, and the Scientific and Technological Research Council of Turkey – Tubitak, the country’s leading research agency.
The collaboration will see QNRF and Tubitak combine their resources and insights to drive the innovation and development of new smart manufacturing technologies. The joint initiative aims to foster public-private partnerships and pool the knowledge, expertise, and resources of Qatar and Turkey to address the two countries’ shared priorities.
In preparation for the joint funding call, the ‘Smart Manufacturing Workshop’ was held at Qatar National Convention Centre, where representatives from the Ministry of Transport and Communications, the Gulf Organisation for Industrial Consulting, Siemens Qatar, and the wider academic, research, and industrial community of Qatar discussed the importance of the concept. Members of leading Turkish research institutions, industries, and universities exchanged views on matters of mutual interest with their Qatari counterparts.
The workshop addressed themes including additive manufacturing, ICT for manufacturing, sustainable manufacturing, production systems, organisation, and logistics and supply chains of products. Presentations and discussions identified the need for state-of-the-art techniques, and research and innovation in advancing Qatar’s smart manufacturing infrastructure.
The bilateral agreement between QNRF and Tubitak to collaborate on projects of mutual interest was established in December 2015. The inaugural theme of the partnership was cybersecurity, under which the joint funding call ‘Academia-Industry Cooperation on Cybersecurity’ was launched last year. 
Speaking at the workshop, Dr Abdul Sattar al-Taie, executive director, QNRF, said: “Our collaboration with Tubitak is built upon a shared commitment and belief in the importance of supporting science and technology initiatives, in order to strengthen and develop a lasting RDI partnership between researchers, industries, and end-users in both countries. 
“Smart manufacturing uses digital technologies, robotics, artificial intelligence, augmented reality, 3D printing, and the Internet of Things to boost manufacturing and production, by reducing production cost and time. It is therefore key to improving product quality, enhancing operational efficiency and strategic growth, assuring customer retention, and increasing profitability.”
Experts who participated in the workshop explored the application of smart manufacturing practices in industries including gas, clean energy and water, polymers and petrochemicals, agriculture and food, basic materials, and biomedical devices and implants.
Addressing the workshop, Dr Orkun Hasekioglu, vice-president, Tubitak, said, “Three years ago, QNRF and Tubitak signed an agreement to sponsor joint research and development projects in areas of mutual interests. This partnership is a manifestation of the solidarity between the Turkish and Qatari governments.
“There is a profound impact of science and technology on the economic and industrial development, wealth, and strength of both countries. Therefore, among many other collaborations we have with Qatar, this joint program between QNRF and Tubitak is of particular importance.”
During the workshop, Dr Munir Tag, senior programme manager for ICT, QNRF, outlined the role of smart manufacturing in the context of Qatar and highlighted its importance for the nation’s society, economy, government, and industry. “The QNRF-Tubitak collaboration will contribute significantly to strengthening Qatar’s industrial prowess and its expertise in the field of manufacturing,” he said.
The call for proposals and details for submission will be announced under the ‘Thematic and Grand Challenges Research Programme,’ section at www.qnrf.org.

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